Prebiotics and probiotics for horses have been used as common additives to feed and supplements. Until recently, the amount of live cultures needed for colonization of the intestines was not known. Studies at the University of Toronto at Guelph highlight that the minimum amount of live cultures (measured as CFUs – colony forming units) must be at least 100 billion viable cells. For very sick horses, that requirement may go as high as 400 billion CFUs.
All mammals live in a symbiotic association with a complex population of microorganisms that inhabit their gastrointestinal tract. One of the benefits the host animal derives from this relationship is an enhanced resistance to infection and disease. Under domesticated conditions, stress factors can cause deficiencies to occur which can make the horse vulnerable to infection.
Role of Mucosal Immunity:
The intestine is the largest immunological organ in the body. It contains the largest percentage of IgA producing cells. To achieve an effective oral immune response the participation of nearly all the immune cells associated with the gut are necessary. This includes macrophages, T cells, and T lymphocytes that induce the IgA associated with the mucosa. (1)
Studies have shown the importance of Lactic acid bacteria administration for the preservation of intestinal integrity and the stabilization of the gut mucosal barrier. When the normal microflora are disrupted by dietary antigens, pathogens, chemicals or radiation, the defense barrier mechanisms weaken and cause mucosal inflammation.
Enhancement of Immune Response:
Lactic acid bacteria (lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and streptococcus) have demonstrated in numerous studies beginning in 1979 that these bacteria are able to prevent intestinal infection. (2)
Lactic Acid bacteria have their probiotic effects by their influence on the biochemical, physiological and antimicrobial activities on the intestinal microfloras. Lactic acid bacteria contribute to the maintenance of colonization resistance, particularly against listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis. (1)
In virus infections of the gastrointestinal tract, evidence points to the fact that probiotics exert immunomodulatory mechanisms, inducing a high level of secretory IgG, which is a major immunological barrier against viruses. (1)
Microflora Important Barrier to Antigens:
Studies show the importance of Lactic Acid Bacteria administration for the preservation of intestinal integrity and stabilization of the gut mucosal barrier. (3)
The intestinal epithelium with normal intestinal microflora act as a barrier to antigens and other substances. In healthy horses this barrier is stable, protects the host and provides normal intestinal functions. When the normal microflora of the epithelial cells are disturbed by triggers such as dietary antigens, pathogens, chemicals the barrier mechanisms are affected in the alteration of permeability and mucosal inflammation. (4)
As a result of local intestinal inflammation, a greater amount of antigens may traverse the mucosal barrier. This immunogenic stimulus can result in allergic reactions and a translocation of the normal microflora may occur.
Lactic Acid Bacteria for Respiratory Mucosa:
Lactic Acid Bacteria with the exception of L. Acidophilus, increased the number of IgA (Immunglobin A) cells in the bronchus. (5) This study is important because one of the portals for pathogens is the respiratory tract.
Benefits of Lactic Acid Bacteria in Bio Flora EQ:
There are different strains of Lactic Acid bacteria. Research has highlighted specific strains and their actions in the body.
Lactobacillus casei: induces specific gut immune response accompanied by IgA and CD4 T cells (1)
Lactobacillus rhamnosus: interact with epithelial cells of the small intestine; increases number of IgA cells at intestinal and bronchus levels, but does not increase CD4 T cells. (1)
Bifidobacterium lactis: studies in Europe and Japan demonstrate this lactic acid bacteria’s effect on regulation of the intestinal transit time (6)
This lactic acid bacteria has a high colonization capacity.(7)
Bifidobacterium longum: have an important role in breaking down dietary carbohydrates and interact directly with the host metabolism.(8)
Bifidobactera are known to be able to resist the colonization of pathogens in the large bowel (9) including E.coli.
Prebiotics for Horses:
Are dietary fiber that stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics can reach the large intestine and hind gut where they are fermented resulting in the production of short chain fatty acids.
Prebiotics can stimulate the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Prebiotics can reduce inflammation by encouraging the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
The benefit of combining prebiotics and probiotics for horses is that the prebiotics will supply food and growth to the probiotics.
The Prebiotics: Inulin and Manno Oligosaccharides
Inulin is a soluble fiber extracted from chicory roots. Studies have show that Inulin also increases calcium absorption and can enhance bone mineral density (10)
Manno Oligosaccharides (MOS) are extracted from the inner face of the yeast cell wall. They can reduce the production of volatile fatty acids that are used by pathogenic bacteria as a source of energy. When hindgut acidosis occurs there is an increased production of volatile fatty acids and lactic acid, lowering the pH from the desirable 6.5 to below 6.0, which is a more favorable environment for specific pathogens. MOS can help rebalance the pH for the beneficial microorganisms.
Benefits of Bio Flora EQ Prebiotics / Probiotics for Horses:
- Provides high amounts of active CFU’s to ensure colonization (100 billion viable cells per teaspoon)
- Provides specific lactic acid bacteria that work as immunomodulatory mechanisms, protecting the mucosal barrier.
- Helps the body fight pathogens including E.coli.
- Helps in the resistance against: listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis.
- Can increase the number of IgG cells in the GI tract, and bronchus.
- Helps to rebalance colonization of the hindgut, including equalizing the hind gut pH
- Prebiotic support ensures food for the beneficial microorganisms, helps reduce inflammation, and can increase calcium absorption and bone mineral density.
- Peridigon G, Fuller R, Raya R; 2001. Lactic acid bacteria and their effect on the immune system. Current Issues in Intestinal Microbiology. 2 (1): 27-42
- Bloksma N, et al. 1979. Adjunctivity of lactobacilli; differential effects of viable and killed bacteria. Clin Exp. Immunol. 37: 367-375
- Saminen E, et al. 1988. Preservation of intestinal integrity during radiotherapy using live lactobacillus cultures. Clin Radiol. 39: 435-437
- Isolauri E. 1995. Intestinal integrity and IBD. Kluwer Academic Publisher, Lancaster, UK. 85: 553-555
- Perigon G, et al. 1999. Influence of lactic acid bacteria on IgA producing cells associated to bronchus. International J. Immunother and Pharmacology. 12: 97-102
- Nishida S, Ishikawa Y, et al. Effect of bifidobacterium lactis on the intestinal transit time, the condition of defecation and intestinal microflora. Studies. Danone. Com
- He F, Ouwehand AC, Isolauri E, et al. 2001. Differences in composition and mucosal adhesion of bifidobacteria isolated from health adults and healthy seniors. Microbiol. 43: 351-354
- Gibson GR, Saavedra JM, et al. 1997. Gastrointestinal microbial disease and probiotics. Probiotics: therapeudic and other beneficial effects. London: Chapman and Hall. Pages 10-39
- Yamazaki S, Kamimura H, et al. 1982. Protective effect of bifidobacterium monoassociation against lethal activity of E.coli. Bifidobacter and Microflora. 1: 55-60
- Abran S, Griffin I, et al. 2005. A combination of prebiotic short and long chain inulin-type fructans enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralization in young adolscents. Am. J. Clin. Nut. 82: 471-476