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Choosing Equine Supplements: What, When, and Why? [PART 1]

Choosing Equine Supplements: What, When, and Why? [PART 1]

Tigger Montague

BioStar offers an array of specialized supplements, but which ones are best for your horse? Should you use hemp oil or camelina? True Balance or Thera Calm? Or Equilibrium?

In 2016, we provided a helpful go-to guide with answers to some of the questions we get most often from customers. We’ve expanded our line since then — time for an update as we head into 2018!

Probiotics: Bio Flora or Bio Yeast?

Bio Flora EQ probiotic prebiotic supplementBioStar’s Bio Flora combines different strains of active cooling microorganisms from the Lactobacillus family that help cool the “fire” (inflammation) in the GI tract.  It is recommended for horses with loose stools or diarrhea, horses in antibiotic or worming therapy, and horses under stress.

 

Bio Yeast EQ supplementBioStar’s Bio Yeast is a warming probiotic that provides two strains of active yeast that work primarily in the hindgut to digest fiber and maintain proper pH.  It is recommended for helping horses gain and maintain weight, and is especially beneficial to hard keepers, older horses, and horses on limited turnout or in dirt paddocks.



Chia seeds or flax seeds?

Chia Seeds from BioStar EQBoth of these foods are excellent sources of omega-3, but chia seeds have some noticeable additional benefits. Chia is a high mucilage seed that helps slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for easy keepers and metabolic horses.  The mucilage in chia also can replace products like psyllium to help remove sand from the GI tract.  Chia also provides the amino acid proline, which is a major constituent of collagen; this is particularly important for horses with connective tissue challenges or weakness.

Hemp seed oil or camelina oil?

Empower Hemp Seed OilBoth of these oils provide omega-3, 6, and 9.  Hemp seed oil is lower in omega-3 than camelina, but also provides gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which camelina does not.  GLA is used by the body to regulate the prostaglandins (hormone-like substances involved with inflammation and blood flow).  Because of hemp oil’s GLA content, it is an excellent choice for reducing inflammation in the GI tract, and is highly recommended for hindgut ulcers.

Gold Star Camelina Oil supplementCamelina oil is one of the richest sources of vitamin E, making it an excellent choice for horses needing vitamin E augmentation, horses needing the antioxidant support of vitamin E, and horses with EPM, EPSM, or PSSM.  One of the advantages of a whole food vitamin E is that it provides the family of tocopherols, not just the isolated d-alpha tocopherol.

BioStar’s Empower EQ hemp oil and Gold Star EQ camelina oil are not solvent-extracted or heat-processed; they are both cold-pressed oils providing higher bioavailability.

Star Lyte or Cool Star?

BioStar Star Lyte EQ supplementBioStar’s Star Lyte EQ is an electrolyte formula like no other.  It provides three different sources of electrolytes and trace minerals plus sea vegetables from Himalayan sea salt, Hawaiian black lava salt,  Celtic sea salt, and the nutritional seaweed Alaria esculenta, making it the most comprehensive electrolyte supplement on the market.  Most equine electrolyte supplements use inorganic forms of electrolyte minerals (carbonates, oxides) and the laboratory-created potassium chloride (commonly used for making fertilizer, de-icing products, and included in the “three-drug cocktail” used for executions by lethal injection).

Cool Star EQBioStar’s Cool Star EQ is a body-cooling formula that provides a variety of foods that are cooling to the system: cucumbers, butternut squash, parsley, fennel, mango, coconut, sunflower seeds, and chia. Also included are BioStar’s cooling probiotics: Bio Flora, plus Hawaiian black lava salt for additional mineral support.  The variety of foods in Cool Star also supports greater diversity of beneficial microorganisms in the GI tract.

Star Lyte can be used year round for daily electrolyte needs.

Cool Star is used as needed when heat and/or humidity requires more body cooling.  This is especially beneficial on days that a horse works or competes in hot weather, helping the horse cool from the inside out.

Furnace or Circuvate?

Furnace EQ by BioStarBioStar’s Furnace EQ provides foods high in the amino acid arginine, which is a substrate for nitric oxide, the master circulatory molecule in the body.   By stimulating nitric oxide production, we increase circulation.  This is beneficial for healing connective tissue, providing more blood supply to the feet and joints, and bringing more oxygen to the muscles.  It is in a convenient bar/cookie, which makes it easy to feed.


BioStar’s Circuvate EQ is the next generation of nitric oxide- supporting supplements that can increase circulation and vaso-dilation.  We refer to Circuvate as: “Furnace 2.0”.  Provides the patented extract from Indian Gooseberry: Capros which has 8 published studies behind it showing its ability to increase nitric oxide production by 54% as well as increased production of the super antioxidant  glutathione.  The benefits of Circuvate are improved oxygenation of tissues, removal of toxins and metabolic waste, enhanced healing, reduction of inflammation and oxidative stress.  Circuvate is a powder.

Equilibrium, True Balance or Thera Calm?

These supplements fall under the “Stress” category, as all three address adrenal support and reduction of cortisol.

Equilibrium EQ BiostarBioStar’s Equilibrium EQ contains ashwagandha, a sacred Ayurvedic plant classified as an adaptogen.  Herbs in the adaptogen category are capable of balancing the endocrine, glandular, and circulatory systems.  Ashwagandha also helps stimulate the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin.  Increased serotonin in the brain helps horses focus and feel more relaxed.  Equilibrium includes foods high in magnesium for muscle relaxation.

True Balance EQFor horses that don’t need calming, BioStar’s True Balance EQ is a wonderful choice.  It provides holy basil, another adaptogenic plant, that reduces cortisol like ashwagandha, but does not stimulate serotonin.  True Balance also provides medicinal mushrooms for kidney, liver, and immune support. 

BioStar US Thera Calm EQBiostar’s Thera Calm EQ is for horses that need increased calming with GI tract support.  It is a blend of holy basil and ashwaganda with casein, a protein that increases serotonin levels.  Thera Calm also provides whey protein, which is a rich source of the amino acid glutamine that protects gastric mucosa—important for the horses with gastric ulcers.  Thera Calm is an excellent choice for horses that are on layup, are over-reactive in periods of stress, or need mental relaxation.


Furnace or Comfort Zone Ultra?

Furnace EQ by BioStarBioStar’s Furnace EQ increases circulation by opening the capillaries while BioStar’s Comfort Zone EQ Ultra closes the capillaries to reduce heat and inflammation.

For horses that are stiff, but get less stiff after moving around, Furnace is the best choice.  For horses that are stiff and don’t improve with movement, Comfort Zone is the best choice. If you’re dealing with inflammation, use Comfort Zone, which provides the inflammation-reducing plants boswellia and turmeric.

Comfort Zone EQ UltraComfort Zone EQ Ultra is also terrific for sore muscles, or for those days the horse has worked very hard or been competing on difficult footing.

There are situations like hoof syndrome and navicular disease that may warrant using both Furnace EQ and Comfort Zone EQ Ultra—similar to the common veterinary protocol of using isoxsuprine with bute.

Which product for joints?

Flex-well EQNutritional support for the joints (which includes bone, connective tissue, cartilage—the whole joint) is the job of BioStar’s Flex-Well EQ.  It provides the body what it needs to make glucosamine sulfate along with additional bone, connective tissue, and antioxidant support.

 

If you are looking for a multi-nutritional formula that includes whole food vitamins and minerals plus Flex-Well, then both Optimum JS and Optimum Senior JS are excellent choices.

For the older or stiffer horse, combining Furnace with Flex-Well provides a dynamic duo of increased circulation, which helps reduce stiffness along with the total joint support of Flex-Well.


Ultra Hoof or Impulsion?

There are many hoof supplements on the market with the same fundamental ingredients: biotin, methionine, copper, and zinc.  What makes Ultra Hoof EQ different is that the biotin, methionine, copper and zinc are bound to yeast, increasing bioavailability and absorption.  Ultra Hoof EQ has the added benefit of providing hawthorne berry powder for circulatory support, helping to drive more of the nutrients needed by the foot to the foot; plus bovine colostrum for cellular repair and support.

If you don’t see an improvement in your horse’s feet in 90 days on Ultra Hoof EQ, it may be that your horse’s hooves need deeper cellular support from the mitochondria.

This is where Impulsion EQ becomes an important hoof formula because it provides the bio-resin shilajit, that helps the mitochondria function more efficiently.  It has been shown that mitochondrial dysfunction affects ATP, muscles, organs, and tissue repair, as well as chronic inflammation.  The mitochondria reside in large numbers outside the nucleus of every cell.  When the mitochondria become less functional, hooves may become more brittle, and grow more slowly.

If your horse is metabolic and has foot issues including laminitis, several studies have confirmed a mitochondrial dysfunction in humans suffering from metabolic diseases.  Helping to restore healthy mitochondria is particularly important for metabolic horses.

Listen to your intuition
When making feed and supplement choices, always listen to your intuition.  If something doesn’t feel right for your horse, listen to that little voice; it is your horse speaking to you.

 

 


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