Hoofin’ It: Designing a Whole Food Hoof Formula

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My friend Shannon emailed me one day and asked, “Why doesn’t BioStar have a hoof supplement?”

The plain and simple answer was: “There are a lot of hoof supplements on the market.”

She countered with, “But there’s not a whole food hoof supplement.”  …

So down the rabbit hole I went to look at the research on hoof supplement formulas and ingredients.

When I began to analyze the data, the information, and some of the studies I realized quickly that nutrients from food has never been part of the research equation of foot health.  The research has been on isolates: isolated minerals like zinc, and copper; isolated B vitamins like biotin, and isolated amino acids like methionine.

In whole food nutrition, this is known as reductionist nutritionism: isolating a nutrient by taking it out of the food context, and studying, manufacturing, and marketing that nutrient.  Marion Nestle, a New York University nutritionist puts it this way: “ the problem with nutrient-by-nutrient nutrition science is that it takes the nutrient out of the context of the food, the food out of the context of the diet, and the diet out of the context of the lifestyle.”

Isolated nutrients have no relationship to food and because they are not a part of food they are low in bioavailability. Research including work by Nobel Prize winner in Biology: Dr. Gunter Blobel has demonstrated that utilization of nutrients depends on specific messengers called protein chaperones, which are found in whole food.


Food State nutrients for the hoof:

Fortunately, there is a whole food solution to using isolated nutrients: yeast-bound nutrients; also known as food state nutrients.  These yeast-bound nutrients are the same ingredients used by well-known human whole food supplement companies like New Chapter, Mega Food, and Garden of Life.

Yeast- bound nutrients are the result of taking the yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae and adding a nutrient to the matrix of the yeast and through the fermentation process a complete bonding occurs between yeast and the nutrient.  The matrix of the yeast, which includes amino acids, enzymes, B vitamins and, minerals now incorporates the added nutrient into the yeast structure.


Good for the body, good for the feet:

By providing nutrients bound to yeast in a hoof supplement, we can support not only healthy hooves, but also a healthy hindgut. Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast enhances the activity of the microbial populations in the hind -gut, helps to balance the pH and to digest fiber.  Yeast can also increase the bioavailability of specific minerals: zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.



Poor or reduced circulation to the feet can affect the quality of the hoof wall.  Healthy tissue cannot grow with poor circulation.  To support healthy dilation of the vascular pathways it is important to ensure activity, and hoof balance.   Horses are designed to move around while eating 20 hours a day.  Stalled horses with limited turnout may have less circulation to their feet, leading to slow foot growth, or heel discomfort.  We can design a hoof supplement with additional circulatory support from plants like Hawthorne, and foods high in the amino acid Arginine  (pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds) to stimulate Nitric Oxide, the master circulatory molecule of the body.

Circulation is also important in nutrient delivery; insufficient circulation may impede the specific hoof nutrients we are supplementing our horses with from even reaching the cells in the foot.


Cellular Reproduction:

The basis for tissue healing begins at the cellular level.  On-going clinical explorations by several prominent veterinary practices including Rood and Riddle, and Alamo Pintado into stem cell use in laminitis and other serious hoof issues shows great promise in the field of Regenerative Medicine.

Bovine colostrum provides specific Growth Factors such as Insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1, and IGF-2), epithelial growth factor (EgF), transforming growth factors (TgF-A and TgF-B) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF).  These growth factors play important roles in regulation of cell growth, cell reproduction and cell proliferation.

Although bovine colostrum is NOT stem cell therapy, it is a valuable food for helping the body to regulate and reproduce healthy tissue at the cellular level.


Putting it all together:

BioStar’s new hoof supplement formula, Ultra Hoof, will combine specific nutrients for healthy hooves.

  • Biotin Yeast: 10 mg of Biotin
  • Zinc Yeast: 150 mg of Zinc
  • Copper Yeast: 50 mg of Copper
  • Methione Yeast: 500 mg of Methionine
  • Bovine Colostrum
  • Chia seeds
  • Hawthorne berry powder
  • Hawthorne leaves
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds



Because BioStar Ultra Hoof supplement uses yeast-bound nutrients, which provide greater bioavailability, the amount of each nutrient does not need to be high or excessive.   For example if we used a synthetic or coal-tar derived Biotin, we would need twice or three times the milligrams in hopes of attaining 10% or higher bioavailability.

Both yeast-bound zinc and yeast-bound copper have been studied for absorption and bioavailability; yeast-bound zinc was 75% more absorbed than zinc sulfate, and 58% more absorbed than zinc gluconate. (Vinson, J.A., Nutrient Availability, Chemical and Biological Aspects, Royal Soc. Chem., 1989. Pp125-127)

Yeast-bound copper was absorbed 44% more than copper sulfate, and 43% more than copper gluconate. (Vinson, J.A., Comparative Human Bioavailability of Copper, 1986).

Both yeast bound zinc and yeast bound copper were found to be more slowly absorbed than the sulfates or gluconates; acting in a time-release formation.


The Solvent Connection:

The form of Biotin most commonly used in equine feed and supplements is synthetic.  The process includes the use of solvents.

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) different residual solvents “may be expected in biotin depending on the manufacturing processes”.  The solvents range from chloroform, cyclohexane, 2-propanol, hexane, toluene, and xylene.   These are by-products of crude oil.

Yeast-bound Biotin does not require any solvents in the fermentation process.


Non GMO:

In the formulation for BioStar’s Ultra Hoof supplement, our source for yeast-bound biotin, copper, zinc, and methionine is GMO-free.   This is important, as many biotech companies use yeast as part of genetic engineering and modification.   Ingredients like brewers yeast, nutritional yeast, yeast culture or fermented yeast culture are often not GMO free.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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