We know that the health of the horse begins in the GI tract. The gastrointestinal system plays a central role in immune system homeostasis, ie: balance. What we feed has an impact on not only the GI tract itself, but on the immune system as well. Here are BioStar’s top recommendations of immune support foods for horses:
Probiotics: the beneficial microorganisms also known as gut microbiota and commonly known as probiotics not only maintain an important balance in the GI tract and help to crowd out the less desirable bacteria and pathogens, but also promote a non–immunologic gut defense barrier against antigens.
Some studies indicate that probiotics can alleviate intestinal inflammatory responses, and communicate with immune cells. Probiotics are important in the modulation of the horse’s immune response.
- Bovine Colostrum: provides immune support with over 80 different immune factors including the immunoglobulins: IgA, IgM and IgG. Colostrum is also contains PRPs (Proline-Rich-Polypeptides) that function as intercellular signaling molecules. These PRPs modulate the immune system by regulation of the thymus gland. This is particularly important for horses dealing with allergies, whose immune systems are already over-active; bovine colostrum helps to bring the immune system back to homeostasis.
- Medicinal Mushrooms: Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Cordycepts: used for centuries in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) these specific mushrooms can modulate the immune system. Reishi can increase the body’s production of Interleukin 1 and Interleukin 2. One of the most studied components of these mushrooms are the Beta Glucans; these long chain polysaccharides have shown powerful anti-tumor properties and immune support capabilities.
- Coconut Oil: rich in lauric acid, that the body converts to monolauren, which can assist in immune support by disrupting the outer covering of bacteria, protozoa and viruses, leaving them vulnerable to biological acids and immune bodies. Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids that can readily cross cell membranes. Medium chain fatty acids are used for energy, not stored as fat as the long chain fatty acids (vegetable seed oils like corn, soy, canola) are.
- Adaptogenic Plants: Holy Basil and Ashwaganda: used in Ayurvedic Medicine for thousands of years, Holy Basil and Ashwaganda help to stabilize physiological processes and promote homeostasis. They are capable of decreasing cellular sensitivity to stress, and reducing cortisol. Chronic stress can create biochemical changes that affect the immune system and can cause the body to under-react to viruses and bacterial infections, or over-react and set off allergies, and skin disorders. We know that chronic stress can lead to chronic inflammation.
BioStar’s Immune Support Supplements:
- Bio Flora: provides specific L- bacteria (live and viable) plus MOS for hind gut support. 100 billion CFUs per teaspoon.
- Tract Bios: provides yeast probiotics (viable), which are specific to the hind gut. Yeast probiotics help to digest fiber. 100 Billion CFUs per teaspoon.
- Colostrum-38: pure bovine colostrum from rBGH-free cows, grass fed. Provides 38% IgG.
- True Balance: stress and immune support: provides the medicinal mushrooms including reishi, cordycepts, maitake, turkey tail, and shiitake, plus the adaptogenic plant: Holy Basil.
- Equilibrium: provides Ashwaganda for stress and foods high in magnesium including pumpkin seeds, and yellow lentils.