Your task is simple: just answer a few questions about your horse and his diet
Get Started »
SmartPaks are custom made, pre-measured daily dose paks of your horse's supplements
Learn More »
Glossary of Active Ingredients:
Aditrol® is a proprietary blend of beta alanine, acacia extract and benfotamine, three ingredients known for their effects on energy metabolism, insulin regulation and glucose utilization.
Aloe Vera has perhaps the longest recorded history of therapeutic use in humans and animals, dating back to the 16th century BC. It remains one of the best-known and commonly used herbs in the U.S. today, and is applied to the skin topically as well as ingested orally for a variety of conditions. The clear, mucilaginous gel inside the leaves contains a host of incompletely understood but actively researched bioactive substances including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes, as well as lignans, glycoproteins such as lectin, flavonoids, polysaccharides, carotenes, and many others. Numerous studies have demonstrated its positive effect on G.I. tissue, thought to be due to its antioxidant, cytoprotective, and other activities.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that is naturally found in mitochondria--the energy-producing structures inside cells. It is a more powerful antioxidant than the fat-soluble Vitamin E and the water-soluble Vitamin C it works synergistically with because Alpha Lipoic Acid is both fat- AND water-soluble. Research in horses shows it has the ability to reduce oxidative stress. Because it also stimulates the movement of blood sugar across membranes and into cells, it helps increase insulin sensitivity and lower high blood sugar.
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) is a plant traditionally used by American Indians as a general tonic, natural restorative for the weak and wounded, and to help the mind. It is believed to act as an "adaptogen," a substance that normalizes body functions, strengthens systems compromised by stress, and protects against a wide variety of stressful influences. Research shows the plant's active ingredients-ginsenosides-may help regulate blood sugar and restore proper metabolism.
Apple Cider Vinegar is rich in potassium and contains all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients of the original apple. It is reported to act as a system detoxifier, antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-catarrhal (helps remove excess mucus), a digestive aid and a bitter (helps stimulate the flow of digestive juices, improve the appetite and support the liver). In humans, Apple Cider Vinegar is used for nausea, vomiting, loose stool, fatigue, and musculoskeletal issues.
Arabinogalactan is a polysaccharide, or, complex carbohydrate, found in a variety of plants. Approved as a dietary source of fiber in people by the FDA, it is also considered a "prebiotic" because it can be used as a food source by the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine. Research is ongoing as to the compound's ability to stimulate the immune system.
Arginine is an essential amino acid in horses. It is required for the removal of ammonia (a toxic by-product) from the body and the release of certain hormones, and plays a role in wound healing and immune function. It is a precursor to many other compounds such as creatine, which is important in muscle, and nitric oxide, which is important in blood vessels. Specifically, nitric oxide signals the smooth muscle of blood vessels to relax, resulting in increased blood flow to certain areas.
Ashwagandha Root Extract (Withania somnifera) also known as Indian ginseng, is an herb that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha is a general tonic that acts as an “adaptogen,” a substance that normalizes body functions, strengthens systems compromised by stress, and protects against a wide variety of stressful influences. Its common name is a combination of the Sanskrit word for horse (ashva) and the word for smell (gandha) because the root has a strong aroma that is described as horse-like. This widely-used herb is believed to calm the brain of anxious thoughts and support normal function and focus.
Aspergillus Niger- see Probiotics
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is an herb that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It is believed to act as an "adaptogen," a substance that normalizes body functions, strengthens systems compromised by stress, and protects against a wide variety of stressful influences. Astragalus exerts positive effects throughout the body, but is most valued for its ability to impart natural resistance through the immune system.
ASU stands for Avocado Soy Unsaponifiables. In a recent study of horses with joint discomfort, supplementing with ASU significantly reduced the severity of articular cartilage breakdown and joint membrane bleeding. It also significantly increased the production of natural chondroitin sulfate and other glycosaminoglycans.
Bacillus coagulans- see Probiotic
Bacillus subtilis- see Probiotic
Banaba Leaf (Lagerstroemia speciose) is a plant containing the active substance corosilic acid which is thought to act like insulin. That is, it promotes the uptake of sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream and into body cells. Banaba Leaf is used worldwide to increase insulin sensitivity and lower high blood sugar.
Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs include leucine, isoleucine and valine. Limited research in horses suggests these specific amino acids are mobilized during exercise and used by the body for energy. This preserves muscle glycogen and other, structural amino acids. BCAAs are therefore believed to delay the onset of fatigue and prevent muscle breakdown especially during aerobic exercise, particularly endurance events.
BerryPlex™ is a proprietary blend of "superfruits" including pomegranate, acai berry, goji berry (wolfberry), blueberry, cranberry and cherry. These fruits are recognized not only for their exceptional antioxidant properties but also for their other health benefits from various phytochemicals found in high levels in this part of the plant. The addition of BerryPlex to a joint supplement brings a whole food or holistic approach to the protection of connective tissue, cartilage, and other components of the musculoskeletal system.
Betaine (Trimethylglycine) is a product of choline, a Vitamin B-like substance. In horses, it has been shown to reduce lactic acid build-up following exercise in untrained animals. Betaine is also recognized as an “osmolyte” or substance which protects cells against osmotic stress. This type of stress occurs when the concentration of molecules outside the cell is greater than that inside the cells and water flows out, causing the cell to shrink and possibly die.
Beta Glucan is the soluble fiber found in oats, barley and other cereal grains. Numerous studies in humans have shown it to be the agent in oatmeal that reduces serum cholesterol. It is also a powerful stimulant to the immune system. By normalizing the rate at which food moves through the GI tract, Beta Glucan moderates the release of sugar into the bloodstream and reduces the digestive upset that can occur when too much sugar reaches the hindgut too quickly.
Bifidobacterium longum- see Probiotic
Bio Active Whey is the product obtained by separating milk solids (curds) from milk liquids (whey). No longer considered just a by-product of the cheese industry, whey protein is used by human athletes, in infant formula, and for senior nutrition. In addition to being high-quality, easily digestible protein which supplies essential amino acids to the body, many of these peptides have functional properties that also support the body's immune system and natural antioxidants.
Biotin is a member of the B-vitamin family and, like some other vitamins, is a co-enzyme for several metabolic pathways. It is vital to the growth of strong, healthy hooves due to its role in collagen formation. A number of research studies show that long-term, daily supplementation of Biotin improves the growth rate and hardness of hooves, especially in horses with less than optimum quality hoof horn (soft, brittle, chipped). In addition, because it is a component of the enzymes responsible for the utilization of glucose by the liver, it may support proper insulin and glucose levels. For more information visit our page on Biotin for Horses.
Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia), also know as balsam pear or Chinese cucumber, is a plant that contains substances shown to lower blood sugar. The mechanism of action is still under debate, but the active components of Bitter Melon appear to be similar in structure to insulin and could work by affecting insulin signaling to cells. In addition to its effects on metabolism, Bitter Melon also appears to have immune system properties.
Bioflavonoids, or flavonoids, are a group of plant pigments that primarily act as antioxidants to protect cells from the damaging effects of oxidative stress or free radicals (which are released due to injury, stress, or illness). They are believed to help the body respond normally to allergies, inflammation, and infections.
Boron is a trace mineral with diverse and important roles in metabolism that make it vital for plant, animal, and human health. It is recognized as a necessary plant nutrient that strengthens cell walls and though no daily requirement has yet been established in people or other mammals, there is evidence supporting its actions in bone growth and turnover, wound healing, a normal inflammatory response, and other critical processes. Boron is involved in the absorption and function of several other key nutrients critical to strong, healthy bone such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.
Boswellia comes from the same resin of trees that produce frankincense. Its active ingredients are said to interfere with the enzymes that contribute to inflammation and discomfort. By breaking the cycle of lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase, Boswellia may have actions leading to a more normal inflammatory cascade.
Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme found in pineapples that may aid in digestion as well as reduce discomfort and provide a normal response to inflammation. Numerous studies in humans have shown that Bromelain and other enzymes have an effect on recovery from exercise, injury, and certain surgical procedures. There is evidence that some of the enzyme may be absorbed from the GI system intact and enter the systemic circulation, where it may directly relieve discomfort in joints, muscle, and connective tissue.
Calcium (Ca) is a micromineral found in highest amounts in bone and teeth. However, it also has important roles in muscle contraction, cell membranes, blood clotting, enzymes regulation, and hormone release. Absorption of Calcium from the small intestine is controlled by Vitamin D but can be reduced if there is too much Phosphorus in the diet. Ideally, horses should receive slightly more Calcium than Phosphorus – a ratio between 1:1 and 2:1 is probably best. Pregnant and lactating mares, growing horses, and exercising horses may need more dietary Calcium than an adult horse at rest.
Carnitine (L-carnitine) is an amino acid that transports fat into mitochondria for aerobic oxidation and energy generation. By enhancing the body’s use of fat for energy and therefore sparing muscle glycogen, Carnitine may provide benefits during aerobic exercise, particularly endurance events.
Cetylated Fatty Acids- see Cetyl Myristoleate
Cetyl Myristoleate is a unique fatty acid (Omega 5) discovered by a research chemist at the National Institute of Health (NIH) that is used for joint discomfort. Although the precise mechanism of action is unknown, it has been suggested that Cetyl Myristoleate may block the cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX) pathways, decreasing overproduction of inflammatory mediators. While it can be obtained from either animal or plant sources, the animal source (beef tallow), provides a higher percentage of active ingredient than the plant source, requiring a much smaller serving size.
Chamomile is known as "the calming herb," although it has many uses both internally and externally in people and animals. It is classified as a nervine because it is an herb with specific actions on the nervous system. Because of its anti-spasm properties, it is especially helpful for horses that process anxiety through their intestinal system (diarrhea, colic, weight loss).
Chaste Berry (Extract)- see Vitex Agnus Castus
Chia Seed (Salvia hispanica) is a nutritious, edible seed that comes from a species of flowering plant in the mint family that is native toMexico and Central America. The richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, it's also loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. Chia Seed truly is a "super food" with a nutty flavor most horses love.
Chloride (Cl) is a macromineral commonly referred to as an electrolyte because it helps maintain the body's acid/base balance and hydration status. It is also commonly referred to as "salt" when combined with its partner Sodium. Chloride is an essential component of two intestinal secretions necessary for digestion and absorption of nutrients: bile and hydrochloric acid (HCL), better known as "stomach acid." When the horse's Sodium needs are met, its Chloride needs are usually also met.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is a precursor of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter). Has indications for concentration, memory and muscle performance and prevents fat build-up in the liver.
Chondroitin Sulfate is not only the building block of the much larger molecules hyaluronic acid (HA) and proteoglycan (PG) it also inhibits the effects of various enzymes that degrade cartilage Research has shown that chondroitin sulfate is bioavailable in the horse and that it appears to work synergistically with glucosamine to stimulate new cartilage production and inhibit cartilage breakdown.
Chromium (Cr) is a trace mineral which works with insulin to regulate blood sugar. By helping insulin work properly, it may be useful in managing the insulin resistance seen with Equine Metabolic Syndrome and in managing excitable horses on high grain diets that "tie up" due to stress. However, because PSSM horses display abnormal insulin sensitivity, chromium may not be recommended for horses with this particular muscle disorder.
Cinnamon is a plant whose bark and oil contain an active ingredient recently discovered to mimic the effects of insulin. The compound MHCP has been shown in numerous studies to lower blood sugar (glucose) by enhancing the movement of sugar from the blood and into cells. By helping insulin work better, Cinnamon may be beneficial in cases of insulin resistance.
Citrulline is an amino acid that the body can convert to another amino acid, arginine. Because arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, citrulline is also considered a precursor to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide signals the smooth muscle of blood vessels to relax, resulting in increased blood flow to certain areas.
Cleavers (Galium aparine) is an herb renowned for its ability to cleanse the blood, lymphatic, and urinary systems. It is reported to have a diuretic effect on the kidneys, antispasmodic activity in the urinary tract, and support a normal response to inflammation.
Cobalt (Co) is a micromineral used by intestinal microorganisms to produce Vitamin B12, which works with Iron and Copper to form healthy red blood cells. It is of minor interest because this is its only role in the body, no known cases of deficiency or toxicity have been reported, and horses take in all the Cobalt they need from their normal diets.
Collagen is the main structural protein found in the connective tissues of the body (skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments). Hydrolyzed collagen protein (gelatin) is a modified form that has been broken down into smaller pieces making it easier to digest and absorb. Collagen and gelatin are inexpensive ingredients used to support joint health, nourish bones and the tendons and ligaments surrounding them, and aid in recovery from exercise and injury.
Copper (Cu) is a micromineral required for production of normal connective tissues including tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone. As a component of many enzyme systems, it is also involved in making Iron available to the body for blood, in producing skin and coat pigments, in proper nerve signaling and in repairing antioxidants. Low Copper levels in mares and foals have been implicated in developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) including osteochrondrosis (OCD).
Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus) is an herb used to relax muscle tension in both smooth and skeletal muscle. Thought to act partly through the higher centers of the brain as well as directly on the muscle itself, it is especially helpful for spasms and tension in the digestive, reproductive and urinary systems.
Creatine is a component of creatine phosphate (CP), known as the storage form of quick energy. CP is stored in muscles where it helps regenerate ATP, the main source of cellular energy, by replacing Phosphorous molecules as they are released. Numerous human studies have demonstrated positive effects of Creatine supplementation for sports requiring repeated bouts of high intensity exercise (i.e. aerobic activities).
Curcumin- see Turmeric
Devil's Claw is a South African herb (Harpagophytum procumbens) that is used for discomfort in bone, joints, and other tissues. Data from 14 clinical trials in people conducted over the last 40 years suggest Devil’s Claw has beneficial properties in the musculoskeletal system without the specific risks associated with some NSAIDs. Because it contains “bitters” as an active ingredient, which encourages appetite but also stimulates the secretion of stomach acids, it should be used with caution in those at risk for gastric (stomach) upset.
DHA (docosahexanoic acid) is a specific kind of omega-3 fatty acid that is only found in marine-based sources such as fish oil and algae. DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain and retina, and studies in humans and dogs have shown improvement in brain function when supplemented with DHA. Studies in horses have shown that stallions with fertility issues benefited significantly when supplemented with DHA.
Diatomaceous Earth is a whitish powder made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of prehistoric, hard-shelled algae. It is registered by the EPA as a pesticide for indoor and outdoor dusting to eliminate crawling insects such as ants, fleas and bedbugs, as well as by the FDA as an inert carrier and anti-caking agent for human flour and various animal feeds. Some owners feed Diatomaceous Earth to their horses to help control internal parasites and reduce fly loads, since the sharp edges are said to penetrate the outer covering of worms and insects, causing dehydration and death.
Digestive Enzymes- see Pancrelipase
Direct Fed Microbials- see Probiotics
DMG (Dimethylglycine) is a naturally occurring substance in the body and in many foods, but in low levels. Supplementing with this readily absorbed ingredient makes additional DMG available to cells throughout the body, where it is involved in energy production processes that use oxygen. DMG is used to support muscle metabolism (especially in horses prone to tying-up), boost the immune system, and serve as an antioxidant.
Dong Quai Root (Angelica sinensis) is an herb that has been used for more than a thousand years throughout Asia and has an important role in current Traditional Chinese Medicine. Sometimes called the “female ginseng,” it naturally provides balance and normalizing support for female body systems and cycles. In addition, it also serves as an invigorating tonic for the blood and is believed to have anti-spasmodic and muscle-relaxant activity.
Echinacea, or purple coneflower, was a popular medicinal herb among Native Americans and early American physicians. It is still widely used by people today to shorten the duration and severity of respiratory infections such as colds and flu. Research in horses shows that not only does Echinacea stimulate the immune system, it is also a blood building agent. Healthy horses that received the herb had higher levels of red blood cells, hemoglobin and white blood cells.
Elecampane (Inula helenium) is an herb with a strong aromatic smell due to its volatile oil content. These volatile oils are believed to provide antiseptic, expectorant and mucus-producing actions in the respiratory tract. Its reported disinfectant activity makes Elecampane equally beneficial for conditions of the urinary tract.
Enterococcus faecium- see Probiotic
Enterococcus lactis- see Probiotic
EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) is a specific kind of omega-3 fatty acid that is only found in marine-based sources such as fish oil and algae. The NIH (National Institutes of Health) lists a large number of conditions in humans in which EPA is thought to be helpful, such as cardiovascular issues, joint discomfort, and others. EPA is believed to work by suppressing excess overproduction of inflammatory agents in the body such as cyclooxygenase.
Eyebright, (Euphrasia species) as its name suggests, is probably one of the best herbs for the eyes and surrounding tissues. Its ability to act on inflammation, irritation and allergies make Eyebright an excellent choice for any condition that affects the eyes, throat, mouth and sinuses.
Fenugreek is the number one preferred flavor in horses, and is added to supplements and feeds to stimulate appetite. This herb contains a soluble fiber known as mucilage which may slow the digestion and absorption of food from the intestine. Fenugreek may reduce blood sugar and support healthy metabolic function in insulin resistant horses.
Fish Oil is an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. In particular it contains two Omega 3s -- eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) -- with researched health benefits. In humans, EPA has been shown to support a number of systems including the heart, joints and kidneys. Studies in animals have demonstrated that DHA specifically improves brain function in growing puppies and senior dogs as well as reproductive ability in stallions.
Flax Seed is a rich source of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) alpha-linolenic acid, an Omega 3, and linoleic acid, an Omega 6, in an ideal ratio of 4:1. In fact, Flax is one of the greatest plant sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Besides its 40% fat make-up, Flax also contains protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and offers the benefits of lignans, antioxidants with estrogen-like activity.
Flo-Ox® is a proprietary blend of l-citrulline l-malate, citrus bioflavonoids and niacinamide, three ingredients that work together to relax blood vessels (allowing increased blood flow) and exert cell-protecting effects.
Fructooligosaccharides- see Prebiotics
Gamma Oryzanol is a natural, hormone-like substance found in rice bran. It may have muscle building properties in horses, helping hard keepers put on weight and equine athletes improve performance. In order for muscle to build properly with the use of Gamma Oryzanol, high-quality protein must be fed and there must be an active training program.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs in the world, its use dating back thousands of years to the Egyptians. It has an extremely complex chemistry – over 160 different compounds have been identified – which helps explain why it is recommended in people for everything from cardiovascular conditions to infections to overall cellular health. Many horse owners feed garlic to deter biting insects. While the amount of garlic in normal serving daily sizes of supplements is well under the safe upper limit, horses that eat too much of this herb may develop anemia.
Gelatin:- see Collagen
Ginger is a plant that has been used for thousands of years in Asia primarily as a digestive aid to prevent nausea, vomiting and stomach ache. Other positive effects in humans include reducing cholesterol and preventing platelet clumping, helpful in a variety of cardiovascular conditions. Ginger may also have antioxidant properties and result in a normal response to inflammation.
Ginkgo Biloba is one of the oldest living tree species and has been called a "living fossil" because it predates the Ice Age. Over 40 different components have been identified in its leaves, but it is most valued for its flavonoids and terpenoids, potent antioxidants with a particular affinity for central nervous system (CNS). Ginkgo is the world's most used treatment for memory loss and degeneration of the brain and CNS, especially age-related decline. Because it also dilates blood vessels and reduces clotting, it increases circulation to all parts of the body, acting as an overall tonic that aids in a wide variety of conditions.
Glucosamine is the building block of chondroitin sulfate, a specific type of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG). Current research suggests glucosamine has two beneficial actions in joints. Not only does it increase the production of new GAGs and therefore new cartilage, glucosamine has also been shown to inhibit the free radicals and enzymes that break down cartilage. This small but complex molecule has an important role in both the production and protection of joints. For more information visit our page on Glucosamine for Horses.
L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, especially in muscle tissue. Although it is not an essential amino acid, there is such great demand for its use in the body that production may not be able to keep up with consumption, so supplementing may be necessary. Glutamine is involved in more metabolic processes than any other amino acid, including building muscle, repairing intestinal tissue and enhancing the immune system.
Glycine is one of the simplest amino acids and is classified as nonessential because it does not need to be supplied in the diet. However, this compact substance plays many essential roles in the body. Glycine makes up 35% of the protein collagen, is a key component in many metabolic reactions, and has a modulating effect on the immune system. Recently, it has been shown to inhibit gastric secretions and protect gastric mucosa against chemical and stress-induced lesions.
Glutathione is a small protein with antioxidant activity in the body. As a component of the Selenium-dependent Glutathione peroxidase system, it not only scavenges free radicals but also recycles or "refreshes" other antioxidants such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C. It has been shown that as cells age, their levels of Glutathione decrease, which may contribute to cell death and certain conditions.
Grape Seed Extract (GSE) is the most concentrated form of the antioxidants present in grapes. Known as proanthocyanidins which simply means "producing a red pigment," the health benefits of grapes have been recognized for thousands of years. Today, research in humans shows that red wine or grape juice may have protective effects against the specific damage to cells caused by high amounts of sugar and fat in the blood. It appears that the antioxidants in grape seed and skin work cooperatively with Vitamin E to neutralize free radicals.
Gymnema sylvestri is a plant containing two main active components. One controls sugar cravings and therefore weight gain by neutralizing the sweet flavor of sugar on the tongue, and the other helps to control high blood sugar. It is unclear whether Gymnema works by preventing sugar from being absorbed from the digestive tract, stimulating insulin release, or functioning at a higher level in the body.
Hawthorn (Crataegus species) is a plant that has been used around the globe as a "cardio tonic." In the early 20th century, it was the mainstay of heart treatment by physicians. Hawthorn has specifically been used in people to strengthen contractions of the heart, regulate the heart beat, and improve blood flow to the heart, brain, and extremities. It is used in horses with hoof and limb conditions that may benefit from proper circulation, such as joint discomfort, laminitis, and navicular.
Honey is both a food and a medicine. That is, it is a source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, but also possesses beneficial properties to the body. For example, there are many bacteria that cannot live in honey. In people it is commonly used in cough syrups and cough drops for sore throats and an inflamed respiratory tract, as well as mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar for various musculoskeletal conditions.
Hops is most recognized as the flavoring agent in beer. However, this herb has also been used for centuries to relieve nervous tension, anxiety, irritability and other mood disturbances and therefore is classified as a nervine, or, an herb with specific actions on the nervous system. In humans, it has been shown to aid in sleep disturbances such as insomnia. In horses, it is most useful for those that process anxiety in the head and become distracted and unfocused.
Hyaluronic Acid ,or HA, is an integral component of joint cartilage and joint fluid, providing both lubrication and shock absorption. Hyaluronic acid is what makes joint fluid "sticky." Because it is known to protect cells in the joint, HA is especially useful in acute situations as well as flare-ups of chronic joint conditions.
Inositol is closely related to the B-vitamin family and is found in nearly every cell in the body. Because of its location within the cell membrane, it plays two major roles: transporting fats and assisting in nerve transmission. By participating in the action of serotonin, a neurotransmitter whose brain levels are known to be a factor in anxiety, inositol may be helpful in nervous horses.
Inulin- see Prebiotics
Iodine (I) is a micromineral whose only known function is as part of the thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism. Like Selenium and most other microminerals, the margin between safe and toxic dietary levels is small. Unfortunately, too much Iodine and too little Iodine both result in the same clinical sign—and enlarged thyroid gland or "goiter." Although Iodine requirements increase slightly for exercising horses as well as mares and foals, determine if your horse is already receiving enough Iodine from the diet before supplementing.
Iron (Fe) is a micromineral found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells (RBCs), the myoglobin of muscle cells, and various enzyme systems. Many horsemen supplement Iron to enhance energy levels and performance, but Iron deficiency in horses is rare and increasing Iron in the body has not been shown to improve RBCs or athletic ability. Because horses usually receive plenty of Iron in their diets, and because excess Iron in the body can cause deficiencies of other microminerals, it should only be supplemented when anemia due to Iron deficiency has been verified by a veterinarian through blood work.
Isoleucine- see Branched Chain Amino Acids
Kaolin Kaolin is a naturally-occurring clay that falls under the category of GI mucosal protectant and adsorbent. This means it is believed to guard against irritation of the gastrointestinal lining and bind bacterial toxins in the digestive tract. It has been in use for many years to soothe stomach and intestinal discomfort and aid in normalizing fluid content and motility.
Kelp (Fucus vesiculosus) is one of the richest sources of minerals in the plant world. Also known as "Bladderwrack," it supports the body's hormonal system, particularly the thyroid gland. It should be used with caution in the case of an overactive thyroid. Due to its mucilage content Kelp can also be used as a gentle bulk laxative, and is beneficial to both male and female reproductive systems as well as the liver and pancreas.
Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa) is an herb that provides support to the respiratory system as well as the liver and digestive system. It has a variety of actions including anti-allergic and stimulating to the immune system. Kutki not only protects the liver it also improves the secretion of bile and in general has a restorative influence on the GI tract.
Lactobacillus acidophilus- see Probiotic
Lactobacillus casei- see Probiotic
Lactobacillus plantarum- see Probiotic
Lactococcus lactis- see Probiotic
Lecithin is a naturally occurring fatty substance or phospholipid. Found in both plant and animal tissue, soybeans are the most widely recognized source of Lecithin. It has been shown to protect gastric tissue in several animal species, including horses, by supporting the stomach's natural defense systems in two ways. First, it forms a barrier between stomach contents and epithelial cells and second, it helps with cell membrane turnover and wound resealing. An integral component of all cell membranes, Lecithin is also important for strong connective tissue and hoof structure as well as a supple and shiny hair coat.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herb with actions on three main systems of the body: digestive, cardiovascular and nervous. Excellent for hyperactive children, it is considered restorative to the cells and tissues of the brain, spinal cord and nerves and even has sedative effects.
Leucine- see Branched Chain Amino Acids
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is one of the most widely used herbs for people and animals in both Western and Chinese medicine. Sweet and soothing, Licorice is used for its action on inflammation, healing, gastric upset, and others, plus functions as an expectorant. The deglycyrrhized form is preferred because it does not have the side effects of the plant as a whole.
Lime Flowers (Tilia europaea) is an herb widely used in Europe for nervous stress or tension. It is reported to have gentle sedative action and the ability to relax a tense nervous system and muscles. Lime Flowers is particularly useful for encouraging relaxing, restful sleep, especially in children.
Lysine is an amino acid and the only one for which a requirement in the horse has been established by the NRC. It is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be provided in the diet since the body cannot create enough of its own. Lysine is also a limiting amino acid. This means if it is not present in adequate amounts it limits the body's ability to make protein. Lysine is required for all ages and uses of horses, but it is especially important in pregnant and lactating mares, young growing horses, and senior horses.
Magnesium (Mg) is a macromineral that serves as an electrolyte in the blood, as an activator of hundreds of enzymes, and as a participant in muscle contractions. A normal diet can meet the Magnesium requirements of most adult horses in maintenance. However, pregnant and lactating mares, young growing horses, and especially horses in moderate to heavy work have additional requirements for Magnesium. Because one of the clinical signs of Magnesium deficiency is nervousness, it is added to many calming supplements. For more information visit our page on Magnesium for Horses.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) is considered by many to be “herbal aspirin” and has been used in humans for fevers, aches, and discomfort. The main active substance in Meadowsweet is salicin, which the body converts to salicylic acid. Modern aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is believed to have originated from Meadowsweet and Willow Bark in the 1800s. Other active ingredients in Meadowsweet make it a soothing, healing herb for GI problems such as gastric upset, cramps, and loose stool.
Manganese (Mn) is a micromineral crucial for proper formation of chondroitin sulfate and therefore healthy bones and joints. It is also essential in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Supplementation should be considered because not all diets provide the same levels of Manganese. It is among the least toxic of the trace minerals, and it plays an important role in young growing horses as well as active performance horses.
Mannanoligosaccharides- see Prebiotics
Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) is an herb that has been used for centuries throughout the world to relieve irritation of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems. It contains mucilage, a soluble fiber that becomes gel-like when wet. By forming a protective film over aggravated mucous membranes, the mucilage in Marshmallow soothes the sore throat and cough, the stomach lesion and inflamed bowel, and even serves as a “natural bandage” for skin wounds.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are shorter fatty acids that are easier for the body to absorb, digest and utilize than longer fatty acids. This makes them a source of quick energy and very popular with human athletes, especially long-distance runners. Since Medium Chain Triglycerides are not carbohydrates, they do not cause rapid changes in either blood sugar (glucose) or insulin. However, they still provide working muscles with an immediate source of fuel, sparing muscle tissue from being broken down for this purpose.
Methionine is an amino acid that contains sulfur. It is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be provided in the diet since the body cannot create enough of its own. It may be the second limiting amino acid, after lysine. This means if it is not present in adequate amounts it limits the body's ability to make protein. Methionine can be converted by the body into another sulfur-containing amino acid, cysteine. Because the concentration of both these amino acids is highest in hoof and hair, methionine especially is often included in hoof supplements.
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) is an herb with beneficial effects on the liver. Scientists believe the bioflavonoid silymarin, a mixture of three compounds including silybin, is the most active ingredient in Milk Thistle. By stabilizing cell membranes and stimulating protein synthesis, silymarin and its family of antioxidants both protect and rebuild the liver.
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a source of organic sulfur which is required for a number of functions in the body. Sulfur plays critical roles in the formation of protein, connective tissue, immunoglobulins and enzymes. MSM is an inexpensive compound with a proven track record of safety that may support healthy joints; a strong immune system; and resilient skin, coat, and hooves. For more information visit our page on MSM for Horses.
N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is a modified form of the amino acid Cysteine and a precursor to the body's natural antioxidant Glutathione. Research in horses has shown that NAC specifically protects the mucosal lining of the GI tract against oxidative stress. It also protects tissues in the respiratory tract from damage due to inflammation and excess mucus production, and protects the liver from various toxins, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose in people and pets.
Nettle (Urtica dioica) is an herb known for its ability to cleanse and restore the blood. In humans it is reported to be particularly useful for skin and joint conditions, such as gout. Nettle is a rich source of Vitamin C and Iron, making it an excellent choice for individuals with anemia. Reports also suggest it may help stimulate milk production.
Niacinamide is a form of niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, nicotinic acid, or nicotinamide. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are some differences in the activity of the different forms. Niacin is used in a wide range of conditions in people based on its cell-protecting effects especially in blood vessels, nerve tissue, the digestive system and skin. The Niacin family also plays an important role in energy production and in the synthesis of many important compounds including proteins, fats and DNA.
Nutmeg is a flavorful spice made from the hard brown seed of the nutmeg tree, genus Myristica, a tropical evergreen. A rich source of fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals, Nutmeg is believed to contribute to deep, rich coat color.
Nutricol® is a potent blend of naturally-occurring substances derived from foods that have been shown in numerous clinical studies to profoundly affect cell health. It is a proprietary blending of plant nutrients known as polyphenols. These are the same substances that have made green tea and red grapes the subject of much scientific study in recent years. Nutricol is designed to both increase the cell's resistance to damage and improve its ability to repair damage.
Oat Beta Glucan is the soluble fiber found in oats, barley and possibly other cereal grains. Numerous studies in humans have shown it to be the agent in oatmeal that reduces serum cholesterol. Beta Glucan also moderates the release of sugars from the digestive system into the bloodstream. Maintaining a steady state of blood sugar is critical in humans with diabetes and horses with insulin resistance. Beta Glucan also helps sugars and starches be digested earlier in the GI system of the horse, reducing the negative effects of starch in the hind gut.
Octacosanol is a compound primarily found in wheat germ that is used by people to improve their physical fitness. While some studies do show improvement in athletic performance, other research explores the compound's ability to improve cholesterol metabolism and protect the liver from oxidative stress.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are named for their chemical structure but are valued for their health benefits. In order for the body to function well, there must be a balance between the omega-3s and the omega-6s for a proper but not excessive inflammatory response. Unfortunately, horses that do not have access to grass may be getting too many omega-6 fatty acids from their fortified grain. To bring the ratio back into balance, many people feed flax seed to their horses, the greatest plant source of omega-3s. Flax seed is 40% oil, and nearly 60% of that oil is alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 that can be converted by the body into DHA and EPA, which have additional benefits.
Pancrelipase is a mixture of three enzymes normally made by the pancreas: amylase, lipase and protease. Together, these enzymes break down fats, protein and starch in the diet into smaller particles which the small intestine can then absorb. Supplementing pancreatic enzymes is useful when the pancreas cannot make them itself or when the enzymes cannot reach the intestines where they are needed for digestion.
Pancreatin 8X- see Pancrelipase
Paprika is a spice made from grinding the dried fruits of certain peppers. Rich in Vitamin C, beta carotene and other antioxidants, its primary use in horses is to enhance coat color. All colors of horses are said to become deeper and richer, but Paprika is especially valued for its ability to protect black horses from becoming bleached in the sun. Paprika may contain a low level of capsaicin, a substance banned by USEF for use in competition.
Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnate) is an herb with gentle sedative properties producing a relaxing effect. It appears to be particularly effective when used in conjunction with a more dominant nervine such as chamomile, hops, valerian or vervain to assist in the rebalancing of a horse's nervous system. Passion Flower is thought to act by breaking long-standing habits or nervous patterns and facilitating the development of new, more appropriate behaviors.
Pau D'Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa) is obtained from the bark of a tree native to South America. While it fits best in the category of immune support, it has been used for many years to address a wide variety of human ailments including infections, parasites, musculoskeletal complaints, loose stool, insulin/sugar metabolism, and others. Pau D'Arco contains many active substances, one of which-quinones-has been specifically shown to have anti-protozoal activity.
Pectin is a structural carbohydrate found in all plants, although some plants have higher amounts of pectin than others. It is classified as a fermentable fiber and prebiotic because animals don't have the enzymes necessary to break it down into simple sugar-bacteria in the hind gut are required to ferment it into fatty acids for energy. Pectin is also classified as a soluble fiber because it attracts water and forms a gel in the digestive tract. This property has many benefits for people and animals such as protecting against gastric lesions.
Perna (Perna Mussel, Green-lipped Mussel, Sea Mussel) is a shellfish that naturally contains a number of active compounds that work against excessive inflammation and the destructive cycle of joint degeneration. The unique combination of biologically active proteins, chelated minerals, glycosaminoglycans, amino acids, nucleic acids and essential fatty acids work together to maintain healthy connective tissue.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid that is involved in the production of certain brain chemicals such as epinephrine and dopamine. Preliminary studies suggest it may help reduce chronic discomfort associated with certain health conditions because of its proposed ability to block enzymes which break down endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” substances. For this reason, it is also used in people with certain form of depression but not in anxious patients because it may amplify nervousness.
Phosphorus (P) is a macromineral that, like Calcium, is found in highest amounts in bone. It is also required for energy production and the synthesis of many vital compounds such as DNA. Because Phosphorus is present in high amounts in cereal grains, especially wheat bran, some horses receive too much Phosphorus and not enough Calcium then develop problems. To avoid this, first make sure the horse's diet meets at least the minimum recommended NRC levels of both Calcium and Phosphorus, then make sure the ratio between the two is somewhere in the 1:1 to 2:1 range.
Plantain (Plantago major) is an herb with gentle and soothing action on the mucous membranes of both the digestive and respiratory system due to its mucilage content. It also contains tannins which are responsible for the herb's astringent and anti-bleeding actions. Some cultures actually use the leaves from this plant to staunch bleeding wounds.
Polar Lipids are vegetable fat molecules with both water-soluble and fat-soluble ends. Oat oil is a particularly rich source of Polar Lipids. These fats strengthen the tight junctions between cells in the GI system, supporting the health of the mucosal lining and enhancing nutrient absorption.
Potassium (K) is a macromineral commonly referred to as an electrolyte because it helps maintain the body's acid/base balance and hydration status. Since it is the main electrolyte involved in muscle contraction, the highest amounts of Potassium in the body are found in muscle tissue, including the heart. Fortunately, most horses receive all the Potassium they need from their forage, and only need to be supplemented during hot weather or heavy exercise, to replace sweat losses. The amount of Potassium in the diet of HYPP horses must be closely monitored. Consult your veterinarian for feed and supplement recommendations.
Prebiotics are sources of non-digestible, soluble fiber that serve as food for the probiotics or "good" bugs in the large intestine, keeping them healthy. Examples of prebiotics are: arabinogalactan, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, mannanoligosaccharides (MOS), pectin and psyllium.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) fed to promote healthy digestive and immune function. When these "good" bugs break down food ingredients that the body normally can't, they produce energy and vitamins for the body, food for cells in the cecum and colon, and byproducts that keep the "bad" bugs from growing. Research suggests probiotics are useful in repopulating the intestine with "good" bugs after antibiotic use and may benefit certain horses with diarrhea.
Profloratin® is a proprietary blend of probiotics designed to support normal digestion and immune function in the horse. The live bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium, and Bifidobacterium longum are considered "good bugs" shown to assist the GI tract in processing food and keeping tissues healthy.
Proflorazyme™ is a proprietary blend of probiotics, prebiotics and enzymes added to psyllium to enhance the fecal sand-clearing abilities of this ingredient. Research has shown that the ability of psyllium to help remove sand from the equine colon is improved when probiotics (live bacteria) and prebiotics (their preferred food) are also given.
Psyllium is a plant whose seed husk is made of soluble fiber which is fed to horses for several reasons. First, it has been shown to increase fecal sand output and may aid in the prevention of colic, impaction, diarrhea and other problems associated with a build-up of sand in the colon. Second, it falls in the category of "prebiotic," meaning it serves as a source of food for the beneficial bacteria that live in the colon.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid or plant-source antioxidant that appears to have especially protective effects on nervous tissue and connective tissue, such as collagen. In addition, it supports a normal response to inflammation, especially when histamine is involved, and therefore may be particularly helpful for certain allergic conditions.
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is an herb primarily used for its benefits to females. Believed to temper the effect of hormonal variations, it is used for everything from PMS and pregnancy/delivery to menopause in humans. The active ingredients in Raspberry appear to normalize smooth muscle tone in both the reproductive and GI tracts, relaxing muscle that is in spasm and strengthening muscle that is weak, possibly leading to contractions.
Resveratrol is the potent antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes. A type of natural phenol, it is part of a plant’s defense system against disease. Resveratrol research is in the early stages, but results are promising not only for protection against free radical damage, but also for its effects on the cardiovascular system, blood sugar levels, brain cells, and musculoskeletal health.
Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, is required for aerobic energy production in the body and other chemical processes. Usually horses can meet the NRC dietary requirement of Riboflavin from a combination of fresh grass or alfalfa hay plus microbial production of the vitamin in the intestine. However, stabled horses with little access to pasture or heavily exercised horses may require supplementation. Because the family of B-vitamins works closely together within the cells of the body, if you supplement one you should supplement the others.
Ribose is a small sugar-like molecule that makes up the nucleotides RNA and DNA, the building blocks of life, as well as ATP, NADH and several other compounds critical to energy metabolism. Considered an ergogenic aid, it is used by people to increase athletic performance and recovery from exercise as well as to aid in chronic fatigue and certain heart conditions.
Rice Bran is the outer layer or husk of a grain of rice. It is rich in fat, protein and fiber, as well as Vitamin E, the B-vitamins, certain minerals, and the hormone-like substance Gamma Oryzanol. A tasty, convenient way to add calories to the diet of a horse that needs to gain weight, Rice Bran must be both stabilized to protect its fat content and fortified with Calcium to offset its naturally high Phosphorus levels.
Rosehips (Rosa canina) are primarily valued for their nutritional value. A valuable source of Vitamin C, also have astringent, mild laxative and diuretic actions on the body. In humans Rosehips have traditionally been used against the common cold and bleeding gums.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is not just a lovely smelling and tasting herb used to flavor foods, it is one of the key herbs for improving mental concentration and blood supply to the brain. It is considered a general restorative for the entire circulatory system. Rosemary is antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and has antidepressant properties. Some people take it to improve their memories.
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a shrub whose edible berries provide vitamins C and E; the carotenoids beta-carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin; minerals such as potassium, manganese, and copper; plus amino acids and bioflavonoids such as proanthocyanidin. Many of these compounds have antioxidant and immune-modulatory properties which are important in normal mucosal healing and repair. In fact, numerous studies both in the lab and in several species, including the horse, have demonstrated the ability of Sea Buckthorn to promote gastrointestinal health, most likely through its positive effect on oxidative stress of stomach tissue.
Seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) is a plant harvested from the ocean that is a natural source of many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and micronutrients. Dried, it is widely used in animal feed and supplements. Seaweed has many of the properties of kelp, including all the same health benefits.
Selenium is a trace mineral that partners with Vitamin E in the body's antioxidant defense system to trap free radicals produced by exercise, illness and certain medical conditions. While some parts of the country have high levels of Selenium in their soil and therefore the plants that grow there, Selenium deficiency has been reported in 46 states. Therefore, most horses will need supplementation to meet the NRC requirement of 1 mg/day for maintenance. For optimum immune function and exercise recovery, 2 to 3 mg/day is recommended, which is still well below 50 mg/day which may be the upper safe limit. Selenium Yeast, the organic form of the mineral, is better absorbed than inorganic Selenium Selenate or Selenite.