How to Shop for Gastric Supplements
And gastric upset isn’t only uncomfortable – it’s unfortunately common, too. In fact, research has shown that 60% of performance horses and 90% of race horses have gastric issues. This is because modern horsekeeping and feeding practices are often at odds with how horses naturally live and eat. A horse needs to graze for approximately 17 hours daily to meet his nutritional needs, so his stomach was designed to continuously produce acid to aid in digestion. In a natural grazing situation, where a horse is eating and chewing all day, the stomach acid produced is buffered by forage and saliva, keeping it from damaging the sensitive stomach lining. This is why feeding large, infrequent grain meals can lead to big problems for the stomach.
The good news is, in addition to appropriate veterinary care and smart management practices, a gastric health supplement can help support a normal, healthy stomach.
How they work:
Key ingredients to look for:
In addition to the numerous roles these two macrominerals play throughout your horse’s body, they can also help neutralize excess stomach acid. Supplements most often provide 1,000 – 5,000 mg of either, or sometimes both of these nutrients when the goal is to support a normal stomach pH.
This amino acid has been shown to inhibit excess gastric secretions and help protect gastric mucosa against stress. Supplements often provide between 750 and 1,000 mg for stomach support.
This amino acid plays a critical role in the normal repair of intestinal tissues, including your horse’s stomach lining. You’ll generally see anywhere from 500 to 10,000 mg of glutamine in gastric health supplements.
The berries of the sea buckthorn shrub provide a wide range of compounds whose antioxidant and immune-modulatory properties assist in normal GI tissue healing and repair and a research study performed by Dr. Frank Andrews suggested that this ingredient may be helpful for horses at risk for stomach issues.1 You’ll often find 5 – 35 g of this ingredient in gastric support.
Aloe Vera is one of the most commonly used herbs today. The gel inside the leaves has a demonstrated effect on GI tissue, most likely due to antioxidant and cell-protective properties. For a basic level of support, 35 mg of aloe vera is common, however 10,000 mg or more is generally appropriate, particularly if this is the only ingredient you are offering for stomach support.
Horses that may benefit from a gastric support supplement include:
What to expect from gastric support supplements:
Shop All Gastric Health Supplements
Need help deciding? Our smarts are at your service!
1 Huff, N.K., Auer, A.D., Garza, F. Jr., Keowen, M.L., Kearney, M.T., McMullin R.B., Andrews, F.M. Effect of sea buckthorn berries and pulp in a liquid emulsion on gastric ulcer scores and gastric juice pH in horses. J Vet Intern Med 2012 Sept-Oct; 26(5): 1186-91.