Assimilation factors stem from the transformation of barley grains by germination and lactic ferments from 8 strains of micro-organisms (lactobacillus and lactic streptococcus).
As a herbivore, the horse shelters a fibrolytic (= cellulolytic) flora in his large intestine which breaks down fibre into energy-giving nutrients. To maintain his digestive health and for effective digestion of fibre, it is essential to respect the balance between the fibrolytic flora and the other types of flora.
Assimilation factors act as prebiotics, that is to say they favour the development and activity of the intestinal bacteria beneficial to the health of the horse.
Thus, when added daily at effective doses to the horses’ ration, the microbial activity of deteriorating fibrous constituents in the large intestine is significantly increased. In the horse, this stimulation of cellulolytic activity contributes to a better use of fibres and to maintaining the balance between the different floras.
The benefits of this type of supplementing in breeding have been studied. It has been shown that assimilation factors allow:
- Optimisation of the implantation and activity of the digestive flora in the foal. Indeed, when bacterial assimilation factors are given to the broodmare around the time of foaling, during the first five days of life the digestive micro-flora in the large intestine of the foal is active and established faster. The precocity and quality of microbial colonisation in the digestive tract by the new-born animals’ indigenous micro-flora, conditions the quality of the barrier effect of this flora against pathogenic micro-organisms.
- Optimal foal growth and nutritional recuperation by the broodmare. Clinical studies on the ground and under controlled conditions confirm the beneficial effects of assimilation factors on post-partum weight recovery by the broodmare and to weight gain in the foal under the mother. This last point can be explained by improved milk production in the mare (quantity and/or quality).
More generally, assimilation factors are recommended for:
- Increasing feed digestibility during periods of accrued energetic demand : growth, lactation, stallions at stud, training, etc.
- Favouring recuperation of body condition during convalescence.
- Securing or restoring the balance between the different floras during periods of stress : weaning, turnout to grass, preparation for the sale ring, feeding transitions, competition, transport, etc.
- Favouring the implantation of the digestive micro-flora in the foal during the neonatal period.
For a 500 kg horse, distributing between 10,000 and 30,000 mg per day of assimilation factors is recommended.
During moderate to intense muscular effort, consumption of oxygen significantly increases leading to energy being provided aerobically which allows the effort to be continued. Equally this accrued use of oxygen leads to a large increase in the production of pro-oxidising free radicals, firstly representing a direct threat to muscle cells, and then to the entire organism.
Consequently, we can easily understand that in horses carrying out intense efforts, it is judicious to increase anti-oxidant supplementation with the aim of neutralising these free radicals.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a fundamental enzyme in the struggle against oxidative stress and naturally produced by the organism. It is of interest having a complimentary action to other commonly used antioxidants (selenium, vitamins E and C).
The SOD incorporated into our feeds is 100 % natural: extracted from the flesh and juice of a particular variety of melon that is naturally rich in antioxidants (it also contains catalase). It is supplied in a coated form which confers stability during the manufacturing of feeds and which also protects it from gastric acidity.
The interest of supplementing with SOD in racehorses was notably proved by C. NOTIN and al. In the results of a scientific study published in 2010 and titled « Oral supplementation with SOD in Standardbred trotters in training: a double-blind placebo-controlled study ».
The results suggested that providing oral SOD may protect red blood cells from haemolysis (destruction) and limit the increase in muscle enzymes (creatine kinase, CK) in the blood (cf. figures below).
For a 500 kg horse, distributing between 260 and 520 IU per day of SOD is recommended.
The three chondroprotective agents incorporated into our feeds count amongst the most frequently employed in human health. Their effectiveness has been scientifically validated by numerous clinical studies.
Chondroprotective agents are substances used with the aim of protecting the cartilage of articulations and are principally indicated in the prevention and treatment of arthritis.
Chondroitin is a constituent of proteoglycans whose role is to maintain correct hydration of cartilage and bones. Furthermore, it directly protects cartilage cells from enzymatic reactions and free radicals.
Glucosamine is the precursor of many of the constituents of proteoglycans and of hyaluronic acid. In cartilage, hyaluronic acid is bound with proteoglycans and forms aggregates which assure good hydration of this tissue. In the synovial fluid of joints, hyaluronic acid takes a role of lubricant and chondroprotective agent.
MSM is also endowed with chondroprotective properties. In addition, it is a source of organic sulphur indispensable to the synthesis of collagen, an abundant cartilage protein, that bestows hydration, resistance, elasticity and suppleness properties.
Glutamine is one of the 20 natural amino acids.
Glutamine represents an important energy source for fast renewing cells. It intervenes at many levels:
- Protection and regeneration of the walls of the digestive system. For example, it takes part in maintaining the integrity of the gastric mucosa and helps heal ulcerous lesions.
- Supports the immune defences.
- Installing a beneficial digestive flora.
- Hepatic protection and regeneration: improves detoxifications, and prevention of steatosis (excessive fat).
For a 500 kg horse, distributing between 10,000 and 15,000 mg per day of glutamine is recommended.