Understanding a Horses Gut Health

In 2003, the Nutrena® brand revolutionized the feed industry with the debut of the original SafeChoice® Horse Feed, the first controlled starch horse feed to hit the market. In 2023, Nutrena® is revolutionizing equine nutrition again by introducing an exclusive Digestive Shield technology for complete gut health and immune support. Digestive Shield™ with controlled starch, pre + pro + postbiotics, and calcite, helps support the entire digestive tract.

Sponsored by Nutrena

Why Is Your Horse’s Gut Important?

Maintaining a balanced digestive system helps support overall horse health. The digestive tract, or “gut,” of the horse is responsible for breaking down (digesting) feed ingredients and absorbing nutrients present in them. The microbial population within the gut also plays a role in producing key vitamins, in addition to maintaining gut health. By some estimates, the gut is responsible for 70% of the horse’s immune system. Gut health refers to both the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract and the balance of microorganisms that live there.

How Are Microorganisms and Gut Health Related?

Microorganisms live symbiotically in the horse’s digestive system. Mostly concentrated in the hindgut (cecum and large intestine), these microorganisms break down the fiber in feed and hay. This is done by deconstructing complex molecules to release the nutrients and allow the synthesis of energy substrates and important vitamins. Those nutrients are then absorbed through the intestines into the bloodstream, where they become available to cells in the body to support maintenance, growth, and activity. 

Gut microorganisms include bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and even viruses. The specific combination of organisms acts as a unique ecosystem within the horse.  You may also hear this balance of microorganisms referred to as a “healthy microbiome,” or “healthy gut flora.”  When the populations of microorganisms in the gut are balanced, the horse can achieve maximum nutrient digestion from its forage and feed.

Why Digestive Shield™ Is the Answer

What is Digestive Shield™?

Digestive Shield is a new technology, exclusive to the Nutrena® brand, that supports gut health from end-to-end with a unique combination of controlled starch, calcite and pre + pro + postbiotics. Digestive Shield™ is one more way Nutrena® continues to work to promote the health and well-being of horses. To better understand how Digestive Shield™ works to protect horses from the inside out, let’s look at the components.

Calcite: Calcite can help maintain a healthy stomach pH after and between meals through its superior buffering capacity. This may help the horse support a healthy stomach lining.

Prebiotics: These are the nutrients that beneficial bacteria eat­­—in other words, “the fuel” for the “good bugs.”  Prebiotics help maintain the healthy population of microorganisms when, for example, there are sudden changes in a horse’s diet, which helps to reduce digestive upset. They can support the growth and activity of beneficial microorganisms, which benefit the horse by enhancing the absorption and retention of certain nutrients. The prebiotic used in Digestive Shield™ comes from chicory root.

Probiotics: These are living microorganisms — “the factories” — that can be added to a horse’s diet to help balance its gut flora population.  Providing more beneficial bacteria has been shown to increase nutrient digestibility and shift the balance of microbes in a positive way. Probiotics in Digestive Shield™ include beneficial strains of Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Bifidobacterium, and Bacillus. 

Postbiotics: When yeast and/or bacteria are fermented outside the animal they create biproducts known as metabolites that can have beneficial health effects.  A postbiotic is the combination of inanimate microorganisms, both intact and cell wall fragments/structures, and their metabolites that when fed to an animal confer a health benefit.

Save $25 Off on Our SafeChoice Nutrition Trial to Try Digestive Shield

Help keep your horse looking and feeling its best, from the inside out, by trying SafeChoice with Digestive Shield. For a limited time get $25 Off SafeChoice when you sign up for the SafeChoice Nutrition Trial. Sign up today here.