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December 6, 2021

Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC) and SUCCEED: Your Top 5 Questions Answered

More and more equestrians are scrutinizing the non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) content of horse feed. Different horses have different dietary needs and restrictions, so it’s always a good idea for owners to evaluate whether common feeds and supplements are appropriate for their individual animals.

This practice is especially important when you consider that one in five horses older than 14 years is affected by metabolic and/or endocrine dysregulations (Ireland and McGowan, 2018).

If you’ve wondered about the NSC content of SUCCEED, we can help. Our team has put together the answers to your most common NSC-related questions with regards to SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program (DCP).

#1: Does SUCCEED have sugar in it? If so, how much, and what is the source?

SUCCEED DCP has zero sugar in it. If you are on the hunt for a low-sugar digestive health supplement because of your horse’s insulin-related metabolic disorder(s), you’ve come to the right place. In addition to being safe, the unique sugar-free oat flour composition of SUCCEED DCP contains ingredients formulated specially to support healthy digestion and nutrient absorption:

  • Beta glucan: helpful in maintaining a healthy rate at which food moves through the digestive tract, regulating the safe release of sugars from the digestive system. Preventing glucose “peaks” caused by a sudden influx of sugar into blood circulation is key to keeping the digestive and endocrine systems of the horse healthy.
  • Protein: SUCCEED contains amino acids, the building blocks of protein. These keep numerous functions in the body working properly, including muscle regeneration, energy production, and immune health.
  • Polar lipids: assist with nutrient absorption, strength and integrity of the intestinal mucosa barrier, and normal brain function.

These features and benefits make SUCCEED DCP a safe and smart choice for providing digestive support to horses and ponies whose veterinarians have prescribed a low-sugar diet.

#2: No sugar—but how about non-structural carbohydrates (NSC)?

The two main non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) in equine feed are starch and sugar. When fed in excess, NSC can lead to metabolic problems (Meier et al., 2018). That being said, the amount of NSC in SUCCEED is so small that it’s barely significant to a horse’s intake.

Considering that the average horse consumes approximately 200-500 grams of NSC per day in their feed (grain, hay, and/or pasture), the 3g added by the daily 0.9oz dose of SUCCEED DCP represents a tiny percentage of the total NSC daily ration. This extremely minimal amount of NSC makes SUCCEED DCP safe for horses prone to metabolic dysregulations (Macon et al., 2021).

Furthermore, SUCCEED DCP’s innovative ingredient list means that the supplement is not only safe for horses needing low-NSC diets but may also provide an additional safety net by helping protect the digestive system from an overload of starch and sugar coming from the rest of the horse’s feed.

#3: My horse is already fat. Will SUCCEED make him gain even more weight?

Each horse is an individual. Individual metabolisms respond differently to unique combinations of feeds and supplements. That being said, the low amount of NSC contained in the small quantity of SUCCEED that you need to feed daily won’t contribute to weight gain on its own.

However, SUCCEED does optimize nutrient absorption, which helps the horse to get the most out of its feed. This potential increase in grain utilization could lead to weight gain; so you should monitor your horse’s weight closely and decrease grain intake if it starts to rise.

Of course, take a whole-horse approach to weight loss and consider exercise and lifestyle in addition to diet when managing an overweight or obese horse. Involve a veterinarian or nutritionist in ration formulation to set yourself up for success.

#4: My horse is currently taking medication and other supplements. Is SUCCEED safe to feed at the same time?

Yes. The ingredients in SUCCEED DCP are purely nutritional (no medications) and should not conflict with any other supplements or medical products. If you need reassurance that it’s safe to introduce a particular medication or supplement to the diet of a horse being fed SUCCEED DCP, run it past your veterinarian.

#5: My horse is dealing with endocrine challenges. Is SUCCEED safe?

Yes. The sugar-free, low-NSC composition of SUCCEED DCP is safe for horses and ponies dealing with endocrine challenges.

Do keep in mind that the supplement has the potential to optimize nutrient absorption, which can sometimes be a double-edged sword with metabolic-related challenges. If your horse is overweight and at risk of endocrine dysregulations, your veterinarian will encourage you to closely monitor his weight and body condition score (BCS) and limit the sugar and starch in his diet.

In some instances, you may need to decrease caloric intake from the overall diet to prevent additional weight gain since SUCCEED DCP does have a relatively high-fat content (29%), and fat is a rich source of calories. This being said, as noted above, the entire daily serving size of SUCCEED is just under 1 ounce, so the entire amount of fat in oil being fed to the horse via SUCCEED is just over 1/4 of an ounce per day.

The ingredients in SUCCEED DCP might actually help your horse effectively digest sugars and starches and make the most out of his food. This could be beneficial in horses with an impaired ability to properly digest and use nutrients from their diet.

Supporting GI Health with SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program

Our sources conclude by affirming that SUCCEED DCP is safe and effective in maintaining good digestive health in light of endocrine and metabolic challenges. Taking proactive steps to safeguard your horse’s metabolism and digestive systems will pay dividends in keeping him happy, healthy, and feeling his best.

Ready to Try SUCCEED?

Horse owners living in the United States can try SUCCEED risk-free with the SUCCEED Challenge. You should notice progress within 60 days of starting your horse on the program.

If you are located outside of the U.S., find out how to buy SUCCEED here.


Ireland, J., and McGowan, C., 2018. Epidemiology of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction: A systematic literature review of clinical presentation, disease prevalence, and risk factors. Veterinary Journal 235, p. 22-33.

Macon, E., Harris, P., Bailey, S., Barker, V. and Adams, A., 2021. Postprandial insulin responses to various feedstuffs differ in insulin dysregulated horses compared with non-insulin dysregulated controls. Equine Veterinary Journal.

Meier, A., De Laat, M., Reiche, D., Pollitt, C., Walsh, D., McGree, J. and Sillence, M., 2018. The oral glucose test predicts laminitis risk in ponies fed a diet high in nonstructural carbohydrates. Domestic Animal Endocrinology 63, p. 1-9.



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