The market for equine digestive health supplements has exploded in recent years. This growth can be attributed to greater demand among both veterinarians and other professional caregivers as well as owners. In either case, because the equine digestive tract is both complex and virtually impossible to view and analyze first-hand, the level of understanding of this system remains questionable. This allows for manufacturers of equine health products to make claims about products and ingredients that often leave the customer confused. How do you know what really works?
With so many options now available, many wonder if SUCCEED is just a more well-known name among a host of products that all make similar claims and are purported by users to elicit results in their horses. A common refrain among commenters is, “I know SUCCEED works, but it doesn’t seem all that different from other digestive supplements. What else can I use that will work just as well?”
There are no absolutes, and it’s true that some products may work better for individual horses than others. However, there are scientific reasons that SUCCEED is one of the most well-recognized names and most beneficial products on the market. It’s a myth that SUCCEED is just another digestive health supplement.
If you look at a digestive supplement comparison chart, like this handy one offered by SmartPak , it may seem like SUCCEED actually does less than SmartDigest® Ultra or SmartGI® and other supplements. But simply looking at an ingredient comparison chart can be deceiving. It doesn’t explain:
- what those ingredients are intended to do,
- what amounts matter (more isn’t always better),
- how those ingredients are combined or work together,
- if clinical research backs up effectiveness in horses,
- the quality of those ingredients,
- and what (if any) controls are in place for manufacturing.
Here are the questions you should be asking when comparing digestive supplements for horses, and what makes SUCCEED stand out from the crowd.
What Benefits Do the Ingredients Provide, and Is It Backed by Research?
When you compare digestive supplements for horses, you will see a range of possible ingredients and categories like probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, licorice, oat beta glucan, polar lipids, and L-glutamine and L-threonine. In order to make informed decisions for your horses it’s important to know what each are intended to do and if science supports those claims.
The popularity of probiotics, for example, shows how the veracity of claims by its evangelists can belie a lack of scientific evidence. The usefulness of probiotics, or live bacteria cultures intended to support the healthy microbial balance of the hindgut, has been clinically researched – but the findings are inconclusive. The evidence suggests there may be benefits to supplementing with probiotics, but it hasn’t been able to determine what specific strains of bacteria are beneficial to horses. To make it even more challenging, research also shows that each individual horse has an entirely unique bacterial environment, developed from the time it’s a foal.
Others, like beta glucan or polar lipids, are well established by science to play critical roles in digestive health and function.
Scientific research clearly shows that beta glucan can be useful for:
- normalizing the rate that food moves through the digestive tract,
- regulating the release of sugars from the digestive system,
- acting as a powerful stimulant to the immune system,
- and reducing LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
While polar lipids have been shown to assist with:
- nutrient absorption,
- strength and integrity of the intestinal mucosa barrier,
- and normal brain function.
What Amounts Are Actually Beneficial?
Many people are prone to fall prey to the fallacy that if a little is good, a lot must be even better. In many cases, however, the body can only use up to a certain amount of a nutrient before it passes out of the body unabsorbed. Or worse, too much of some substances may actually be toxic.
While science does show the benefits of many nutritional components, like those already mentioned above, there’s no definitive research showing what specific amounts are most beneficial in horses.
It’s also important to note that supplement labels do not provide specific amounts of each ingredient or their constituent nutrients. Many animal supplements follow standard feed labeling guidelines which, in the United States, require a listing of ingredients (in order of amount from most to least), and guarantees of either maximum or minimum amounts of particular nutrients. The guarantee only tells you that there is either no more than a given amount of that nutrient (a guaranteed maximum), or that there is no less than a certain amount (a guaranteed minimum). Further, actual amounts of ingredients may vary slightly from batch to batch of a given product.
What is the Quality of the Ingredients and Manufacturing Processes?
Finally, consistency, quality, and safety of digestive supplements are critical issues to consider.
In the United States, the primary regulatory bodies with oversight over animal feed and supplement products and facilities include the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at the federal level, and the feed control officials within the departments of agriculture in each state. Manufacturers are obliged to register their products in each state in which they sell. The truth is that both the CVM and individual states have limited resources to be able to maintain strict controls across the industry.
To make matters worse, many supplement manufacturers do not register their products, allowing them to effectively “fly under the radar” and avoid both registration fees and any oversight that regulators might otherwise provide. (You may have heard of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), a voluntary, independent organization made up of manufacturers in the U.S. The NASC is designed to self-regulate, with controls for labeling, manufacturing processes and adverse event reporting. However, the NASC has no enforcement authority and no involvement with non-members.)
As a result of these limitations, there’s no 100% guarantee that a given supplement label is accurate. Even if it is, nothing on the label ensures the quality and purity of either the ingredients or the manufacturing processes. Consistency from batch to batch may vary widely. Contamination is a real concern, as we’ve unfortunately seen with several equine feed related poisoning fatalities in recent years.
Generally speaking, “buyer beware” is the best approach when evaluating any animal supplements. More established, reputable brands may be your best bet.
Why is SUCCEED Better?
To bring it back full circle, the “secret” to why SUCCEED is one of the most beneficial digestive health supplements for horses is in its science, quality, and safety.
The Science Behind SUCCEED Ingredients
SUCCEED was developed by focusing on natural nutrients that are necessary for the health of digestive anatomy (intestinal villi, enterocytes, intestinal mucosa) and function (healthy bacterial balance, digestion, feed transit through the digestive tract, etc.). Polar lipids derived from our oat oil, oat beta glucan, yeast beta glucan, MOS from yeast, and amino acids L-threonine and L-glutamine have extensive research supporting their effects on the structure and function of the gastrointestinal tract. (Veterinarians may access our paper on this with resources cited in the SUCCEED Veterinary Center. Regulatory requirements dictate we only make this available to veterinarians.)
It’s also notable that SUCCEED is the only supplement in SmartPak’s chart that includes polar lipids, potentially the greatest differentiating factor in our product. In addition to the direct effects on GI cells, polar lipids act as a “ferry” for the other ingredients, helping them to be absorbed fully, thereby increasing bioavailability of the other nutrients in SUCCEED.
We do also have multiple internal and independent clinical trials regarding the use of SUCCEED in horses, details of which are available in the SUCCEED Veterinary Center. Your vet may access the information there and share it with you.
Quality and Safety of SUCCEED
While it’s not required for animal feed supplements, Freedom Health’s manufacturing facility is licensed in the state of Ohio as a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility and SUCCEED products are produced according to more stringent human food standards. This ensures cleanliness of our facility as well as complete track-ability of every single tube or bucket of SUCCEED that we produce, thanks to a rigorous lot numbering system. In the event of any issues or complaints, the specific lot can be identified, as well as all dealers or veterinarians who received that lot.
We also retain a sample from every single batch. This ensures that, should an issue arise, we have the ability to review or test a sample from that lot. Further, SUCCEED is produced in relatively small batches – just enough product equal to roughly 125 cartons of paste – for maximum quality and control.
Freedom Health also has SUCCEED tested periodically by an independent laboratory. Independent testing allows us to verify the components of SUCCEED are indeed present in the product in certain amounts, to check for potential issues, like pathogens, toxins or increased moisture, and to verify stability over time (i.e., shelf life) or under certain conditions. In fact, SUCCEED stability tests ensure consistent quality well past the “best by” date on the label, so you know the product is always “fresh.” (Note that the wetness in SUCCEED granules and paste are from oils, not from water.)
Also critical, all SUCCEED ingredients are certified to be of at least human food grade quality – guaranteeing a level of purity, consistency, and quality that other supplements may not have.
We are so confident that SUCCEED lives up to its promises that we offer the SUCCEED Challenge as a purchase option for SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program and the Healthy Gut Commitment with SUCCEED Veterinary Formula.
As one commenter explained, once you try everything out there and end up back up at square one – SUCCEED works. Try SUCCEED today and see the results for yourself.