Why is Real Food for horses gaining such popularity?

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Because consumers are becoming more educated. In fact, it is not such a novel idea at all. It was only roughly 20 years ago, that processed feed was introduced to horses. While all horses used to eat a mixture of oats, flax, hay and sometimes corn, horse owners relied on their tradition in horse feeding and knowledge of generations about what is good for the horse. In the late 90’s the ‘added ingredient’ horse feed industry was introduced and with it fancy bags, equine nutritionists, sales representatives and big marketing budgets. What’s in most processed horse feed now, costs a fraction of a bag of oats. Over the past 20 years we also have an alarming increase of the occurrence of diseases such as insulin resistance, Cushing’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcers, sudden death, ulcerative colitis, allergies and auto-immune diseases. Is there a relation between processed horse feed and modern equine pathologies?

A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 87, No. 1, 142-149) reveals that supplementation with vitamin C ascorbate devastates the muscle, causing impairment in mitochondrial function, loss of endurance, and inhibition of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes superoxide dimutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxide. It was shown that supplementation of racing greyhound dogs with 1g vitamin C/day for 4 weeks significantly slowed their speed.Are all forms of vitamin C supplements potentially damaging to the muscle? Certainly not. Unlike the synthetic vitamin C, its natural equivalent is both healthy and safe. Natural vitamin C as originally occurring in plants isn’t just beneficial to the muscle, it is actually essential to the whole body.

(Marshall RJ, Scott KC, Hill RC, et al. Supplemental vitamin C appears to slow racing greyhounds. J Nutr 2002;132(suppl):1616S-21S.)

We are very aware that there is a strong link between modern diseases of humans and a diet of processed food. Changing diets to real food and away from processed fortified foods, has been implemented in human patient education for over a decade. In human medicine we know the link between sugar, soy, and wheat and chronic inflammation.

To help prevent inflammation:

‘Feed whole foods free of additives and toxins. Whole foods can include non-GMO beet pulp, alfalfa, hay pellets, copra meal, split peas, hemp seeds, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, blue-green algae, and various fruits and vegetables. Limit soybean meal — the long term impact of isoflavones (the phytoestrogen found in soy) on the thyroid gland is controversial.’

Dr. Juliet M. Getty, PhD

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