Fermented Turmeric for Horses
Gut health is essential for overall health, and turmeric offers support for a healthy GI tract for horses and dogs. When I learned of a patented fermented turmeric from Belgium two years ago, my mind leapt at the possibilities of combining the health benefits of fermentation with the health benefits of turmeric.
Fermentation health benefits
More and more research studies have demonstrated that fermented foods have important health benefits for humans, horses, and dogs.
- Promote GI tract health
- Help control inflammation
- Improve the availability of nutrients
- Can improve mood and behavior, according to some studies
Fermentation and feed
Fermentation ingredients are not new to the horse feed industry. Most complete feeds and ration balancers provide a yeast, notably Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is itself often produced commercially from anaerobic fermentation. S. cerevisiae produces fermentation metabolites in the gut, and these metabolites are important for GI tract health.
S. cerevisiae and fermentation metabolites
Fermentation metabolites support the microbiome of the gut, specifically the hindgut. The S. cerevisiae species of yeast produces fermentation metabolites, which are bioactive compounds. Among these compounds are the volatile fatty acids (VFAs), including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid. VFAs are the ultimate end product of bacterial fermentation, and help the digestive tract to function optimally.
Curcuminoids and anti-inflammatory activity
Turmeric has many active compounds. Chief among them are the curcuminoids (including curcumin) that research has confirmed provide anti-inflammatory properties. However, curcuminoids are poorly absorbed and quickly metabolized by the body for excretion.
Fermentation of turmeric with lactic acid bacteria increases curcumin content and its anti-inflammatory activity.1 This is particularly important for the gut; fermented turmeric demonstrates antimicrobial activity against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial pathogens.
Curcuminoids affect inflammation and immunomodulation
Studies indicate that intestinal inflammatory diseases are characterized by recruitment of the body’s own neutrophils, which can actually worsen mucosal and epithelial degradation. Curcumin is known to prevent neutrophil recruitment, thus reducing mucosal and epithelial degradation.2
Curcumin modulates the intestinal barrier
The intestinal barrier is a semipermeable structure that allows uptake of essential nutrients while being restrictive against pathogenic molecules and bacteria. It plays a fundamental role in health, and its dysfunction plays a critical role in inflammation and disease.
Research indicates that metabolites of curcumin can act as modulators of all four layers of the intestinal barrier. This is important, because gut homeostasis and intestinal barrier integrity is necessary for optimum health.3
Stressors of the intestinal barrier
Researchers have identified several stressors to the integrity of the intestinal barrier and barrier dysfunction: processed food, deficiencies of vitamin D and zinc, and the use of industrial food additives including the emulsifier polysorbate 80.
Make sure to read the label on any liquid or paste supplement for horses, as polysorbate 80 can be found in some equine products. A study published in Nature on mice found that dietary emulsifiers (polysorbate 80, carboxymethylcellulose) affected behavior and altered sociability while increasing anxiety-like behaviors.4 Polysorbate 80 has been shown to contribute to intestinal inflammation and metabolic syndrome by having a detrimental impact on microbiota composition and function.5
Other additives that affect the gut
Ongoing research is showing that gut microbes are susceptible to antimicrobial food additives including sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate and potassium sorbate. Exposure of gut microbiota to even low levels of these additives may modify composition and function of the gut microbiota, and thus affect both the gut and the immune system.6
Curcuminoids can provide gastric protection
Curcumin has also been shown to protect against gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux) in horses (known in humans as GERD).7
Curcumin can provide gastroprotection from NSAID-induced impairment of the gastric mucosal barrier. Curcumin can enhance damage resistance of mucosal epithelium due to the ability to increase cell proliferation in the gastric mucosa.8
Studies highlight poor retention and solubility of curcumin
Even when enhanced with added black pepper, turmeric powder has low bioavailability because it’s often quickly metabolized by the body and released through excretion.
Many studies pointed to the curcumin paradox: while the beneficial effects of curcumin cannot be overlooked, orally administered curcumin fails to meet traditional requirements of bioavailability and chemical stability for future therapeutic development.9
Although curcumin studies show poor water solubility, dissolution and retention time of curcumin in the stomach, research has shown that certain metabolites of curcumin — particularly tetrahydrocurcumin — are superior to curcumin in water solubility, chemical stability, bioavailability and anti-oxidative activity. Tetrachydrocurcuminoids are considered the most bioactive metabolites of curcumin.10
Bioavailability with fermentation
When I read a recent bioavailability study on fermented turmeric I was stunned: The amount of patented fermented curcumin entering model mammalian cells was 17.2 times greater than turmeric powder after 24 hours, and 6.3 times greater after 48 hours.11
BioStar is the first equine supplement company to use Fermeric®, a patented, fermentation-processed turmeric.
The fermentation process converts the curcuminoids into their tetrahydrocurcuminoid metabolites. This means your horse gets turmeric’s highly bioavailable metabolites and the many health benefits they bring to the GI tract, immune system, intestinal barrier integrity, and anti-inflammatory actions.
As you can see, this patented fermented turmeric, Fermeric®, raises the bar on bioavailability and efficacy of turmeric. It is so much more than just powdered turmeric root.
Beta testing Fermeric®
BioStar has been beta testing Fermeric® since the summer of 2021. We’ve been amazed at the results when combined with the patented probiotic strain DE-111 of Bacillus subtilis, plus our own BioFlora probiotic and our own “hedgerow” herbs. This combination of fermented turmeric plus active, live probiotic strains and herbs known to tonify and support the GI tract has been so popular in beta testing that the beta testers keep asking for refills so that their horses won’t be without it.
This is the next generation of gut support, providing superior ingredients that are the cutting edge of nutrition with the centuries-old health benefits of specific dietary plants for horses.
Look for BioStar’s new Hedgerow EQ, available May 1st!