New from BioStar: Adaptor EQ for Homeostasis & Wellness
Wellness: What does it mean to your horse?
There are many wellness formulas for horses on the market, but what does this term really mean for the health of your horse? Wellness is commonly defined as:
- The quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
- An approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to treating disease.
BioStar has formulated Receptor EQ and now Adaptor EQ because we recognize and support your horse’s fundamental biological mechanism of wellness: homeostasis. Health, longevity, and performance all depend on homeostasis.
The word “homeostasis” is built from the Greek words for “same” and “steady”. It refers to the process that living things use to maintain stable conditions necessary for survival. It is a system critical for health.
Homeostasis is a form of equilibrium and balance. It’s essential for the proper regulation of body temperature, hydration, glucose levels, pH, minerals and electrolytes such as sodium and calcium, and oxygen for respiration. Homeostasis also applies to tissues: cell number, tissue architecture, extracellular matrix composition, concentration of oxygen, nutrients, and the osmolarity of interstitial fluids. Cellular homeostasis includes the maintenance of cell volume, osmolarity, electrolyte concentrations, pH, intercellular ions, proteins, nutrients, oxygen and reactive oxygen species. The nervous system, the hypothalamus, the pituitary and adrenal glands, and the endocrine system control homeostasis via feedback mechanisms.
Among the homeostatic mechanisms in the body are the endocannabinoid system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
The HPA axis
This is a complex system of positive and negative feedback exchanged among the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. These feedback mechanisms work along a neuroendocrine pathway to modulate the immune system, fertility, stress response, and the cardiovascular system.
Dysfunction of the HPA axis can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, adrenal insufficiency, metabolic syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, chronic inflammation (including inflammatory bowel disease) and allergies.
The effects of stress on homeostasis
Stress is a key factor in the disruption of equilibrium. A “stressor” to homeostasis can be physical, physiologic, or psychological. Examples of each include: changes in external temperature — cold or heat — and injury to the body (physical stressors); pain and fatigue (physiologic stressors); fear and anxiety (psychological stressors).
Short-term stress can be valuable, providing the body with energy for fight or flight. In the case of longterm stress, however, the feedback mechanism that controls the stress response can compromise the immune system, tissues, changes in neuronal networks in the brain, lowering levels of serotonin and slowing production of tryptophan.
Inflammatory response and stress
Inflammation and the body’s stress responses are protective reactions that defend homeostasis. If the stress response is insufficient to maintain the homeostatic state, an inflammatory response is induced.
Both stress response and inflammation are engaged to eliminate the stressor (i.e., the source of perturbation), to promote adaptations to the stressor, and ultimately to return the system to the homeostatic state (Chovatiya & Medzhitov, 2014).”
Longterm stress and inflammation have been linked to:
- metabolic disease
- impairments of the immune system
- changes in mood, attitude and learning efficiency
- reduced blood flow in the GI tract
- gut bacteria imbalance, further increasing inflammation in the gut
Supporting homeostasis with adaptogens
Adaptogens are plants and fungi that help the body tolerate increased stress, rebalancing the body and facilitating recovery during illness. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), such plants and mushrooms are known for enhancing qi (or ch’i), which is the vital life force. In Ayurveda, adaptogens are referred to as rasayanas that maintain balance to the physiology, and support the body’s resistance to damaging influences. In Western herbal medicine, adaptogens are known as tonics that can restore and invigorate body systems.
Reishi and Cordyceps
These two adaptogenic medicinal mushrooms are especially important, as they can provide homeostatic support to horses.
Reishi mushrooms support the entire HPA axis (a critical homeostatic system), as well as the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Reishi is known in TCM as “the mushroom of immortality.” It is a tonic for qi — the life force.
Cordyceps mushrooms support anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory actions, and can support ATP production, thereby reducing fatigue. In China this medicinal mushroom is also used for respiratory health, as it dilates the bronchi and augments anti-inflammatory action, increasing airflow.
Horses can eat mushrooms?
If your horse is hand-grazed, turned out even for an hour a day, he/she is in contact with the beneficial soil fungi. So your horse has been eating fungi spores all his/her life. In fact, research has shown that the equine colon houses anaerobic fungi, which are key players in the degradation of lignin and cellulose plant fibers in the hindgut.
At BioStar, we’re picky about our fungi.
The medicinal mushrooms we use come from China. Why? Because China has been growing and using medicinal mushrooms for thousands of years. In fact, we rely on ancient principles of traditional Chinese medicine for guidance on how mushrooms should be cultivated, processed, and incorporated into our formulas.
The reishi and Cordyceps we use are grown on wood, not cereal grains or rice. Mushrooms grown on wood have low starch content and high beta-glucan content — the exact opposite of mushrooms grown on grains. Beta-glucans are important immunomodulators that help reduce levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
The mushrooms BioStar uses are grown in greenhouses with natural lighting and fresh air and are certified organic. Our reishi and Cordyceps mushroom extracts are a blend of the mycelia, spores, and fruit bodies, just as the ancient TCM practitioners used.
Adaptor EQ for homeostasis
BioStar’s wellness supplement, Adaptor EQ, provides the beneficial medicinal mushrooms reishi and Cordyceps for support of homeostasis, and is formulated with several other important wellness ingredients:
Green-lipped mussel is good for joints, providing glucosamine, chondroitin and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are key components of cartilage and synovial fluid.
Organic kale is an important source of sulfur for connective tissues and joints, and is a more bioavailable alternative to methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which is sourced from petroleum waste and methane gas.
Organic turmeric is a potent antioxidant, especially beneficial for oxidative stress. Supports the GI tract and helps reduce bloating and gas.
Amalaki is also known as Indian gooseberry, and considered one of the most rejuvenating plants in Ayurveda. In Sanskrit, “amalaki” means “the sustainer”.
Astaxanthin is a super-antioxidant able to cross biological membranes. It is commonly fed to racehorses, Iditarod dogs, and many high-performance human athletes.
Sunflower lecithin (non-GMO): provides phosphatidylcholine to support healthy brain function and memory, and serves as an important supportive fat source for the absorption of astaxanthin.
Organic black pepper has been used widely in Ayurvedic medicine for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It’s also gastro-protective.
…all blended into a base of coconut meal and organic pumpkin seed meal.
Our wellness supplement Receptor EQ targets homeostatic systems through the body’s endocannabinoid system with CBD from hemp biomass. However, horses competing in licensed USEF shows or FEI competitions are currently prohibited from receiving CBD in feed or supplements.
Adaptor EQ provides support for homeostasis without CBD, using instead the specific, organic, adaptogenic mushrooms reishi and Cordyceps to support the horse’s vital HPA axis and homeostasis.
Wellness: not just a word, but a state of health, vitality, and wellbeing.
Chovatiya, Raj & Medzhitov, Ruslan. (2014). Stress, inflammation, and defense of homeostasis. Molecular Cell, 54(2). 281-8.
Panossian, Alexander & Georg, Wikman. (2010). Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals, 3(1).