Remarkable Probiotic Yeasts for Horses
Probiotic yeast strains are quite fascinating. While non-yeast probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidum need microencapsulation to survive the harsh environment of the stomach, probiotic yeasts can survive the gauntlet of the digestive system, arriving intact when reaching the colon.
The two most common probiotic yeast strains are Saccharomyces boulardii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
S. Boulardii actions and benefits
S. boulardii stays viable in the hindgut, where it helps support fiber digestion and maintenance of proper pH.
• Fiber utilization: Horses are hindgut fermenters. Fiber from forage and hay is the primary component of the equine diet because the equine GI tract is designed to process fibrous food 20 hours per day. While fiber is digested in the hindgut, starch-rich foods like oats and grains are digested in the small intestine. When the small intestine can’t process high amounts of grains and high-starch carbohydrate foods, these pass to the hindgut, altering the pH and imbalancing the microbial community. S. boulardii can help re-balance the microbiota and pH of the hindgut.
S. boulardii can also improve fiber digestibility in the hindgut. This is especially important for older horses, hard keepers, and high-performance horses.
Improved fiber digestibility means that older horses can utilize their hay better, hard keepers can gain weight, and high-performance horses benefit from the increase in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which provide as much as 70% of the horse’s energy.
• Short-chain fatty acids: S. boulardii can help increase the production of SCFAs in the hindgut, particularly butyrate. SCFAs help strengthen the lining of the gut, can reduce diarrhea, may help address ulcerative colitis in some horses, and can reduce acute inflammatory responses in the colon.
• Antibiotics: Because S. boulardii is a yeast probiotic and not a bacterial probiotic, it is unaffected by antibiotics; you can feed this yeast during a course of antibiotics without reducing the effectiveness of either.
S. cerevisiae actions and benefits
S. cerevisiae, commonly known as brewer’s yeast or baker’s yeast, has been instrumental in winemaking, baking and brewing since antiquity.
• Only active S. cerevisiae can function as a probiotic (unlike the inactive version sold as “nutritional yeast”).
• Like S. boulardii, this probiotic strain can improve digestion in horses, helping them better utilize their feed. S. cerevisiae can also improve protein and mineral digestibility.
BioStar probiotics and Ayurvedic principles
BioStar’s probiotics are formulated with high numbers of active, colony-forming units (CFUs). In order to colonize the GI tract, high amounts of CFUs are needed: billions, not millions. We also use multiple strains in our formulas, because the GI tract is not a monoculture of one or two species. In fact, the microbiome of the gut is far more diverse than the genome.
Another advantage of BioStar’s probiotic supplements is that they are formulated on the Ayurvedic medicine principles of warming, cooling, and neutral.
• Cooling probiotics: Lactobacillus and Bifidus strains
BioFlora EQ, Hedgerow GI (blend of cooling and neutral probiotics)
• Warming probiotics: Yeast strains (S. boulardii and S. cerevisiae)
Bio Yeast EQ
• Neutral probiotics: Bacillus strains
Hedgerow GI (blend of neutral and cooling probiotics)
BioStar does not blend warming and cooling probiotics in the same supplement as many other companies do. We stay true to the Ayurvedic principles for horses dealing with GI tract imbalances.
Bio Yeast EQ: Updated!
Recent research has shown S. boulardii’s powerful therapeutic and wellness effects on the GI tract, and its ability to resist degradation when used with antibiotic therapies.
This is one reason we have tweaked the balance of microbes in our Bio Yeast EQ formula. Now, instead of equal parts S. boulardii and S. cerevisiae, one serving provides 100 billion CFUs of S. boulardii plus 10 billion CFUs of a patented S. cerevisiae strain (CNCM I-1077) with enhanced ability to increase fiber digestion in the hindgut.
This new formula will be available in January, 2023!
When to supplement with Bio Yeast EQ
• Senior horses benefit from the warming properties of the active yeasts. This helps support increased digestive fire for better utilization of food and nutrients.
• Horses in colder climates benefit from the warming properties of the yeast probiotics, especially during winter.
• Horses dealing with diarrhea and fecal water syndrome benefit from the hindgut activity of yeast probiotics that help regulate pH and maintain microbial balance.
• Hard keepers benefit from active yeast probiotics that help the digestion and utilization of food and nutrients.
BioStar has focused on the equine GI tract since our inception in 2007. Health and wellness begin in the gut, and the microbiome is the new frontier. BioStar is committed to learning, understanding, and sharing new research and studies on the complexities of the microbiome. We recognize the connectivity of the brain-gut-adrenal axis and immune system and their interdependent roles in regulating homeostasis and wellness.
Read more about Probiotics for Horses