Reformulating BioStar’s True Balance EQ
Five years ago I formulated a product called True Balance. It was formulated based on Ayurvedic medicine principles of food support to the GI tract, liver, and immune systems. It was designed for the ulcer horses, whose stress to the GI tract could also put stress on the corresponding body systems; mainly the immune system and the liver.
But I wasn’t 100% happy with it. I felt I was missing a piece of the homeostasis of these body systems, and the formula was too focused on ulcer stress. When we pulled True Balance off our shelves, it was to give me time to re-formulate it; to further my education in Ayurveda.
From all my travels around the country, and the many horse owners, trainers, riders, and horses I’ve met and consulted with, the one element that affects all horses in varying degrees is stress.
There are two types of stessors: physical and psychological. Physical stressors are exertion, injury,, change in the environment. Psychological stressors include uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. The stress syndrome begins with the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (an activation of the endocrine system), which releases catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine). These catecholemines increase heart rate, blood pressure, respiration; they mediate the classic flight or fight response.
During chronic or severe stress another part of the stress response is activated: the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This potentiates the release of ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic Hormone), which in tern causes the release of cortisol. Cortisol assists in relieving stress by increasing glucose metabolism. But we are learning that chronic stress and cortisol can affect attitude, reproductive capability, inhibit the immune system, and increase the risk of gastric ulceration, colic, and diarrhea. Digestion and absorption of food and nutrients are often also compromised, and the mucosal lining becomes irritated and inflamed. Cortisol can also affect blood sugar, and the thyroid gland.
In understanding the basic biology of stress on the body system, it became more clear to me that:
- reducing pro inflammatory foods (molasses, sugar treats, other refined carbohydrates) is an important part of helping the body return to homeostasis
- that reducing the stressor(s) in competitive and non competitive horses is not as simple as recommending meditation to a stressed out human
- stress levels in owners, riders, grooms, trainers, and barn workers can sometimes seriously increase stress levels in horses, so management of our own stress becomes just as important as management of our horses’ stress
- Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have specific foods and plants that are recommended for homestasis.
Medicines, foods, and plants all have actions and corresponding reactions in the body. From the reactions stimulated also comes the potential side effects that can cause further imbalances. In Ayurveda there are specific foods and plants that are called “tri doshic”, meaning balancing to the five different elements of the body: space, wind, air, earth, fire, water; these tri doshic foods and plants support and maintain balance without aggravating or furthering other imbalances. Often tri doshic plants and foods are known as tonics.
Some of these plants and herbs have been classified in western medicine as: adaptogenic. The European Medicines Agency has evaluated adaptogens as: “adaptogenic substances are stated to normalize body function and strengthen systems compromised by stress.” The principles of an adaptogen according to the European Medicines Agency is: “an adaptogen is almost non-toxic to the recipient; acts by increasing the resistance of the organism to a broad spectrum of adverse biological, chemical, and physical factors; an adaptogen tends to be a regulator having a normalzing effect on the various organ systems of the recipient organism.” Among the plants and foods in the adoptogenic classification are: Ginseng, Maca, Holy Basil, Ashwaganda, Eluthro, Schizandra, Resihi mushrooms, Maitake mushrooms, and Shiitake mushrooms.
True Balance combines the Ayurvedic tri doshic, tonic, adaptogenic plant Holy Basil, and the tri doshic soothing food Moong dal (yellow beans) with the Traditional Chinese Medicine adaptogenic mushrooms: Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Cordyceps. True Balance provides organic Fennel seeds, which have been used for thousands of years in Ayruvedic medicine to support healthy digestion, plus organic fenugreek seeds that are recommended in Ayurveda to support body tissue systems: blood, plasma, marrow and nerve; support body systems: digestion, respiratory and urinary.
Pesticide-free chia seed gel is an important part of the formula because it helps to slow the digestion of carbohydrates, which is critically important for horses under stress.
Organic freeze dried pomegranates and fresh kiwi fruit provide important antioxidants (vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, glutathione) while whole apples provide the anti inflammatory flavonoid quercitin.
True Balance can be used as needed during periods of high stress, or used daily in periods of chronic stress. The important driving force of this formula is that it returns the body to homeostasis, which is a critical component of well being and health.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.