Prebiotics and post biotics for horses - What's the deal?

Prebiotics and post biotics for horses - What's the deal?

Prebiotics and post biotics for horses - What's the deal?

Scratching your head about postbiotics and the role they play in equine gut health?

Whether you’re new to the term, or it’s something you’ve already come across, let’s examine the role of postbiotics in gut health, and how to identify the right gut health support for your animal.

Prebiotics, Probiotics, Postbiotics…

No, they’re not names for the same thing, they’re all different, and they play different roles in the world of horses' gut health.

So, what is a postbiotic? Well, let’s first understand what it’s not.

An prebiotic is referring to food for the microorganisms in the horses gut, which promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms. These support growth and the development of probiotics during fermentation and allow the production of postbiotics. Prebiotics can also help control horses diarrhea and tummy upsets. 

probiotic is referring to live microorganisms like yeast or bacteria that are fed to provide benefit to the animal. Probiotics are measured in colony forming units (CFU), which indicate the number of viable cells. Generally this should be somewhere in the realm of 10^9 – 10^11 cfu/g.

Probiotics can strengthen the gastrointestinal barrier against infection, lower cholesterol levels, block weight gain and have an anti-inflammatory effect, but they need to stay alive during processing and survive the acidic stomach and can also decline during shelf life, as they need to be live in order to have their positive impact, so choosing a product with ‘probiotics’ might not be as effective as you’d hoped.

In contrast, a postbiotic is referring to fermentation by-products. It’s generated when you take a live microorganism, put it in an environment it likes, feed it with specific prebiotics, and let it ferment. The result is all sorts of useful fermentation end products and metabolites that help boost the immune system, reduce digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, help prevent obesity, reduce  inflammation and improve the gut lining.

Essentially, a postbiotic is the outcome of the following formulation:

Prebiotic + Probiotic + Fermentation time = Postbiotic.

So what does this mean?

Now we’ve cleared up the differences, what does this knowledge mean for you?

At Poseidon Animal Health, we’re committed to being informed by new and emerging research into the science of animal gut health. We use this research in the formulation of our animal gut health products, and we want to empower animal owners and trainers so that they can make informed decisions about how they support their animal’s health foundations.

So, some of our current products include a generated postbiotic, and new and revised ones will also include postbiotics which have already gone through the process of fermentation, and don’t need to be ‘live’ to be effective in the way that probiotics do.

With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision about the products you choose for your animal.

If a gut supplement claims to have a probiotic, you should investigate the following:

  1. How effective it is and its level of CFUs over the entire shelf life of the product
  2. What evidence there is that is does survive the acidic stomach and is it still alive when it reaches the gut
  3. Does it’s efficacy reduce during transport and storage and does the company test for this
  4. Is the probiotic species-specific? Is there evidence to show that this particular strain works in tandem with the current indigenous microbiome that is native to the animal.

It is important to ask questions of the companies you’re purchasing from. They should be able to share their evidence and approach with you openly and honestly, and if not, you’ll know they’re not the right choice for you.

If you’d like to know more about postbiotics and their role in our products, we’re always happy to chat. Get in touch via chat now, or email