The Profound Link between the Equine Gut and Immunity

The function of the immune system is to protect the body from outside organisms and substances that may harm it.

Dr. Eleanor Kellon, Uckele Staff Veterinary Specialist, says “We typically think of the intestinal tract as a digestive organ, but it has a very important role in the immune system as well.”

Dr. Kellon explains that over 70% of the immune system of the intestinal tract called GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue) surrounds the digestive tract.  This provides barriers to infection and plays an important role in immune responses, making the gut a significant factor in maintaining a healthy immune system.

The powerful effects of Probiotics
“Research has found that interactions between the immune system and the bacteria colonizing it can have profound effects.” Dr. Kellon explains, “Probiotics are bacterial strains capable of colonizing and surviving in the gut that have a beneficial effect on their host by suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria and interacting with the immune system.”

Documented effects of Probiotics include directing activity of immune cells, encouraging production of protective mucus, reducing inflammation and decreasing the risk of allergy related antibodies forming.

Prebiotics support the growth of Probiotic strains of bacteria by feeding them or maintaining an environment in the gut that is favorable for proliferation of Probiotic strains. Some also have direct immune system effects.

Additional nutrients to maintain healthy immune function
“Immune activity in the gut has a body-wide effect,” Dr. Kellon says, “One of the best ways to boost and balance the immune system is through Probiotics, Prebiotics and other nutrients documented to support and balance immune function.”  These include:

  • Hydrolyzed Collagen can help by providing a soothing coat to the stomach lining and ideal levels of amino acids to support connective tissue repair.
  • Deglycyrrhized Licorice has been shown to reduce the risk of gastric upset.
  • Marshmallow root, Slippery Elm and Aloe Vera further soothe irritated gastric linings and do double duty as Prebiotics and Mannanoligosaccharides that support function of the hind gut
  • Saccharomyces yeast, digestive enzymes and key bacterial Probiotic strains keep all levels of the digestive tract functioning normally.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, is an innovation-driven health company committed to being on the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years.  Uckele takes pride in formulating and manufacturing a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances for equine athletes and companion animals to help achieve optimal health.  www.uckele.com

 Dr. Eleanor Kellon is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience.  Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.