Ingredient Spotlight: Papaya
At StableFeed, we know that what you feed your horses matters — to you and to them. We enhanced the benefits of chia with papaya, aloe vera, beta-carotene and L-glutamine rich vegetables (carrot, kale, cabbage) to create a truly unique and potent gastrointestinal aide for our equine friends. Our papaya products for horses provide gut support for:
- Horses in heavy work or horses with busy show schedules.
- Horses with ulcers, poor digestion, or other gastric issues.
- Horses who commonly experience stress (be it barn stress, travel stress, etc.).
- Riders in search of a natural way to add fiber, protein, or beta-carotene to their horse’s diet.
The following explains what is in our papaya supplement for horses, why we have chosen it, and how these ingredients work together to support your horse.
Pectin, a water-soluble fiber found in high concentrations in papaya, forms a highly digestible gel when it contacts a horse’s stomach acid. This gel forms a protective coating in the stomach, naturally providing protection to the stomach lining while soothing the pain from pre-existing lesions. Veterinary professionals encourage horse owners to feed foods high in pectin and fiber to help maintain a neutral pH in your horse's stomach.
Amylase, Protease, & Papain
Papaya contains the enzyme amylase, which breaks starches and carbohydrates into simple sugars, and protease, which breaks proteins into amino acids. These enzymes work in tandem to facilitate proper digestion and nutrient absorption, helping alleviate gastric stress in older horses and those with digestive issues. Papain — a proteolytic enzyme found only in papaya — serves the dual purpose of stimulating salivary glands to stimulate the appetite in horses not properly or adequately feeding.
Beta-carotene & Vitamin A
The carotenoid beta-carotene is not only found in high levels in papaya: it is more bio-available in papaya than in other Vitamin-A-rich foods like carrots. Known as a precursor to Vitamin A, beta-carotene is available from plant sources and naturally converted to Vitamin A by your horse’s body, with an important caveat: only as much beta-carotene is converted as is needed. Any excess is stored or used elsewhere for a variety of functions: hair, skin and connective tissue health, immune health, reproductive health, ocular health, and more.
Why is Vitamin A important?
Vitamin A is one of the most commonly deficient vitamins in horses, especially in those who do not have access to 12 hours of grazing each day. Feeding beta-carotene rich foods reduces the risk of toxicity while allowing your horse to metabolize this crucial vitamin.
In her book "Feed Your Horse Like A Horse", Dr. Juliet Getty describes the symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity and provides guidance to help horse owners calculate the amount their horse should be receiving. She also cites signs associated with Vitamin A deficiency: impaired red blood cells, reduced immune function, infertility, respiratory infections, and joint pain.
By adding the appropriate amount of Vitamin A to your horse’s diet through naturally occurring beta-carotene, you can avoid both deficiency and toxicity; and once converted, it’s used by the body in a myriad of ways, including:
- Sebum production: crucial for healthy skin and hair.
- Rhodopsin production: a pigment that enhances the ability to see in dim light.
- Healthy bone formation: aids in higher bone density and lower fracture risk.
- Mucous production: acts as a barrier against infections by coating the airways, digestive tract, and organ systems.
Learn more about papaya for horses
Ready to incorporate papaya into your horse’s diet? Click here to check out our biscuit and loose chia products for an easy and tasty way to improve your horse’s health! Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to our team at any time.
*This is a personal blog. Any information herein is not to be construed as medical advice.