A supplement in the form of a paste, you are probably familiar of that. You may not have thought about it before, but there is quite an extensive (and scientific) approach behind the development of a product in the form of a paste. Easy administration, precise dosage and optimal digestion are all considerations that determine the choice of using paste instead of powder. At Cavalor we just love pastes and in this article we would gladly explain all the research behind the usage of supplements in the form of a paste.
Paste VS powder
The difference between a supplement in powder form and a supplement in the form of a paste is rather important and depends on different things. Pasta-supplements are well absorbed because they have ingredients that are water soluble. But when it comes to fat-soluble ingredients, a substance is needed to mix them. There are limitations, because not all ingredients can be used in the form of a paste. You administer it directly into the mouth, which could require more effort, but you are certain that they will be absorbed correctly.
On the other hand, powder supplements have ingredients that are soluble both in water and in fat, so you have more choices of ingredients. Due to the interaction between nutrients in powder form, they can reinforce one another, which is good. It is possible the powder influences the taste of the feed.
When do you opt for a paste?
The choice between a paste and powder depends on different situations. In general, powder is easier for daily use at home, while paste is practical during contests. Horses might eat fussier in a new environment, so a better solution might be to give them paste. its dosage is easy and precise, without influencing the taste of the feed. Pastes are ideal as a last minute “booster” because of their high concentrations of quicky available ingredients and the synergistic effect between them. Because of the ease of administering, even outside of feeding times, pastes are a convenient choice for situation when you want to react quickly. Besides, you do not have to mix a paste with feed, which also promotes a faster intake. A precise dosing also ensures that your horse receives exactly the amount needed.
A direct effect
Pastes are frequently being used because of their direct effect. But is their effect really faster than that of powder? Actually, the speed of absorption does not actually depend on the form of the supplement, but most of all on the ingredients that supplement contains. In order to understand this, we first have to explain how the horses’ digestive system works.
The process starts in the mouth, where the food is chewed and mixed with saliva. Food reaches the stomach via the esophagus, where it mixes with stomach acid. From the stomach, the partially digested food goes to the small intestine, where enzymatic digestion takes place. For example, starch is broken into simple sugars, protein into amino acids, et cetera. Then, t large intestine plays a crucial role in the fermentation of, among others, fibers and the production of volatile fatty acids and B vitamins. In the end, indigestible food leaves the body as manure.
Many pastes are formulated in a manner that they can be absorbed or deployed quickly and efficiently in this digestive system. But of course, this depends on the ingredients they contain.
The ingredients from a supplement can be easily be subdivided in two groups:
- Complex ingredients, like proteins, complex sugars, minerals, herbs and essential oils, require a longer digestion time before the body can absorb them.
- Because of their short digestion time, the horse’s body can directly absorb simple ingredients, like simple sugars, amino acids and minerals. There are also nutrients that are functional in the digestive system itself, which is why they do not have to be absorbed (think about probiotica in Emergency 911).
This is how a nutrient is being absorbed in the body
The absorption of nutrients takes place through the intestinal wall. After the ingredients have been broken down, they are transported through the blood to the target area for an immediate effect. However, it is important to note that some supplements, such as Gastro Aid, have a local effect, for example on an irritated stomach.
The digestion of nutrients is a complex process that can be divided in two ways of absorption/utilization of nutrients.
1. Nutrients that are absorbed directly:
Various channels, including the intestinal cells, blood and lymphatic system, ensure the direct absorption of nutrients by the horse. These nutrients ultimately reach the tissue that benefits from the specific nutrient. It is important to note that this direct absorption is a vital part of the process.
2. Nutrients that are used by microbes:
Microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and single-celled organisms, play a vital role. These micro-organisms need nutrients to function properly. When these nutrients enter the bloodstream, they are transported to the tissue where they are needed.
We understand that this is complex matter and that is why we have further elaborated it in a diagram.
How does it work?
It goes without saying that nutrients or the active ingredients in a supplement must be of high quality. However, there are more preconditions for optimal effectiveness of a nutrient, gut health being one of them. Stress, illness or medication can all have a negative impact on gut health and therefore on the ability of the intestines to function optimally. In such conditions, nutrients are absorbed less efficiently, which can significantly reduce the desired effect. A healthy intestinal function therefore forms the basis. Would you like to know more about the importance of gut health? We have written an extensive article that you can read here.
In addition to the influence of gut health, it appears that also the age of the horse is important for digestion. In many cases, nutritional intake decreases as the horse ages.
Furthermore, the processing of nutrients is important for their effectiveness. This can vary from grinding into powder form, processing into a pellet, or even popping grains. External factors such as cold and heat can also influence the active substances. The process of manufacturing a supplement is therefore a precise matter.
Optimal digestion: ingredients that work together
Nutrients can influence each other, both positively and negatively. In an ideal scenario, they promote each other’s absorption, but it can also happen that the combination of nutrients actually inhibits absorption. For optimal absorption, it is therefore essential that nutrients are carefully chosen and combined so that they work together effectively. A balanced and well-thought-out composition of nutrients is crucial to ensure that the horse absorbs all the necessary elements and benefits optimally from the supplement. Besides this, the balance between the different minerals in the product is also of great importance. For example, an overdose of zinc can hinder the absorption of iron and copper. Furthermore, it is beneficial to combine various ingredients that have similar effects, but work in different ways. In this way, a stronger effect can be achieved and there is less risk of overdosing on a specific ingredient. For example, consider antioxidants; the combination of vitamin E and vitamin C has a stronger effect than a high dose of vitamin E alone. Therefore, the challenge is to find ingredients that positively influence each other. At Cavalor we therefore do not believe in single ingredients; it is always the mix that ensures an optimal result.
The pastes from Cavalor
In this article you read more about the effectiveness of pastes, but you also learned more about the absorption of various nutrients. That presents important basic knowledge to understand that effectiveness. We previously indicated that we are not in favour of the use of ‘single ingredients’. What we do believe in is a complete approach, tailored to the needs of your horse: feed as you need. A healthy horse starts with healthy intestines and good roughage is one of the most important basic conditions for this. In addition to this, mental health is also an important pillar. A happy athlete not only performs better, but stress also has a negative impact on gut health and therefore on the absorption of nutrients.
Cavalor An Energy Boost provides important nutrients and an extra dose of quick energy before, during, and after intense work to help your horse give its best performance and to assist in recovery.
Cavalor Take It Easy Forte, a calming supplement in paste form with extra strong acting for a quick and effective result. Cavalor Take It Easy Forte reduces fear and the influence of stress factors while helping concentration. Take It Easy Forte in paste form is ideal for use ahead of stressful situations like competition and transport.
Cavalor FreeBute Paste helps maintain supple muscles and joints, it provides the natural relief that horses sometimes need to enjoy free movement. It supports sport horses, optimising their performance by reducing pain and discomfort, and promotes healing and recovery. An essential supplement for the well-being of horses that strive for top performance.
Cavalor LactaTec Paste supports optimum muscle performance at crucial moments and promotes good recovery afterwards, which helps preventing muscle fatigue, and keeps your horse feeling supple every day.
The combination of FreeBute and LactaTec is a ‘winning combination’. It supports a speedy recovery and prevents stiff muscles after stress. It is a fast-acting paste that promotes mobility.
Cavalor Bronchix Pulmo opens airways and supports long capillary elasticity and resilience during intensive training or competition. Cavalor Bronchix Pulmo has been developed for the optimal support of the lungs and airways. It improves blood vessel elasticity and resilience and promotes respiration.
Cavalor Emergency 911 is a fast-acting and easily digestible supplement intended to support the digestive systems during transport, stressful moments or digestive problems. Cavalor Emergency 911 supports the microflora and the digestive system with prebiotics and probiotics that support good gut bacteria.