March 11, 2021

Product Review: Vitalize Alimend for Ulcers

Let's talk about something happier, like a f****** miracle ulcer supplement I put the ponies on last month and want to tell the world about.

After I successfully treated Aeres for ulcers when she first got here in September, I immediately put her on Purina Outlast as a preventative/acid buffer.

But so slowly I almost didn't notice it was happening, Aeres started to get more and more jumpy. I put her on Nexium again, but it didn't have the same effect this time, and when she almost broke the crossties in mid-January because Mary petted her softly on the shoulder, I started looking for something else. Alice's trial was coming up, and I wanted her to try the real Aeres, not the in-pain Aeres.

(Also: I briefly tried doing UG with her but holy hell this horse is awful about getting paste shot into her mouth. Even at Purdue, the resident wryly told me it takes 2-3 people to get her GastroGuard into her daily right now! So yeah, that was not an option for my solo barn manager to do.)

Can't stop looking at 'before' pictures, ugh

 

Then I found a post on COTH titled "Newer" Liquid Gut Supplements, which led me to a peer-reviewed study by Hagyard (hip hip hooray!) on the efficacy of a "polysaccharide gel containing a blend of hyalruonan and schizophyllan" on gastric ulcers.

Their conclusion:

Our study reveals that a polysaccharide blend of 240 to 480 mg high-molecular-weight hyaluronan and 60 to 120 mg of schizophyllan administered daily for 30 days demonstrates ulcerative healing. Of the horses treated, 90% showed complete resolution and/or improvement in ulcerative areas, increased appetite, weight gain, and positive behavioral changes. Our study suggests that a polysaccharide blend represents a novel means to enhance gastric healing in the active horse. Additional investigations to further elucidate these findings and determine optimal protocols are warranted.

Not just symptom mitigation, but healing. One COTH reply from a commenter I respect noted "half a dozen" friends that started their horses on one of them with "really good and quick results, like a couple days". Quick results sounded good - I was desperate with Alice's visit just days away, so I ordered whichever of the three supplements on the market with these ingredients could get to me quickest, which ended up being Vitalize Alimend.


We started seeing a positive behavior change in Aeres within 12 hours of receiving her first dose on a Monday morning, and by Wednesday, she was a completely different horse, like, I was gobsmacked by her turnaround in just 48 hours. The barn staff texted me, "WOW that liquid stuff is working!" By that Friday when Alice tried her, she was back to her normal, soft-eyed, not-jumpy, no-ulcers self. 

Aeres 2 days after we started VA. I sent this to Mary and was like "Look at how soft her EYE is!!!" She had not been this soft and relaxed in a month.

 

She got one pump (which is 1oz) at morning and evening feeds, top dressed over her grain right at the time it's fed, which is both a pain in the ass and very important. It's an extremely viscous liquid and it needs to be in that form in order to be effective, not dried out (or frozen - must be stored at room temperature) because it works to coat the stomach. I reached out to the manufacturer for an official comment about how it works:

Yes, it has a high concentration of MHB3 Hyaluronan that gets passed to the stomach and works to coat the stomach’s lining. It does not buffer the stomach acid or hinder digestion. Many other products that do this actually can negatively affect the gut and interrupt normal absorption and digestion of feed (leading to gastric flare-ups or colic). Additionally, MHB3 is the only proven HA to have these gastroprotective properties due to its high molecular weight and high concentration.

 

Unlike PPIs such as UG, GG and Nexium, it's safe to leave a horse on this forever, although you can of course take them off of it as soon as the ulcers are healed. And while it may seem expensive when you drop ~$200 on a jug of supplement, considering a round of GG is four figures, $200-$400 for 1-2 months of this starts to not seem as expensive in comparison. Also, the manufacturer says it's safe to feed this alongside PPIs if you're wondering.


Fun fact, my bio major mom applied for a job here when she and my dad lived in St. Joe right after getting married

On my recommendation, one other blogger has tried this on her horse that definitely has ulcers with the same miraculous results (and a complete turnaround back to his ulcery self when the BO forgot his VA for a day!), while another blogger that was just guessing hers might have ulcers tried it and didn't see much change. I put Connor on it too just because I could, and also didn't see much change, but then again, he JUST got treated for ulcers at CGPs, so without active ulcers it probably doesn't do much for them. But I'm definitely keeping this on hand to feed before and after travel and to treat ulcer flare-ups in the future.

Bottom line: Where has this been all my life? No worrying side effects and it makes the horse immediately feel better, PLUS can actually treat ulcers for a fraction of a round of GG? I'm kind of in love with this supplement.

What: Vitalize Alimend (although Gut-X and Relyne-GI have the same active ingredients and should work the same way)

Price: VA is $157.87 for a one month supply for one horse at the maintenance amount before discounts at SmartPak, and that's middle of the road for the three supplements with Relyne-GI being the most expensive. I pay $149.98 after USEF and auto-ship discounts, and did not see a need to give the "high stress or exertion" dose, which would make this a 14 day supply. They also have a gallon bottle (2 months) which is slightly cheaper per dose.

Where: Smartpak

Disclaimer: I like this product so much I probably sound like a shill, but rest assured I am spending my own hard-earned hundreds of dollars per month on it and have received nothing from the manufacturer. Opinions are my own.

15 comments:

  1. This is awesome and so promising as an additional supplement to help with ulcers! And yay more research in equine supplements!! (Even if they did lack a control group and have error bars that somehow go over 100%.)

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    1. I know, but I still choose to be happy about any peer reviewed studies on horses. They are so few and far between.

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  2. So interesting!
    I wish Canadian shipping was much more friendly (and less costly), because getting any weight-y supplements or liquids from the states is very expensive.

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  3. Definitely cool to hear about a product that so clearly works! I don't think I need any now, but as always, it's good to have the info in my back pocket in case it comes up in the future :)

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  4. Thanks for the review! Cinder is on Nexium right now, and after her trainer suggested it I scoured your archives to find your original Nexium post. I'd be interested to try her on this if she's ulcery when I bring her home. Unfortunately her barn only feeds grain once a day, so a twice a day supplement won't work.

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  5. Lex was just scoped and diagnosed with pretty gnarly ulcers at the lesser curvature. We are going a month of GastroGard and Sucralfate and then will rescope again. I also added alfalfa to his diet 3x a day so he gets Outlast and Flax Oil on AM/PM meals plus a cup of Outlast at lunch.

    I am currently looking into a PortaGrazer - or the version you have to try to make sure he always has forage. I sent this info to my vet though and will be curious about his thoughts.

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  6. Thanks for sharing about the Alimend! I just started my mare on the Gut-X a week ago and I think it is helping her too, though we are not sure if she has ulcers or if we are still battling the hindgut issues. I'd also looked up your original Nexium posts and thought about trying that but had already ordered the Gut-X so I thought I'd give that a go first!

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  7. This is super interesting. Nay Nay has dealt with ulcers (he did scope clean last time we checked, but had scarring). He also has food allergies (AND preferences) so I struggle to keep his gut happy. I've had him on outlast and I can't say I see any difference. He's also on succeed and twice when I've taken him off he's gotten grumpy within a week so that does something for him. He did get ulcery recently and I don't know how well Nexium worked (it's worked super well on my senior who within 3 days was his old self -- we had a mouse infestation and the ponies were stressed). He seems OK, but isn't eating as much hay as I'd like, but if could just be the hay isn't up to his standards. This interests me. But I don't want to add yet ANOTHER thing into his diet... Hmm. I do think I'm going to drop the outlast after this bag.

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  8. My vet is big recommender of Relyne, great to know there's a cheaper option out there that also works! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Hmmmm. I will see if I can get this in Canada.

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  10. Just came a little late to the party to say that I have had Bravo on this for about a year after treating for ulcers twice and have not had an issue since! With Alimend's support he weathered a long distance haul, moving to a brand new, much bigger barn, and starting full training without any trouble. We are also BIG fans!

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  11. Thanks so much for the thorough review. This is really interesting. I was thinking about trying Alimend for a horse who's jumping out of her skin after antibiotics - ulcers are probably way more common after antibiotics than we think they are. I may give it a shot after reading this. I just hope she eats it - have you heard of any issues with palatability?

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    1. Not so far, no, and I know four people that have used it so far, plus some more that used Gut-X. One of the Gut-X people's mare didn't like it. I think you're right on antibiotics causing ulcers. On both myself and my horses I do a round of probiotics after antibiotics (Platinum Performance has a good one that's about $40/month USD) and then on the horses I'm definitely going to treat for ulcers with this as well.

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    2. Just in case I'm the Gut-X mare case you're thinking of (😉), after a few days of turning up her nose at it Ruby is eating it fine now!

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