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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Calling on DELTA ….Spirulina?

    DELTA…Have you had any experience with feeding Spirulina to horses with allergies. Specifically, those that lead to itchy skin in horses.

    Horse in question has no shortage of omegas in diet.

    I have always respected your no nonsense approach and thoughts on many oral supplements. I just want to know if the Spirulina information that is available is factual or hype.

    Thanks in advance.
    friend of bar*ka



  2. #2
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    Not sure why anyone would ask ME about personal experience with using a product like this. I haven't and probably never would. Just my way of doing things. I don't have any itchy horses and if I did I would not go with herbal or naturopathic remedies.

    But your second question--do I think the available data supports "hype" or "help", I can tackle.

    First of all, I like books. Since those are hard to share via COTH, I offer this link:

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&...ergies&f=false

    No, I haven't read it cover to cover but I have it stashed and have used it a couple of times to answer my own questions.

    It has a lot of nutrients, ounce for ounce, but its "medicinal" properties are nearly nonexistent. No doubt one could eat very well on a high-spirulina diet, but I'm not sure just the algae itself has any particular properties above and beyond being nutrient-rich.

    IMO its "superfood" status is because of its nutrient profile, but the practicality of eating that much is about zero.

    As the book I cited indicates, safe production is difficult and contamination can be a problem.

    In the end, most of its "medicinal properties" are ultimately attributed to the fact that it is rich in antioxidants. YAWN. So are lots of other foods.
    Click here before you buy.



  3. #3
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    Thanks, Delta. I asked because I'm not one for homeopathic "medicine" either, but….Michael Plumb's Horse Journal recommended the product (primarily for heaves) and I was actually surprised at the write up and support they gave it.

    I will try your link.

    Thanks
    friend of bar*ka



  4. #4
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    Well, obviously I'm not deltawave but I'll assume that if you really didn't care for anyone else's input you'd have sent her a private message. I'd like to chime in that medicinal properties of spirulina have been demonstrated, and as it relates to allergies, it's inhibition of mast cell degranulation makes it useful.
    I have used it for headshaking and allergic rhinitis with good success.

    Some reading, if you are interested:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...06295297006783
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...24320597006681
    *CrowneDragon*
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


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  5. #5
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    I have used it successfully for a QH whose throat would 'blow up' in the Spring with allergies. Ten tabs of it once a day as soon as he blew up, and he would be back to normal. As in within 2-3 days gone. Before I used it, he might be blown up for a month.

    I recommended it to a friend whose polo pony was allergic to something and he'd welt up with hives all over, mid Summer. Ten tabs/day, they were gone in a day or so. Stop feeding them, they'd come back.

    I've started my (suspected) RAO horse on them and am hopeful for similar results.

    I am flying Delta on Monday, maybe that counts


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by katarine View Post
    I am flying Delta on Monday, maybe that counts
    Must count for something at least!
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  7. #7
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    I am not a big believer in this kind of stuff either, but my gelding's allergies started up again this spring worse than normal. He had a thicker than usual nasal discharge out of one nostril for several days. With Anihist no longer sold OTC, I tried some Spirulina. The discharge cleared right up. I am still not completely convinced, but I ordered more; I want to see if my other horse who gets welts can be helped.

    Incidently, you can order it in powdered form by the pound from nuts.com. Much easier for me!



  8. #8
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    Homeopathic is an entirely different thing than herbal medicine, just to be very clear! Homeopathic remedies are faith healing. Herbs can have some very potent medicinal/drug-like effects. One is harmless and silly. The other can pack a wallop and needs to be handled with care.

    I'd put spirulina more in the "naturopathy" category--products with nutritional value but minimal to no actual medicinal effect. The rats (poor things, what a gory study) were injected with the spirulina. That does not always translate into efficacy when a substance is ingested. And the rats, most of them, died in the process. I'm not being sympathetic to lab rats, but they were killing them on purpose via anaphylaxis and looking at their mast cells. Not exactly what one would be looking for when shopping for a natural remedy.

    And the Horse Journal is a joke, IMO. Their idea of "research" is worse even than what one can find in supplement catalogs and websites.
    Click here before you buy.


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  9. #9
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    Even if there were well conducted studies in reputable journals to back up its effectiveness as an antihistamine (there aren't), why choose something with so little evidence behind it, when there are FDA approved antihistamines? FDA approval means you are at least getting a consistent product.
    "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave



  10. #10
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    But if you CAN clear up something without putting the horse on drugs, why not? I am not talking about a horse that is really suffering from the effects of allergies, but one that has some mild allergies. Especially for those competing.



  11. #11
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    Call it whatever you like, I tend to not make distinctions between DRUGS in the form of herbals or DRUGS in the form of prescription or over-the-counter products. So if someone is using an herbal preparation, they are, IMO, not "avoiding using drugs" at all, but rather using ones with questionable potency, purity, safety, and efficacy. Seems completely backwards to me if "safer" is what is wanted.
    Click here before you buy.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    And the Horse Journal is a joke, IMO. Their idea of "research" is worse even than what one can find in supplement catalogs and websites.
    The Horse Journal is Dr Kellon's pulpit. I'm in the wrong business.



  13. #13
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    We have used Spirulina for years, but not as an antihistamine, but as a nutritional supplement. There have been several threads about spirulina on this board. What we found, was that it makes their coats super shiny. I don't add much...just 1/4 tsp at each feeding.
    Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
    CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle



  14. #14
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    I've had issues with Tri Hist and foggy headed/sleepy horses, and palatability issues. I believe Tri Hist, although approved, is known to have a side effect of suppressing sweating. I'm in Alabama, we can't risk that if there are other viable options.



  15. #15
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    If antihistamines can cause non-sweating

    and spirulina has antihistamine activity

    then . . .
    Click here before you buy.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Call it whatever you like, I tend to not make distinctions between DRUGS in the form of herbals or DRUGS in the form of prescription or over-the-counter products. So if someone is using an herbal preparation, they are, IMO, not "avoiding using drugs" at all, but rather using ones with questionable potency, purity, safety, and efficacy. Seems completely backwards to me if "safer" is what is wanted.
    Or using whatever is effective. I had my horse on multiple drugs that either did nothing or produced unwanted side effects (cyproheptadine worked somewhat but triggered anhydrosis.)
    Spirulina has a very good safety record if you are buying from a reputable source, and for me, is very effective. There's no need to pooh-pooh it because it isn't a traditionally-manufactured pharmaceutical. If I did that, my horse would be miserable .
    *CrowneDragon*
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


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  17. #17
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    My pooh-pooh standards are different than yours. This is nothing worth getting upset over.
    Click here before you buy.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    If antihistamines can cause non-sweating

    and spirulina has antihistamine activity

    then . . .
    Do I really need to say this? I used Spirulina w/o any bad side effects, just the desired (good) effects. Tri Hist, an approved antihistamine, does have a reputation for decreasing sweating. I had a horse spontaneously develop anhydrosis, and again, living in the deep South, I'm not keen on anything with a reputation for decreasing sweat in a horse. TriHist has the rep. Not Spirulina.

    Le Shrug. Works for me.



  19. #19
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    Apparently you missed "Le If" in my statement. Tough to make an "if/then" statement without it.

    That post was a general commentary on herbs: they can and do have pharmaceutical effects. Which may include side effects. An individual may or may not have them--if one is fortunate to find a remedy with all benefit and no downside, that's a win. This changes nothing about the nature of herbs.

    If a product has the property of a drug, that means the good and the bad as well. But many individuals tolerate drugs (no matter the source) very well with few or no side effects.
    Click here before you buy.



  20. #20
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    This is an age old debate. Many nutraceuticals and herbals have great potential but are not well studied. There is not a lot of money in the studying, so drug companies do not do much of it (Eli Lilly being one of the hold outs that still does natural product screening). You cannot patent a plant but you can patent a single chemical from a plant - particularly if it is "modified" to make it your own, so the real money is in isolating exactly what chemicals from the plant (because yes, it feels warm and fuzzy to think of green things as "natural" and from the Earth, but the reality is they are still chemicals) are giving the desired effect that is wanted.

    Plant based "medicines" can really vary based on what part of the plant they come from and the conditions in which the plant was grown. So normally when you are wanting to treat a condition you are looking for a consistent and specific effect. Unfortunately due to this variability with plants, that cannot be guaranteed. Also there is quite a bit of variation in the plant biochemistry based on the exact species of the plant. Because these things are not well studied or regulated, you are kind of "at your own risk" when you use them. The company promises nothing.

    I think people tend to approach non "drugs" (herbals, etc.) with a pretty open mind and in surveys most people have the belief system that they are safer than traditional FDA approved drugs. This is a pretty big and dangerous generalization. Many of our current pharmaceuticals that are FDA approved have a plant based history. Mark Plotkin is a famous Ethnobotanist and he has a book called "Medicine Quest" that tracks back many block buster prescription drugs to their original plant or animal source before the individual compound was isolated and tweaked and patented. It's interesting stuff for nerds But my point is: the same stuff many are saying are unsafe are from plants that you would feel safe(er) with. So it's a perception game sometimes.

    If you pubmed Spirulina, you can find a smattering of crappy studies, ok studies, anecdotal case reports, etc. on the product. There are some positive things and there are also some studies citing pretty toxic side effects such as life threatening inflammatory myopathy. So clearly the stuff is not totally benign. Everyone has to decide for themselves what risks they are willing to take with their own animals. I think Delta's point is with FDA regulated stuff she feels like the risks are well known so she will know what to "watch out" for if she is using them. For the non-FDA regulated stuff it is more of a crap shoot. It might be safer or it might not. You just don't know and for some of us that is really scary!


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