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Hyaluronic Acid... Does it work when fed orally?

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  • Hyaluronic Acid... Does it work when fed orally?

    After reading good reviews on a product that contains a good amount of HA (Grand Meadows Synergy), I thought I'd try it for my mare's hocks. After I started the supplement, I mentioned it to my vet and he said HA would do nothing for my horse when fed orally. I had not heard this before. Does anyone have any input on HA and its ability to help when fed orally? I do not want to spend money on something that will do her no good. Thank you.

  • #2
    There is controversy regarding the efficacy of nearly any joint supplement. The proof of the pudding is in the eating; I'd keep her on this for a while and see if it helps her. If you don't see any improvement, it's time to move on.
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

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    • #3
      I'd argue that the proof of the pudding is in scientific research. Any one individual can have a string of good (or bad) days and confound even the most careful observer as to a response to this or that treatment. But if you find evidence that 100 or 1000 individuals responded to the treatment (or not) you have a bit more confidence. Good luck, by the way, finding such evidence for supplements. They sell without it so there's no incentive.

      It is doubtful that HA survives the digestion process, but that may vary considerably between species, too.
      Click here before you buy.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had my arthritic horse on Total Joint Care per the recommendation of my physical therapist (who is also a horse person & uses it), which has a decent amount of HA in it. It might have been the components in it, but I noticed a dramatic difference in my horse when I put it on him and saw a negative change when I took him off of it. I don't know any of the scientific research behind it, but I figured trying it for myself couldn't hurt to see if I personally see any changes.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've been using Hylaun for my old mare and I do think it helps her. I would buy one of the better liquid supplements, rather than the cheaper powders. I've had more luck with the liquid HA vs glucosamine or MSM.

          Comment


          • #6
            It helped my old mare. My farrier came to trim her after she'd been on it for awhile. I didn't tell him she was on anything different. He picked up her leg and said "You've found a new potion for her."

            Comment


            • #7
              HA helps so many other things than joints (like eyes, hooves, skin, etc) that it's doubtful the oral supplement is going to the body parts you think.
              www.destinationconsensusequus.com
              chaque pas est fait ensemble

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thank you for your input. She has been on the supplement for a little over a month now and I haven't noticed that much improvement but maybe a little. This is more than likely not from the supplement. I guess I'd see more evidence if she got worse when being taken off of it. I will stick with it for another month or two for now and go from there. It's not cheap so I don't want her to stay on it if it isn't helping at all.

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                • #9
                  One of the more recent research articles that discusses the benefits/harms of multiple OA treatments (in humans, but joints are generally joints).
                  They don't mention HA specifically (I've always known it to be injected intra-articularly, not given orally, and I can only find one research article where it was given orally <in humans, none in animals>), but mentioned some of the other more popular oral treatments (e.g. glucosamine). Pretty much say that it breaks down in the stomach acids, and some studies have shown positive effects in humans. But the article states that those studies showed a wide range of effects (some it benefitted, some it didn't do anything) and the studies may be biased.
                  How I see it, even if it doesn't break down to an unusable form in the stomach, do you know how many joints you have in your body? There is no way an oral supplement is specific enough to target only the joints that you are having issues with. I have a hard time believing that the amount of glucosamine in those supplements is enough to do anything to slow the progression of OA. Though there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that it works. So whether it's a huge placebo effect, or there is some effect on the pain pathways, I don't know if anyone has figured that out.

                  ETA: and as I understand, most of the horse supplements sold turn out to be nothing more than sugar pills. I don't believe they are regulated at all, which is why expensive supplements like Platinum Performance are so expensive; they subject to random testing of their product to ensure it contains what they say it contains. But I could be entirely mistaken about that...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For a couple of years, I have been giving Tess a squirt a day of the liquid Hyluan. She is 14 years old. I had base line digital xrays done on her hocks last Fall. There is very little joint damage. She has been an event horse since she was 7 years old.

                    When she injured her suspensory this Spring, the Vet took digital xrays of her left fetlock joint, to make certain that she did not sustain a bone chip, too. He told me that her joint looked like that of a two year old.

                    Obviously, this is one experience, not a scientific experiment. I believe that the liquid has a much better chance of getting where it is needed, than a powder or pellet. JMHO.
                    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      It seems to me that perhaps joint supplements may be more help in a preventative way instead of actually causing a horse to be sound. Does anyone else feel this way? I'm curious to put some of my young warmblood yearlings on it and see what they're like years down the road. I would never know if it was the supplement or not but it does tempt me to try it.

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                      • #12
                        I'm not sure what exactly they've done with HA specifically, but Grand Meadows is one of the few companies that I know has done studies (including radioactive labeling of ingredients making sure they are delivered) with their products, and they are great to talk to if you have any questions at all. They are based in my area and have some really great people there who I'm sure would work with you if you let them know your issues with your horses and what you want out of your supplements. Let me know and I can help put you in touch with the right person if you want... I can also give you a discount code if you ever want to order any more GM stuff online- and no, I don't work for them- or even currently use any of their products. lol, I just like the people and did like their Grand Premium Plus when I used it!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Joints may be joints, but herbivores are not omnivores are not carnivores, and the causes of arthritis in one species may not be even remotely the same as it is in another.

                          Extrapolation is easy, but not necessarily correct.

                          which is why expensive supplements like Platinum Performance are so expensive; they subject to random testing of their product to ensure it contains what they say it contains. But I could be entirely mistaken about that...
                          Many products guarantee their product contains what they say it does. PP costs a fortune because people are willing to PAY a fortune.
                          Click here before you buy.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The "dietary suppliment" industry is unregulated at either the State or Federal level. This industry spends several millions of dollars per year on lobbying to ensure that they remain "unregulated." This means that ANY scientific claim must be seen in the context of advertising, not "peer reviewed evidence."

                            Also the consumer must keep in mind the principle that "the plural of anacdote is not data."

                            One vet we use was involved in the testing of Cosequin at Auburn. He recommends the stuff based upon his personal observations, but cautions that the study was quite small and had a very limited focus. As long as use stays within its narrow boundaries it does what it says it will do. As of my last conversation with him (about a year ago) no other product, save Adequan, had as much science behind it. I don't know how much "water has gone over the dam" in the last year.

                            ALL "dietary suppliments" should be approached with caution. Those with university level studies behind them are likely worth the price. The rest are likely just expensive, colored water.

                            G.
                            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                              Joints may be joints, but herbivores are not omnivores are not carnivores, and the causes of arthritis in one species may not be even remotely the same as it is in another.
                              It is the same. The cause of OA among most mammals (at least the "common" ones, like dogs, horses, even rodents) are all similar, if not identical. Trauma (causing joint instability and abnormal loading), obesity (causing abnormal loading), age, and genetics are all major factors. The disease is, for research purposes, considered the same in most of these species (with the caveat of it's multifactorial and we don't know what exactly causes the disease in any species, otherwise we would've found a cure by now).
                              The pathogenesis of the disease differs slightly in certain species (e.g. the cartilage of rodents tends to break off in chunks <termed tidemark clefts> as opposed to the gradual fibrillation/clefting seen in other species like humans, dogs, and horses). But in general, it's the same. All result in chondrocyte cell death and sometimes cloning, cartilage degeneration, synovial lining thickening, subchondral bone sclerosis, and periarticular osteophyte development.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Jamie.S View Post
                                I'm not sure what exactly they've done with HA specifically, but Grand Meadows is one of the few companies that I know has done studies (including radioactive labeling of ingredients making sure they are delivered) with their products, and they are great to talk to if you have any questions at all.
                                If the research was funded by the company and not published in a peer-reviewed journal, I wouldn't think it's worth the pen that wrote it.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  An 85 year old human with arthritis of the hip may look the same under the microscope as a 2yo TB with early hock arthritis, but on a non-molecular level it is not the same disease. I'm more of a splitter than a lumper in this case, I guess, but my main point is that even the oral bioavailability of large-molecular weight molecules can vary gigantically between different species, so what may be readily absorbed by a dog may not be absorbed at all by a rabbit.
                                  Click here before you buy.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    An 85 year old human with arthritis of the hip may look the same under the microscope as a 2yo TB with early hock arthritis, but on a non-molecular level it is not the same disease. I'm more of a splitter than a lumper in this case, I guess, but my main point is that even the oral bioavailability of large-molecular weight molecules can vary gigantically between different species, so what may be readily absorbed by a dog may not be absorbed at all by a rabbit.
                                    I don't understand why you think the OA disease progression is different in humans vs. dogs vs. horses. What do you mean "non-molecular"? I stated changes associated with OA that are non-molecular, and are observed grossly (e.g. on MRI, radiographs, CT) that occur in all of those species (
                                    But in general, it's the same. All result in chondrocyte cell death and sometimes cloning, cartilage degeneration, synovial lining thickening, subchondral bone sclerosis, and periarticular osteophyte development.
                                    ) This disease process is also the same in all synovial joints. Carpus, tarsus, TMJ, femorotibial, etc.

                                    It's the same on the molecular side, too. Research has focused on MMPs, ROS/AGEs, DAMPs, using animal models of human disease. Indicating the disease is essentially the same among these species. Or else NIH and researchers, including myself, across the globe have been pouring funding into dead-end research.

                                    In general, OA is an extremely variable disease in all of these species in terms of presentation of symptoms (e.g. pain). Perhaps that is what you're referring to? But it's different within individuals of the same species, too, not just across species. My 27 year old horse's hocks are nearly fused, but he's not lame. I knew a 4 year old with the smallest osteophyte in her hock that caused her a 2/5 lameness.

                                    I agree that the GI tracts of these species are all different, but it's not like they're completely different. Most everything gets broken down into the basics. Vitamins, minerals, proteins.... it's all the same in its basic form no matter what stomach you're in. My point was that no matter what GI tract you have, however you break down these oral supplements, once broken down, they are not going to get from the GI tract to the single joint that needs them. If they even make it out of the GI, they're going to be deposited all over the body, in every tissue, in every joint. And whether human or horse, there are a lot of joints. And the goal of these oral supplements is to treat the joint tissues. Not the GI or any other tissue.

                                    That's why intra-articular injections are the "gold standard" in horses. Shoot HA directly into the affected joint, where it's going to do the most good.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      An 85 year old human with OA got there by a different path than did the young Thoroughbred, no? I'm not arguing with the problems of efficacy of oral joint supplements. I'm unconvinced they do anything. But it is a fact that different species absorb these products differently. There are even bacteria in the gut of humans that can degrade GAGs. Not sure if that's been described in other species. Bottom line: what applies to one species can only be BROADLY applied to another, with a large number of caveats.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                        An 85 year old human with OA got there by a different path than did the young Thoroughbred, no?
                                        then use a 4 year old human for your analogy if that better suits ...

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