Buffering Properties of Alfalfa – the Proof

Alfalfa can help reduce stomach ulcers and improves recovery

An independent study has backed up Dengie's own research into the buffering capacity of alfalfa and its positive effect on the horse's digestive system, particularly with regard to stomach ulcers.

The study undertaken by Texas A&M University took 24 Quarter Horse yearlings and fed one group grass hay and the other alfalfa. Both groups were exercised during the trial. The study showed that horses fed alfalfa rather than grass hay had fewer ulcers even when the horses were turned out to grass.

Alfalfa acts as a buffer that regulates acidity in the horse’s stomach

It is clear that alfalfa does not reduce the production of acid in the horse's stomach, as some treatments for ulcers do, but acts as a "buffer" that regulates the level of acidity in the digestive tract. This suggests that feeding alfalfa alongside cereals will help to regulate acidity in the digestive system, thereby maintaining a healthy gut.

Including alfalfa in your horse’s ration can help manage stomach ulcers

The most surprising finding of this study – one that could change the way horses with ulcers are managed in the future – was that horses turned out to grass and not exercised had higher levels of ulcers when alfalfa was removed from the ration. These results suggest that simply turning horses with ulcers out to grass to recover, as is commonly done, is not as effective as including alfalfa in the ration.

If you would like more information on the benefits of alfalfa or specific advice on how to feed your horse or pony, please telephone the Dengie Feedline on 0845 345 5115.

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