I have been asked so many times in the last few months about Green Banana Starch for horses that I think it is time for a post! This stuff is a BAD idea for horses, and here is why!
Green Banana Starch is sold as a ‘prebiotic’ and is a source of Resistant Starch. Resistant starch is simply starch that is not digested in the small intestine. Which means… it is starch that ends up in the hindgut!
Starch in the hindgut feeds bacteria, so technically yes, it is a ‘prebiotic’. BUT the issue is it feeds the WRONG BACTERIA.
This stuff is going to feed the starch and sugar fermenting bacteria. These bacteria are the ones that produce lactic acid, too much VFA (volatile fatty acids), destroy vitamin B1 and create an environment that kills off the good, fibre fermenting bacteria. They reduce feed use efficiency and cause changes in behaviour. None of this is a good thing!
Companies selling green banana starch claim they have research but I am finding it awfully hard to find anything other than information on their websites showing actual benefits in horses.
What I do have is my entire PhD that was solely focused on keeping starch OUT of the hindgut because we know how damaging it is when it gets in there. There is so much research showing the damage starch will cause in the hindgut that I can’t see any benefit to Green Banana Starch or any ingredient for that matter that will deliver starch to the hindgut. This is why we spend so much time telling you to feed cooked grains! To keep starch out of the hindgut!!
So please (please!) don’t feed an ingredient that is going to deliberately deliver starch to your horse’s hindgut. Instead focus on feeding as much variety in high fibre ingredients as you can. This is what is going to really maximise your horse’s hindgut health.
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