Product Review: Alimend Gastric Health Supplement for Horses

Alimend, a gastric health supplement made by Vitalize, has helped ease an off-track Thoroughbred gelding’s gastric discomfort and keep it at bay over the past 15 months.
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It Happened Again (“Happy”) and Stephanie competing in First Level at the 2023 Thoroughbred Incentive Program Championships, in Lexington, Kentucky. Happy had been on the Alimend gastric health supplement for roughly 10 months at the time of this show. | Photo: Courtesy Kacy Brown/ Retired Racehorse Project

As dedicated horse owners, we can all agree our horses’ gastric health is key to their comfort and performance, and we’ll go to great lengths to ensure it. In late 2022, my then-16-year-old off-track Thoroughbred, Happy, showed signs of gut discomfort. This wasn’t a new problem for us—we had weathered some ups and downs with his GI health after a major hindgut bacterial imbalance about five years ago—but he had not experienced issues in years.

Signs of Gastric Issues in My Horse

Happy’s signs of hindgut microbiome imbalance are specific, and I know them well. While he’s typically very laid-back and doesn’t spook, he starts spooking at apparent goblins in the arena and on the barn aisle floor. And though he’s usually a happy, friendly guy, he begins to get irritable, especially at the stall door. Four years ago, after multiple treatment approaches, having his eyes checked by a specialist and confirming on endoscopy that gastric ulcers weren’t the problem, I switched Happy to a forage-focused diet and a GMO-free ration balancer. He was back to himself within weeks.

After those improvements in 2020, Happy had been largely gastric-issue-free until this incident in late 2022. During a December veterinary appointment where we were assessing his end-of season soundness (we ride and show dressage, trail ride, and cross-train with trot sets and gallops over terrain), I mentioned he’d been acting a little spooky and agitated. My veterinarian agreed it was the telltale sign of his former gut issues, reviewed his diet, and recommended I start him on Alimend.

Exploring Alimend for Horse’s Gastric Health

Vitalize markets Alimend to support gastric health and GI tissue, in addition to noting it “may relieve occasional gastric issues commonly associated with training, traveling, and performance.” The product contains beta-glucans to support the gut and immune system, a prebiotic called AO-Biotics Amaferm to enhance digestibility, and MHB3, a patented high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid (HA) to support GI tissue integrity.

My veterinarian also noticed Happy was experiencing some very minor reduced neck mobility to one side and mentioned the HA—a product that also has some joint benefits—in Alimend might pitch in to help with that, too.

I can be a little skeptical about supplements but take what my veterinarian says as gospel; she’s an incredible diagnostician and very intuitive about my horse’s needs. I bought a gallon of Alimend and proceeded with a twice-a-day regimen of 2 ounces (the amount labeled for times of high stress or exertion) for several weeks—before reducing it to 1 ounce twice a day.

Happy can be as leery of new supplements as he is of the barn-floor goblins he sees during hindgut upset, but he ate it up without incident. The product is easy to pump out of the gallon container and sticks quite nicely to the balancer pellets (whereas powders can sift out and accumulate at the bottom of his feed bucket).

Our farm manager/trainer and I noticed Happy was back to himself within a few short weeks—no more spooks, and he put his grouchy pants away. It also seemed like his neck was moving more freely.

As I see it, we’re giving him the tools he needs to be able to digest the high-quality nutrients we’re offering him in his diet, and to do so while in a training regimen.

Other Benefits I’ve Seen With Alimend in Horses

I’ve kept Happy on the Alimend since December 2022 because my veterinarian and I really like how he’s doing on it. We’ve only had one short ulcery spell in the intervening time, likely brought on by Central Kentucky’s wild temperature swings and Happy’s eagerness to get on every horse trailer that leaves the farm (he starts stressing every time he sees a trailer in motion—I used to think it was because he didn’t want to leave his sweet, predictable routine, but then a few weeks ago he nearly pulled me onto the trailer with him, he was so excited to go adventuring off the farm). We knocked down that gastric episode with the help of omeprazole, and he bounced back quickly, all the while staying the course with Alimend.

I’ve seen other benefits, too. I stopped using oils last spring because I was looking for ways to trim back our supplement load and spend; at that point Happy was on an alfalfa-grass mix, pasture, the GMO-free balancer, MSM, glucosamine, rice bran oil, fish oil, and the Alimend. Despite my cutting the oils, his coat health was stunning last spring, summer, and fall, which is testament to things working well on the inside with the Alimend. He even had a sheen to his winter coat on the days he didn’t grind mud into it!

I’ve noticed others at my barn have been using Alimend as part of their horse’s dietary supplements, as well.

A happy gut makes a happy horse, and, in our case, he looks like one, too. Just yesterday, while out on a hack with a friend, I mentioned Happy had just celebrated his 18th birthday, and she responded, mouth agape: “No, way! I thought he was 8 or 9.” We’ll continue with the Alimend to keep availing ourselves of the benefits.

Editor’s Disclosure: I contacted Vitalize about writing this product review after purchasing three or four bottles—they kindly sent me my fifth.

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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