- Best Trait = 1% of their proceeds go to charity
- Worst Trait = The references listed on their website have little to no connection to their product.
Consider this product if…
- ….can’t think of anything…
- …still can’t think of anything…
- Well…if you’re actually looking for a joint supplement with high levels of hyaluronic acid. I know…it doesn’t make sense.
Why review this product?
Three things intrigued me about this supplement as it appeared in my Facebook feed. First was its attempt to include peer-reviewed studies in its marketing- not many companies even attempt that- but I was curious if the studies referenced truly supported the use of oral hyaluronic and beta-glucan for gut health. They state that part of their core beliefs is “increasing public awareness through education, sound scientific research and studies, peer-reviews…”. Secondly, the relationship between its ingredients and product claims were unique. I had not previously seen hyaluronic acid + beta glucan used as an ulcer preventative. Finally, it’s incredibly long list of benefit claims raised my suspicions. According to their website, benefits from feeding Gut X supplement include a) morphological changes (Not sure what that means), b) behavioral changes, c) weight gain, d) reduction of colic, e) prevents gastric ulcers, f) supports good gut health, and g) boosts immune response. Wow, could this be the miracle supplement we’ve all been looking for, or just good, fluffy marketing? Having the super power to actually find and read these studies, I decided to look further into Gut X. Let’s deep dive shall we?
The Actual Review in 5 Parts
Company Information & Communication
Let’s start with the bottom of the feed tag. Caution statements warn against use before consulting your veterinarian, using on pregnant animals, and overdosing. I do appreciate their 30 day guarantee and 100% satisfaction guarantee policy.
However, here are the studies that their marketing referenced and what they actually say.
- Slovis, N. 2016. This paper, found in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science is very poorly written as the title and abstract make clear that the researchers’ intent was to prove that this combination of hyaluronic acid and beta-glucan worked. In serious scientific inquiry, researchers are attempting to disprove a hypothesis. Papers written like this one are often funded by companies with something to gain from a particular outcome. Sure enough, the Conflict of Interest statement says “the author discloses that he has an affiliation with a related industry and may receive indirect financial gain via product promotion and sales associated with publication of this article”.
- Skykes, BW. 2015. If this is the study referenced “Pharmacokinetics of intravenous, plain oral and enteric‐coated oral omeprazole in the horse” it appears to compare bioavailability and half lives of omeprazole and is unrelated to any ingredient in GutX. It’s unclear if 100X Equine is suggesting that horse owners should disregard omeprazole and use Gut X supplement instead?
- Neuenshwander, H.M. 2019. This study, found in the Journal of Veterinary Science, is about intra-articular injections and not oral administration. Not sure how it supports their claims.
- Pierce, S.W. 2004. This article appears to adequately support claims for hyaluronate gel use to decrease joint swelling. They gave 12 horses 100 mg for 59 days. GutX supplement offers 200 mg hyaluronic acid per ounce.
- Nov 2019. Vet Science.– Need more information to reference an article than just a date.
In summary, just because a company sites research journals does not mean that the results support the marketing claims of the product. This is a great example of that.
When I reached out to 100X Equine requesting more (but unspecific) information, I received a swift reply. I then emailed my questions concerning 1) discrepancies between references and claims, 2) the credentials of the supplement creator, and 3) third party regulation of the manufacturer for safety and quality consistency. Over the course of a couple weeks, I received some very lengthy email replies that left me reeling for days. It finally dawned on my why I was having such a hard time digesting the responses to my questions- the owner of 100X Equine and I have very different interpretations of the peer-reviewed articles being volleyed between us. Though we both call ourselves equine nutritionists, our interpretations of the available research lead us to different conclusions; mine being that the cost to benefit ratio of her supplement was not substantiated by research.
The reviews on this supplement are incredible- the review app shows 4.9 stars out of 45 reviews! I’d love to poll these horse owners now to see if they are still purchasing this supplement, but that’s not feasible now is it.
I’m going to use the “Performance Dose” recommendation in my calculations, because I just don’t see non-performance horse owners using this supplement. It’s recommending 2 pumps (2 ounce) per day which is 400 mg of hyaluronic acid and 120 mg of beta-glucan. *Note they recommend doubling the dose for severe gastric issues or during stressful times.
Considering that several studies showing marked, significant reduction of joint inflammation in racing Thoroughbreds used 100 mg per day supplementation. Even though those studies were measuring lameness and not gastric ulcers, it appears that 400 mg of HA is quite a lot. In fact, when we compare GutX100’s 400 mg of HA to Lubrisyn™ HA’s 75 mg/0.5 oz dose (one of the more common oral liquid HA supplements), the amount of HA in GutX seems extreme. I could not find another HA supplement over 200 mg of HA per dose.
The active ingredients list includes hyaluronic acid and beta glucan. The BIG question to answer about this supplement is whether or not these ingredients have actually been shown to do all the things that they claim them to do in their marketing. Evidence to support the oral supplementation of beta-glucan for gut health is mixed. *See the SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program review.
The rest of it is water, vegetable glycerine, methylcellulose, and a couple preservatives.
As stated above, a recommended 2 pump (2 ounce) serving is 400 mg of hyaluronic acid and 120 mg of beta-glucan. When asked about product safety and regulation the 100X Equine representative sent the following response. “Every batch of raw material is tested in an FDA (cGMP certified) registered facility. We use an independent laboratory to perform a multitude of tests that include: ICP-MS heavy metal test (Hg, As, Pb, Cd)FTIR purity test, UV-Vis potency test, Titration potency test, Microbiology contamination test, Loss on drying, pH, density and particle size for the HA and Beta Glucan.” It’s unclear at this time if the product is tested after mixing, but will update this article if/when that information becomes available.
I’ll start with what they claim is their most popular offering of 2 gallons at $179 (special limited time offer of 63% off). This product is normally $227 (free shipping) for one gallon, so that appears to be the most you would pay. If one gallon is 128 ounces and the serving size is 2 ounces, then the discount would offer this product at $0.70 per day and the regular (non-sale) price would offer this product at $1.77 per day or $646 per year. I would save my money for omeprazole and/or Purina Outlast.
Back to Basics Alternatives
Overall, Gut X by 100X Equine, LLC appears well intentioned, but lacks support for its ingredients as gastric ulcer preventatives or treatments. The more that I dug into their references, the more holes I found in their claims as a gut health product. The creator’s insistence that omeprazole is harmful to horses and that their product is the answer strikes me as misguided and could result in actual horse suffering. *See a recent study by Cerri et al. (2020) that shows little to no change in hind gut microbiome for horses on omeprazole. I would not recommend this product for any horse suffering from gastric ulcers or as a preventative for gastric ulcers. I would recommend going with what we know works and consulting your veterinarian.
Cerri, S., B. Taminiau, A. Hache-Carré de Lusancay, L. Lecoq, H. Amory, G. Daube, and C. Cesarini. 2020. Effect of oral administration of omeprazole on the microbiota of the gastric glandular mucosa and feces of healthy horses. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 34(6):2727-2737.