- Best Trait = Relatively low cost when purchased by the gallon
- Worst Trait = Guarantee levels for chondroitin and MSM
Consider this product if…
- Supplementing glucosamine for joint care is important to you but not so much chondroitin or MSM
- You want to provide a low cost joint supplement this is readily available at your local feed store
- You want to provide joint supplementation in a pellet form (not recommended)
Why Review this Product?
Joint supplements are the most ubiquitous horse supplements available on the market today. According to survey results published in 2017, over one third of all equine supplement sales are for joint protective products (Swirsley et al., 2017). Sifting through the plethora of products available is worse than finding a needle in a haystack, and that doesn’t even start to consider the confounding research findings! The list of ingredients and combinations of ingredients is endless, so for this review, I’m going to narrow my search down to joint supplements that meet the following criteria…
- Ingredients have been researched in horses and show positive results.
- It’s a company that I’ve heard of and has been around for a while.
- Contains at least 5,000 mg of glucosamine (any form)
- Contains chondroitin sulfate
- Contains methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM)
The American Association of Equine Practitioners has a WONDERFUl website that I’d like to LINK HERE titled “Joint Health Supplements: Information and How to Read a Product Label“. The AAEP suggests a very similar methodology to Rate My Horse Supplement when reviewing joint supplements, so I will refrain from duplicating that information here.
Company Information & Communication
My impression from Farnam’s response to my standard list of questions is that Next Level Joint supplement is one in hundreds of products that they manufacture and distribute, so the representative did not want to spend much time addressing my questions. The answers were dismissive and nondescript. For example, when asked about advantages or disadvantages of pellet versus liquid, I was told that it was preference only. I was not offered peer reviewed evidence to support the product’s ingredients or guaranteed analysis. Nor could they bother to suggest feeding rates other than what was on the label (which is very little).
The company states that all Farnam supplements are manufactured at locations that follow AAFCO and National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) guidelines. Though not impressive, that is the standard.
Regardless of size, activity level, or life stage, the product label for Next Level joint is recommending 1 ounce as a maintenance scoop (2 per day for loading). That’s it…that’s the Feeding Directions for “Horses”….[sigh].
On Course Equine Nutrition’s FeedFLIP rating system was named to describe my technique of reading feed labels- I start at the bottom. The bottom of most feed and supplement labels describes the company and any caution statements. Then, you move up to the feeding directions. I believe strongly that the most valuable part of any feed or supplement is the feeding directions. Not only can you ascertain the true purpose of the product, but you can also tell how well the ingredients are understood. You can assume how best to see the results that you want. You can calculate daily cost. This is why the feeding directions rating is very important.
The active ingredients in the product include glucosamine sulfate (shellfish), methylsufonylmethane, ascorbic acid, chondroitin sulfate (poultry) and perna mussle. Glucosamine sulfate may have slightly lower bioavailability compared to glucosamine hydrochloride, but I wouldn’t stress about that too much. The inactive ingredients list is longer than the active ingredients list and includes flavoring, coloring, and preservatives.
The daily dose of glucosamine supplied by Next Level is 5,000 mg per day which is my minimum daily recommendation for joint supplementation. However, the chondroitin and MSM guarantees are much, much lower compared to other joint supplement that I have recently reviewed. Next Level by Farnam guarantees 14.5 mg per serving of chondroitin and 1,750 mg of MSM while all the others were over 1,000 mg per serving of chondroitin and 5,000 mg of MSM.
I shopped around trying to find the best deal to purchase Next Level and found a gallon jug would cost me about $146-$149 with shipping to Montana. With 128 servings in a gallon, that brings the daily serving cost to $1.14. This is definitely the way to go as the 32 ounce jug would cost you $1.50 per serving. At $1.14 per ounce, you’ll spend $0.23 per 1,000 mg of glucosamine. Compared to Cosequin® Optimized with MSM (4 star rating), you will spend more per 1,000 mg of glucosamine for Next Level Joint.
Sadly, after taking a deeper look at Farnam’s Next Level joint product, I’m not likely to recommend this product in the future. The inclusion rates for glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM do not compare well to other similar supplements on the market for similar cost. I was also not impressed with the response from Farnam’s representative which lowers my confidence in the product.