Molecules to show the nutritional science behind GWF Nutrition products

The articles listed here are designed to help you understand more about the nutritional elements and composition of our products. They have either been written by our own nutritionist team or taken from existing works carried out by suitably qualified individuals or organisations.  

The aim of the Knowledge Base is to provide a level of information that satisfies customers requiring an in-depth explanation of the nutritional elements and compositions of all our feedingstuffs.

Do you have a question you would like answered?

The list of articles will be added to on a regular basis, but if you have a technical or complex question relating to any area of feed or animal nutrition, please contact us.

Article List

Leaky Gut - May 2020

Leaky gut, known as increased intestinal permeability, is regarded as a separate phenomenon to “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. Although this is perceived as being a difference in definition – in that there is no scientifically recognised syndrome – the condition of IIP can have ramifications. Read more...

Iron: its Nutritional Availability and Impact on Horses - May 2020

Iron has an essential role in the metabolism of all life. It has the ability to form complex chelates (groupings of organic molecules like the heme molecule in blood) across all life forms and in many cases these complexes are ways of locking away its activity. The potential toxicity from iron is a worry to people as iron, changing its form from ferric to ferrous within the body can release free radicals that have a devastating effect on tissue. Read more...

The Role of Nutrition in Immunity - April 2020

Immunity is a complex system, inter-related with the hormonal physiology of the body, metabolic systems and individual organ function, whose function is to protect the body against any invasion of “alien” components. In some instances, the body mis-recognises food, airborne or injected (bite, sting) protein – usually quaternary structure – as a pathogen, giving rise to allergy. Intolerance is a different issue, usually the deficiency of a digestive enzyme, leading to gut dysfunction; whilst the response of the body’s defence mechanism may show some similarities it is a separate response. Read more...

Curcumin & Piperine - Jan 2020

Over recent years there has been a rise in the popularity of turmeric, with a wide range of claimed benefits. Many of these benefits are based on observed results and so are qualitative rather than quantified; many are supported by scientific research, but mostly in the realm of human health. It is probable that some effects are transferrable across species but, as most work has been carried out on cancer and liver disease, it is necessary to be selective in substantiating the effects. Read more...

Joint Supplements: Potential for Harm - Jan 2020

Joint supplements can be extremely variable in their make-up. They can be a combination of NSAID, glycosaminoglycans, essential oils, minerals and antioxidants. Although all the components are safe when fed at recommended levels, there is evidence that some components, or combinations, may cause physiological damage when fed at elevated levels. Although not normally of concern, there can be situations when harm can occur. Read more...

Allergy & The Microbiome - July 2019

Allergies are a range of conditions that can affect the skin, lungs and gut. They are distinguished by being immune-mediated reactions following food intake. This is different from food intolerance that is non-immune mediated. Food allergens are (glyco-)proteins with a molecular weight from 10–70 kDa and are resistant to treatment with heat, acid, and proteases (Verlinden et al, 2006). They exert their effect by impairing the mucosal barrier and reducing oral tolerance, and are mediated through types I, III & IV hypersensitivities. Read more...

PSSM and Muscle Maintenance - June 2019

Equine exertional rhabdomyolysis syndrome (ERS) commonly affects the athletic breeds of horses. The intermittent syndrome is characterised by stiffness, muscle cramping and pain and is accompanied by mild to markedly elevated plasma activities of the muscle-derived enzymes, creatine kinase (CK) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). Although specific causes have been identified there is one sub-condition that appears to be due to malfunction of glycogen storage and release. This is polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM). Read more...

The Impact of Wheat By-Products on Horses - July 2018

There is a marketing trend that declares a ration that is cereal grain free/whole soya free/Lucerne free, or free from another material that some people may perceive as a problem in equine nutrition. In some cases, a close inspection shows that a by-product of those materials is present. It is not intended to mislead, feeding soya hulls removes the allergenic globular protein of the seed and so can be regarded as a separate product, and cereal bran is assumed to be fibre, and so beneficial.

But this may not be the whole case; certainly, there are many different carbohydrates that make up plant fibre, and they can impact heavily on the microbial population and the ability of individual species to ferment it, and so influence the ratios of the volatile fatty acids (VFA) that make up the “slow release energy” portion of the diet. Another factor is, depending on the process to separate the bran from the grain, there can be quite a large component of the grain in the bran. Read more...

Albumin - The Importance of quality protein in animal feed - July 2017

The albumins are a family of globular proteins which include serum albumin, ovalbumin, lactalbumin (storage proteins of egg and milk) and seed proteins, of which hemp is a particularly rich source. Albumin is the main circulating protein in the body; it accounts for ~ 50% of plasma protein. It is a relatively small molecule being a single chain of 585 amino acids. It contains 35 cysteine molecules, 34 of which pair off with disulphide bonds which stabilise the shape into a globular, heart-shaped conformation. Read more...

Vitamin D in animal health - June 2017

O’Brien and Jackson (2012) reviewed 25(OH)D and its mechanism in immunity, both in innate and adaptive immunity. Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, is hydroxylated in the liver to Calcidiol – 25(OH)D, and it is this form that is bound with D Binding Protein (DBP). The activated DBP can bind to Vitamin D Receptors (VDR), which are present in the nuclei and plasma of all cells. Binding to the genome – DNA material – is the pathway of calcium homeostasis and cytokine production, whilst intracellular sites involve immunomodulatory and other physiological functions, such as hypertension and diabetes. It is thought that this partition of routes explains the discrepancy of recommendations between deficiency and sufficiency, and actual dietary levels of cholecalciferol to impact on immunity are difficult to assess. Read more...

Glucosamine and Chondroitin: What is it and what does it do? - June 2017

There are many joint supplements on the market, for both humans and companion animals. Products designed for helping maintain the joints are probably the single most popular supplement although they are used for a variety of reasons; from easing stiffness up to “treating” osteoarthritis. Although there are many different ingredients – green lipped mussel, hyaluronan, avocado soya unsaponified, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, minerals, herbal extracts etc. – most joint supplements are built around glucosamine and chondroitin. So, what are they? And why do they seem to be a positive combination? Read more...

Hempseed Meal - Mar 2017

Earlier articles have concentrated on the role of hemp oil, both as a component of the Oatinol Delivery System and its unique fatty acid profile supplying a beneficial ω-6:ω-3 ratio as well as significant quantities of stearidonic acid (C18:4 ω-3 - SDA) and ϒ-linolenic acid. These characteristics have a significant impact in anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory processes, and possibly diverts us away from many other positive benefits of using hempseed meal as a feed ingredient. Read more...

The Benefits of Hemp Oil vs Linseed Oil - Feb 2017

There has been much written about the benefits of Omega fatty acids, in particular ω-3 and ω-6. These have been labelled anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory as well as heart healthy; they also have roles in bone metabolism and other aspects of metabolism, including immune and allergenic responses. There is an impression that ω-3 is the main essential fatty acid, followed by ω-6 and then the lesser promoted ω-7 (ω-9 is synthesised from saturated fat in the body and so is not an essential dietary ingredient). Logic then dictates that an oil supplying the most ω-3 is preferable in animal nutrition. Read more...

Vitamin D and Alpacas. Injections, Paste or Other? - Oct 2016

Rickets has been seen as being a problem, mainly in cria, but also in older animals. It has been put down to the fact that during winter, vitamin D generation is reduced in temperate parts of the world because of lower intensity light and shorter days than would be experienced in native countries. The solution has been to give susceptible animals vitamin D, or multivitamin, injections periodically throughout the winter months. Some people have seen signs of abscesses from repeated injections and prefer fortnightly pastes, but the concept of intermittent treatment has been well accepted. Is this necessary? Wouldn’t daily intake, as part of the normal diet, be as effective and more easily controlled? Read more...

The Impact of Starch and Sugar in Equine Diets - Sept 2016

Not so long ago, feeding starch was seen to be perfectly acceptable, especially in the form of oats. Over recent years the “expert” opinion is that starch and sugar is not to be fed and fibre is the way to go. As with all biological systems, the truth is somewhere in between. What makes it all the more confusing is the relationship between starch, sugars and fibre and the technical terms for them which all seem similar... Read more...

The Role of Nutricines in Health and Total Nutrition - Aug 2016

Feed is more than a supply of nutrients. It is also inextricably linked to disease avoidance and health maintenance. Feed is an enormous collection of different molecules which can be classified into two major groups; nutrients and nutricines. Nutrients are the generally recognised components of feed such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Nutricines are components of feeds that exert an influence upon health and nutrition, yet are not direct nutrients. Important nutricines are antioxidants, antimicrobial compounds, non-digestible oligosaccharides, enzymes, emulsifiers, flavours and colours. Read more...

The Oatinol Delivery System - Aug 2016

The gastro-intestinal tract is an organ whose function is to process food into biochemical compounds that can be metabolized to produce energy, growth and support all life processes. It uses various methods, from mechanical (chewing) to chemical (enzymatic breakdown) to symbiotic (bacterial fermentation) in order to breakdown food into less complicated nutrients that are then able to be absorbed across the gut wall and taken into the body to be metabolised. Read more...

Beta-Glucans. What do they do? - July 2016

Biochemically the name of a product tends to describe it. A product ending in ‘ans’ means it consists of a limited number of the same sugar molecule (in this case glucose) in some form of chain which may or may not be soluble. Sugar molecules can have isomers – that is, versions where the arrangement of molecules is slightly different. For glucans the main isomers are alpha (dextrose, glycogen, starch), or beta (cellulose, laminarin, cereal or yeast β-glucans). Read more...