Stabilized Rice Bran for Energy, Antioxidant Protection, and MoreBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 6, 2016
Stabilized rice bran is a natural, palatable source of high-quality fat. Although horse owners seem to be most interested in stabilized rice bran for its high fat content, concentrated source of energy, and other nutrients, researchers are investigating other potential health benefits. The antioxidant component, for example, is of particular interest because antioxidants help protect cells and tissues from damage following exercise and injury.
Studies have shown that the fiber in rice bran is a ”super fiber” like beet pulp and soy hulls, and the digestibility of the neutral detergent fiber matches that of beet pulp. This means the energy from rice bran comes from fiber as well as from the fat.
Key points in selecting a rice bran product include:
- Be certain to purchase stabilized rice bran. Unstabilized rice bran is available and, although it may look fine, the fat in it will go rancid quickly and can adversely affect health if consumed on a regular basis. It is also important to not confuse stabilized rice bran with other rice based products available for equine consumption, such as those containing high- starch broken rice.
- Choose a rice bran product, either a meal or pellet, that your horse eats readily. Stabilized rice bran is generally palatable. As with all supplements, start feeding stabilized rice bran slowly, gradually adding more every few days until the recommended amount is being fed.
- Ensure the rice bran is fortified with calcium. Unstabilized rice bran is naturally high in phosphorus and low in calcium. Calcium is added during stabilization to quality products to correct this imbalance.
- Products based on rice bran oil mixed with other carriers will perform differently than stabilized rice bran. The high digestibility of the fiber in rice bran gives stabilized rice bran products an even higher energy content.
Consider consulting an equine nutritionist prior to making any dietary change, and discuss all components of the diet, including supplements, to ensure you are not oversupplementing one or more nutrients.