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It's a Drug???

First, let me say that I appreciate the opportunity Miss Swigart's post has given me to state (perhaps more clearly this time) what APF is - AND IS NOT.  
APF is a food supplement.  APF is not a drug nor a nutraceutical and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Adaptogens have already been scrutinized by both the scientific and regulatory communities and classified as nutrients (sometimes called phyto-nutrients to indicate they are derived exclusively from plant sources).  All the herbs in APF are already on the GRAS list of the United States.  Other listed substances are wheat, barley and corn.  (GRAS stands for Generally Recognized As Safe.)  Opium, digitalis and valerian, while plant based, are NOT on this list. 
As I said in my initial post, I have found that in some horses with recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis, the addition of APF has been a useful management tool as part of a comprehensive program of diet and exercise.  Acute tying-up should be TREATED by a veterinarian and current methods of treatment may include the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as phenylbutazone (BUTE) or flunixin meglumine (BANAMINE), tranquilizers or muscle relaxants, I.V. fluids, and DMSO, if indicated.
The contention has been made IF a feed supplement such as APF impacts the horse's metabolism in such as way that it's health and wellbeing are improved, then that supplement must be a drug.  I would like to look at the common practice of feeding corn and corn oil to performance horses.  It is widely recognized that corn (maze) was found in the New World and that horses did not evolve with corn as a "natural" element in their diet.  However, corn and its processed (extracted) oil are commonly prescribed by veterinarians to improve the health and performance of endurance horses - and yes, help manage tying-up syndrome.  (Valberg, S.; Valentine, B.)  I doubt that anyone would define corn as a drug.  Because of its demonstrated effectiveness as a feed supplement in promoting the health AND performance of horses, the practice of feeding corn and corn oil is embraced by owners and trainers of many high performance horses.
A very similar case can also be made for the growing interest in feeding beet pulp to horses.  Again the health and performance is improved thru advances in nutritional SCIENCE.
Returning specifically to APF, the herbs Eleutherococcus senticosus, Schizandra chinensis, Rhodiola rosea, and Echinopanax elatus have demonstrated ability in laboratory and higher animals (including man) to increase the SAFETY and EFFICIENCY of the adaptive response to physical stress.  This includes the intended stress of athletic training and competition, as well as the inadvertent stresses of environmental factors such as heat, humidity and altitude.  We are currently conducting research at a major university to measure the effects of APF on horses subjected to 24 of road transport, i.e. transport stress.  A serious concern to competitive horse owners of all disciplines.
Regarding the question as to why horse owners should feed APF, the answer lies in the science surrounding these herbs' ability to help horses withstand the metabolic stresses encountered during training and competition.  
As to the matter of rules and regulations, last year I had the opportunity to explore these issues with members of the ASHA Drugs and Medications Committee.  After reviewing the research (SCIENCE) behind APF, the AHSA Drugs and Medications Committee found that APF SPECIFICALLY was permitted at those competitions governed by the AHSA.  This is entirely different from the suggestion that ASHA was simply not TESTING for APF or its ingredients and that APF was somehow omitted from the forbidden list.  In fact, you may call ASHA Drugs and Medications and they will tell you specifically that APF is allowed at competitions under their jurisdiction.  
The reasoning behind this decision followed this line:  Horse owners are going to train, ship and compete their horses - often 12 months out of every year - and therefore should make use of new nutritional information to protect the health and wellbeing of their performance horses.  My point is that the opinions of these learned individuals were based on understanding the science and the purpose for feeding APF.         
I have also discussed these same issues with members of the governing body of AERC, as well as several of the most experienced and knowledgeable AERC veterinarians.  Their understanding of the effectiveness of APF and its potential health benefits to the equine athlete were instrumental in my decision to become a Diamond Sponsor of AERC and market APF to its members.  I hope this information helps resolve misunderstandings of our product APF (Advanced Protection Formula).  I am looking forward to meeting as many members as I can at the upcoming convention in Reno and share my philosophy about horses, their care and training.
Michael Van Noy, DVM

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