Biotin: Does it Work?

Here’s what we know about the efficacy of this popular hoof supplement.
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Here’s what we know about the efficacy of this popular hoof supplement.

Conditions such as chronic laminitis, cracked hooves, or dry, brittle feet incapable of holding shoes are a common and time-consuming problem for owners, trainers, and veterinarians. Biotin is a popular nutritional supplement administered to horses to promote and maintain the growth of healthy hooves and coats. But does it work?

“In the equine world, biotin is revisited every few years,” explains Ray Geor, BVSc, PhD, an equine nutritionist, the Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of Agriculture, and director of research at the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “It is rather frustrating because no new information is available to help owners decide whether or not they should be supplementing with biotin.”

In this article The Horse presents an in-depth look at the current status of biotin supplementation in horses.

Biotin Basics

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that plays an important role as an enzymatic cofactor in metabolism, meaning it is an inorganic complement to the enzyme reaction involved in metabolism. Horses, humans, and other mammals are incapable of synthesizing biotin. This vitamin must be obtained either through the diet or via the absorption of biotin that is synthesized by intestinal bacteria

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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