Feeding the Immune System: Nutrient Support for Horses

The immune system is one of the most complex systems in the horse, consisting of an elaborate set of cells and cell mediators that respond to external factors such as stress, exercise, stage of life, and challenges from pathogens. Both humans and horses must consume nutrients to support all body systems, including the immune system. But how do we know which nutrients support the immune system?
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Strategic use of nutrients can improve your horse’s immune system.

The immune system–the body's defense against disease–is one of the most complex systems in the horse, consisting of an elaborate set of cells and cell mediators that respond to external factors such as stress, exercise, stage of life, and challenges from pathogens. Both humans and horses must consume nutrients to support all body systems, including the immune system. But how do we know which nutrients support the immune system, and how do they work?

Mechanisms of Immunity and Nutrition

Nutrition and immunity interact in a variety of ways, many of which researchers are just beginning to understand. In a book titled Scientific Advances in Animal Nutrition, Kirk C. Klasing, PhD, summarizes the mechanisms of nutrition and immunity

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Nancy Zacks holds an M.S. in Science Journalism from the Boston University College of Communication. She grew up in suburban Philadelphia where she learned to ride over fields and fences in nearby Malvern, Pa. When not writing, she enjoys riding at an eventing barn, drawing and painting horses, volunteering at a therapeutic riding program, and walking with Lilly, her black Labrador Retriever.

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