Vitamin E for Better Health
Nonenzymatic antioxidants, such as vitamin E, are critically important to protect horses from tissue damage and disease, and they might enhance immunity during these processes. However, the form of vitamin E your horse obtains determines the
Nonenzymatic antioxidants, such as vitamin E, are critically important to protect horses from tissue damage and disease, and they might enhance immunity during these processes. However, the form of vitamin E your horse obtains determines the benefit he will receive, and whether or not you are spending your money wisely. The best utilized source of vitamin E is the natural form, and not the synthetic form found in many equine supplements.
“The critical phases of reproduction in mares and stallions, growth of foals, and exercise of equine athletes are all especially important,” said Ed Kane, PhD, senior nutritionist for Stuart Products, at the 2004 Kentucky Equine Nutrition Conference for Feed Manufacturers, held Oct. 18-19 in Lexington, Ky. “Thus, for the horse, vitamin E appears to be the most important dietary fat-soluble nonenzymatic antioxidant to assist in combating free radical (unstable atom that can cause irreparable damage to cells and cell membranes) production and propagation.”
“The need to supplement horses with vitamin E is primarily dependent on whether they graze lush pastures adequate in vitamin E, or are kept in confinement or graze on poor winter pasture and fed diets low in vitamin E,” said Kane. The minimum vitamin E requirements can be found in the NRC Nutrient Requirement of Horses, and may be based on the horse consuming the natural form of vitamin E that comes from forages and feedstuffs.
Vitamin E deficiencies are characterized by skeletal and cardiac muscle deterioration, tongue muscle deterioration (inhibiting a foal from nursing), and an impaired immune system. Additionally, equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy , a form of wobbler syndrome, has been seen in horses with low vitamin E levels in their blood, as well as an increased incidence in horses
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