Vitamin C: Does it Help Horses With Inflammation?
A: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays a role in helping prevent damage to body tissues under threat from free radicals, which are generated as the immune system works to protect the body from bacteria, viruses, and other organisms. Some clinical signs of inflammation and infection might be due to free radicals. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in helping fight off infection. In an ideal situation, antioxidants such as vitamin C neutralize free radicals before damage to sensitive tissues occurs.
Vitamin C levels occurring in typical equine feed stuffs aren’t readily available; but many scientists believe that the levels are fairly low, with a horse’s most abundant source coming from fresh pasture. However, like many other species, horses synthesize their own vitamin C from glucose in the liver, making about 72 grams each day.
Classic vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy, which veterinarians have never documented in horses. Vitamin C status is assessed by measuring ascorbic acid levels in the blood, and several studies have shown lowered blood ascorbic acid levels in horses suffering from conditions such as poor wound healing, strangles, recurrent airway obstruction, poor performance, and acute rhinopneumonia
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