Trace Mineral Basics: Manganese

In some areas, water sources can contain substantial amounts of Mn, which can affect dietary needs.

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Manganese (Mn) plays a vital role in metabolizing carbohydrates and fats, as well as in the synthesizing chondroitin sulfate, essential for cartilage formation. It is part of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant which helps mitigate damage caused by free radicals.

Requirements and Sources

The National Research Council’s Nutrient Requirements of Horses (NRC 2007) indicates that a mature 1,100-pound (500-kilogram) horse requires a minimum of 400-500 milligrams of Mn per day. Forage and unrefined grains are the main natural sources of Mn for horses and other livestock; the NRC estimates that most forages contain a range of 40-140 milligrams Mn per kilogram of dry matter, which, even on the low end, should be sufficient for most horses. Grains, such as oats and barley, typically contain less Mn than forages.

In some areas, water sources can contain substantial amounts of Mn, which can affect dietary need. But, the only way to know what minerals are in your horse’s water is to have samples analyzed

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Written by:

Nettie Liburt, MS, PhD, PAS, is an equine nutritionist based on Long Island, New York. She is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she studied equine exercise physiology and nutrition. Liburt is a member of the Equine Science Society.

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