AminoTrace+ is designed to provide the ultimate nutrition for improved hoof quality, absorption of nutrients and improved digestion – all in a convenient pelleted format. When a custom formula is not possible or practical, AminoTrace+ is an excellent choice to balance your IR/Cushing’s/PPID equine companions diet. Not just for metabolic horses, AminoTrace+ is an excellent choice to fortify any horse’s diet.
- Metabolic Health
- Mineral Balance
- Tail, Mane and Hair Growth
- Insulin Sensitivity
- PPID/Cushing’s Horses
- Hoof Growth and Structure
- Antioxidant Defense
- Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
- Hindgut Health
Mad Barn’s AminoTrace+ is a comprehensive mineral and vitamin supplement designed to provide the ultimate nutrition for improved metabolic health, hoof quality and nutrient absorption.
AminoTrace+ was formulated specifically to ECIR group specifications to support equine companions with Insulin Resistance (IR), Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and/or Cushing’s Disease/Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID).
Instead of purchasing many additional supplements to balance your forage, Mad Barn makes it easy to care for your IR horse with AminoTrace+.
The super-concentrated, pelleted formula correctly balances a wide range of forages and supplies the nutrients that your horse needs to combat inflammation, restore mineral balance and improve digestive health – no additional supplements needed!
Is your horse a fussy eater? AminoTrace+ is formulated to be palatable so that getting the appropriate nutrition into your equine companion is easier than trying to balance it with a bunch of unpalatable powders. This product contains no added sugars and only low NSC ingredients are used to pellet.
Robust Hooves From the Inside Out
Balanced mineral and vitamin nutrition creates the foundation for healthy hoof growth, especially for horses that have been diagnosed with metabolic conditions such as IR, EMD or PPID.
AminoTrace+ contains optimal levels of amino acids, minerals and vitamins to support healthy hoof growth, when accompanied with adequate forage.
- Copper and Zinc work inside the enzymes that crosslink collagen and elastin together in connective tissue to form the proteins that make up the hoof. High levels to balance high iron forages and water
- Biotin has been clinically proven to improve hoof quality when given to horses at 20 mg per day.
- Amino acids are the building blocks of protein needed to synthesize skin, hair and hooves. Lysine, methionine and threonine are considered to be the three most limiting amino acids in equine nutrition.
Everything Your Horse Needs For Healthy Metabolism
Insulin Resistant and/or PPID horses have special needs when it comes to vitamins and minerals. Ensuring that these are balanced in sufficient quantities in your horse’s diet will help build antioxidant defenses and combat inflammation.
- Enhanced copper and zinc levels in AminoTrace+ counteract high iron forages and bring ratios into correct balance.
- A low iron phosphorus source limits the iron content of the supplement.
Essential Amino Acids
- Added lysine, methionine and threonine ensure optimal protein synthesis, leading to improved top line, muscling, hoof growth, and immunity.
Advanced Trace Mineral Technology (ATMT)
The trace minerals found in AminoTrace+ are in the same form found in nature- attached to amino acids or peptides, to ensure:
- Less interference with digestive processes. When compared to inorganic trace minerals, digestive enzyme activity is higher when using organic minerals (ATMT).
- Less interference with other minerals. Is your hay high in iron? No need to worry- ATMT avoids mineral-mineral interactions that would inhibit absorption.
- Natural Source Vitamin E
- Potent antioxidant that combats inflammation, maintains cell membrane integrity and enhances immunity.
- All D-form isomer, the biologically active form of vitamin E.
- Pelleted in an oil emulsion to enhance absorption.
- Copper, Zinc, Manganese & Selenium
- Important antioxidant minerals that are deficient in most hays.
- ATMT enhances the utilization of Copper, Zinc, & Selenium, so you can ensure that your horse is getting the minerals that are most bioavailable.
- Helps protect against inflammation and free-radical damage.
- If magnesium is low in the cell, carbohydrate metabolism is impaired and a reduced insulin response can be triggered. AminoTrace+ contains high levels of readily bioavailable magnesium.
You should always consult a qualified nutritionist before altering your feed program. Submit your horse’s diet for analysis online and one of our equine nutritionists will be happy to provide a complementary review.
Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7, is a water-soluble B-vitamin that plays an important role as an enzymatic cofactor in metabolism. Most notably, biotin is involved in the enzymatic reactions that synthesize keratin, which is a component of skin, hair and hooves.
Horses are not capable of synthesizing biotin, and so it must be obtained from the diet. Outright deficiency is rare as biotin is found in most common feedstuffs. Dietary sources of biotin vary, with fresh pasture and alfalfa being the top sources, followed by oats, barley, soybean meal, corn and molasses.
Because it is present in such small quantities in most feedstuffs, the supplementation of biotin is recommended for horses, especially those with dry, cracked or brittle hooves, horses that pull shoes often or horses with chronic laminitis.
Adding biotin to a well-balanced diet can improve hoof health by producing strong keratin. Biotin supplementation has been shown to improve conditions such as brittle hoof horn and chipped hooves. In addition, it contributes to a healthy coat.
Research on the supplementation of pure biotin in equine diets has resulted in mostly positive results, mainly when looking at hoof growth rates, and it is widely advised that biotin be supplemented at 20 mg per day in order to see substantial improvements in hoof growth.
Calcium is a macromineral with well described roles in bones and teeth development in horses. Calcium and phosphorus are usually discussed together because bones store them in a 2:1 ratio of calcium-to-phosphorus. This ratio should also be attained in the diet.
While most of the calcium found in the horse’s body is in bone tissue, this mineral is also involved in certain enzymatic functions, cell membrane function, muscle contractions and blood coagulation. Calcium ions mobilized from bone are also important for transmitting nerve impulses.
Young horses, growing horses, lactating mares and late-gestation broodmares all have higher calcium requirements than typical adult horses. Severe calcium deficiency in horses causing noticeable symptoms such as “big head” is less common today than in the past. However, deficiency may occur when horses consume certain subtropical grasses that are high in oxalate which restricts calcium absorption.
Chromium is a micromineral that is widely used in horses with metabolic dysfunction because it has been shown to potentiate the effects of insulin. Mad Barn uses Biochrome in its supplements, which contains this mineral in the form of chromium polynicotinate. The chromium is surrounded by several niacin molecules which increase absorption.
Chromium helps horses maintain healthy blood glucose levels by increasing insulin’s ability to bind to its cellular receptor. This means that insulin can more effectively move glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells where it can serve as a source of energy.
Chromium supplementation has been shown to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in horses. This is particularly important for overweight or obese horses who are at higher risk for insulin resistance. In addition, chromium helps regulate fat and protein metabolism and contributes to overall good metabolic health.
Chromium has also been shown to benefit performance horses by decreasing lactate levels during exercise.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin with important roles in the nervous system, liver function, energy metabolism and red blood cell maturation. As a dietary supplement, it is sometimes given to horses to fight symptoms of fatigue and stress or to address digestive problems.
The horse needs cobalamin to ensure normal production of red blood cells in bone marrow, to maintain a healthy reproductive system and to support myelination of nerve pathways. Vitamin B12 is also involved in the metabolism of lipids (fats) and amino acids. This vitamin is said to improve physical stamina and to stimulate the appetite in horses.
Unlike other B-Complex vitamins, B12 is not produced naturally within plants and cannot be gained through the horse’s diet. Instead, it must be synthesized within the horse’s hindgut through bacterial fermentation from the mineral cobalt. While deficiency is rare, there may be times when providing additional Cobalamin by way of supplements can improve well-being.
Cobalt is a micromineral that is required within the horse’s hindgut to synthesize the vitamin cobalamin (Vitamin B12). Microbes present in the hindgut convert cobalt into its active form cyanocobalamin by way of fermentation.
Cyanocobalamin is required for red blood cell formation, protein synthesis, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, reproductive function, cardiovascular health and the methylation of homocysteine to methionine. Racehorses will sometimes supplement with additional sources of Cobalamin for a purported boost in athletic performance.
The essential trace mineral Cobalt is found naturally in horse feeds and there have not been any reported cases of deficiency. Signs of inadequate intake can include loss of appetite, anemia, poor growth, lethargy and other symptoms associated with low vitamin B12 consumption.
Some sources report that supplementation is necessary in regions where the soil does not naturally contain adequate amounts such as Florida, New England, Australia, New Zealand, and Norway. As a supplement, it is commonly provided in the form of Vitamin B12 or cobalt carbonate and it has a Max Tolerable Level of 25 mg/kg total dietary concentration.
Copper is a micromineral that is required by the horse for proper nervous system function, antioxidant defense, cardiac function, bone development, cellular respiration, keratinization, tissue pigmentation and the formation of connective tissue. It is a catalytic co-factor for many important enzymes, meaning that it is required for these enzyme’s activity as a catalyst.
If copper levels are not adequate in the horse’s diet, it can lead to pigmentation abnormalities, sensitive skin, sluggishness, bone demineralization, osteoporosis, arthritis, liver problems, digestive problems, anemia, neutropenia, or leukopenia. Deficiency may be common in certain geographic regions where soil content is naturally low in copper.
Absorption of this mineral from the gastrointestinal tract is between 5 to 10% in adults and may be reduced during times of disease or if the horse is consuming a diet high in phytates or competing minerals. To increase levels, a highly bioavailable form of this mineral like Bioplex Copper (copper proteinate) is recommended.
Flax oil is a plant oil that is extracted from flaxseed and has the highest concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids of all of the plant oils. Because of its high Omega-3 concentration, palatable taste and wide availability, flax oil is one of the most common Omega-3 fatty acid and energy supplements in horse nutrition.
In addition to Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids are also found in flax oil. The combination of Omega-3 and Omega-6 is of particular interest in horse nutrition because of the positive effects they have on inflammation, immunity and cardiovascular health.
Horses are not able to produce Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids themselves, so they must be consumed in the diet, and flax oil is a great choice. Horses may require the addition of fat to their diet to increase dietary calorie density and assist in fighting inflammation, but it can also be used to add a healthy gloss to the hair coat. This might require as little as 80-120 mL of oil per day, up to 500 mL. As with all dietary changes, the addition of supplemental fats in the form of plant oils should be done slowly to allow the horse’s gastrointestinal tract to acclimatize.
Folic Acid (folate, Vitamin B9) is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in DNA synthesis, methionine production and cellular growth and development. It is particularly important for supporting cell turnover during periods of rapid growth such as fetal development, tissue repair and regeneration of cells lining the intestinal wall.
Folic acid is sometimes given to horses to improve hemoglobin levels because of its role in maintaining healthy red blood cells. Deficiency in folate can manifest as megaloblastic anemia, but this has only ever been reported in other species and not in horses.
Folic acid is generally supplied in adequate amounts in the horse’s diet, especially for animals on pasture or those with access to fresh forage, alfalfa, timothy hay and cereal grains. Horses fed hay tend to have lower levels of this vitamin in their blood.
Horses currently being treated with sulfadiazine and pyrimethamine for EPM may require supplemental folic acid because these medications interfere with the absorption of this vitamin from the gastrointestinal tract.
Iodine is a trace mineral that is essential for normal thyroid function and metabolism in the horse. Iodine is require to synthesize the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) which regulate metabolism in every cell in the body.
Horses that do not obtain enough of this mineral from their diet are at risk of developing goiter or an enlarged thyroid gland. Other signs of low iodine include hypothyroid symptoms such as hair loss or rough coat, flaky skin, retarded growth, muscle weakness, low temperature, lethargy and brittle hooves.
Iodine content in the diet varies across geographic regions depending on how much of this mineral is naturally found in the soil. The 2007 Nutrient Requirements of Horses guidelines published by the NRC stipulate that horses need at least 3.5-4.5 mg of dietary iodine per day, although some horses with heavy work loads or breeding or lactating mares may require more. Iodized salt blocks are typically used to supplement levels of this mineral in horses. Kelp and other seaweeds are also good sources.
Iron is a micro mineral that is primarily found in the horse’s body as a component of hemoglobin, which is the protein molecule in red blood cells that transports oxygen. Low iron levels can contribute to fatigue, listlessness, heart palpitations and impaired immune function.
While this mineral is essential to the horse’s diet, it is not recommended to supplement with additional sources of iron, unless instructed to do so under the supervision of a veterinarian. Excess consumption is more likely to cause problems for horses including liver issues, increased oxidative stress and inflammation. Supplemental iron can also interfere with the absorption of other minerals from the diet.
Most nutritional products for your horse will contain some amount of natural iron because this mineral is found abundantly in nature. What is important is to avoid products with supplemental forms of iron including ferrous sulfate or iron oxide.
L-Lysine is the essential amino acid that is most commonly deficient in the horse’s diet. Because it cannot be produced naturally within the body, it must be obtained through feed or supplements. When dietary consumption of this amino acid is inadequate, it can impair the utilization of other proteins.
L-Lysine has a wide range of roles in the horse including supporting immune function, tissue repair, and the production of various antibodies, hormones and enzymes. It aids in maintaining nitrogen balance and calcium absoprtion. It also forms a component of muscle tissue, collagens and elastins found in skin, tendons and bone and keratin – a protein required for healthy hair and hoofs.
Low levels of Lysine can contribute to body tissue loss, impaired growth, poor topline quality, decreased feed intake and decreased stamina and performance. Supplementing with this amino acid may be particularly important for horses who are undergoing any level of work and young and developing horses.
Magnesium is a macro-mineral that plays an important role in regulating nerve impulse transmission, protein synthesis, energy metabolism and enzyme activity. It is involved in over 300 different enzyme reactions in the horse’s body.
60% of the magnesium in the body is found in the bones and 40% is found in extracellular fluids and soft tissues. If a horse is deficient in magnesium, it can lead to abnormal behaviour and mood problems, jumpiness, excitability, growth failure, muscle weakness, intermittent muscle spasms (tetany), sensitive skin and back pain. It may also be involved in equine metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance in horses.
As a supplement, it is best given in the form of inorganic magnesium oxide which has an absorption rate of approximately 50% and does not cause the same gastrointestinal side effects as magnesium sulfate (epsom salt).
Manganese is a trace mineral that is required by horses to form chondroitin sulfate – a component of cartilage. It is essential for bone development, reproductive function, digestion of fats and carbohydrates, disease resistance and for normal enzyme activity.
It is recommended for horses to consume 40 ppm of this mineral in their diet. Though rare, deficiency can cause serious problems for a horse. Horses that do not get enough Manganese may experience bone abnormalities, lameness, bowed tendons, inhibited growth and impaired fertility.
Manganese is also required to form the natural endogenous antioxidant superoxide dismutase. It has been researched for its potential use as an antioxidant agent in equine animals.
DL-Methionine is an essential amino acid that acts as a building block for proteins involved in metabolism, growth, liver function and more. Research suggests that it is the second-most likely amino acid for a horse to be deficient in, due to low natural amounts supplied by commonly fed grains. This compound cannot be synthesized internally and must be supplied by feed or supplementation.
Methionine is an important component of hoof and hair tissue because it is required for keratin synthesis. It plays a role in central nervous system function and is involved in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is also necessary for detoxification pathways, is required to produce creatine, and supports the integrity of joints, ligaments, tendons and other connective tissues. Furthermore, Methionine is a precursor for Taurine, L-Carnitine and the sulfur-containing amino acid Cysteine.
Methionine is a common limiting factor in the horse’s diet. If a horse lacks adequate amounts of any amino acid from its diet, the remaining aminos cannot be fully utilized and are broken down by the body. The NRC’s Nutrient Requirements of Horses recommends daily intake of 5,000 mg. Alfalfa, flax, beet pulp and sunflower seeds are common sources of plant proteins to add to the diet.
Oats hulls are the outer envelope of the oat grain and are a co-product of oat processing. The hulls are high in fibre and low in protein and energy. It is used in horse supplements as a source of beta-glucan, which is a type of soluble fiber.
Nutritional studies involving horses have shown that the inclusion of feeds naturally high in soluble fiber can slow feed intake and may be useful for prolonged feeding time in horses that are meal-fed. This can help to prevent blood glucose spikes following a meal by slowing down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.
Beta-glucan also has prebiotic effects in the hindgut where it can promote growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria and support the immune system.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5, pantothenate) is a water-soluble vitamin that is critical for normal metabolic function in the horse. Pantothenic Acid forms a part of co-enzyme A (CoA) which is involved in energy production, fatty acid synthesis, production of steroid hormones, formation of neurotransmitters and regulation of other enzymatic reactions.
Low dietary intake of Pantothenic Acid can result in fatigue, but true deficiency is rare. Horses typically obtain adequate amounts of this vitamin from their forage and grain. It can also be produced through fermentation by bacteria in the gut.
Performance horses and animals that experience gastrointestinal upset or those using antibiotics may benefit from additional supplementation with Vitamin B5. The recommended dietary concentration is 13 mg/kg of dry matter intake.
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient that is an important component of cell membranes (Phoshoplipids), bone structure and reactions requiring cellular energy (ATP/Adenosine TriPhosphate). Phosphorus also helps form the backbone of DNA and contributes to pH and electrolyte balance in bodily fluids.
Dietary Phosphorus can be obtained from many different feeds, including forages, oats and soybean meal. Feeds with particularly high Phosphorus concentrations include wheat bran and rice bran.
The Phosphorus found naturally in grains and forages is considered organic, and is often bound inside molecules called Phytates. Feed manufacturers, however, often add inorganic Phosphorus, which comes from mining and processing phosphate from rocks, into commercial horse feeds. Inorganic Phosphorus sources are often listed on feed labels as monosodium phosphate; mono-, di-, and tri-calcium phosphate; and defluorinated phosphate.
Inorganic Phosphorus is a non-renewable resource, as it is mined from the earth. It is well known that inorganic Phosphorus is released from animal waste into the environment at high levels and can cause environmental harm. Today, research is focused on striking a balance between feeding enough Phosphorus for optimal horse health and production (growth, lactation, reproduction, performance, etc.) without overfeeding it, thus reducing the environmental footprint of feeding horses. It has also been concluded that both growing and mature horses can effectively utilize the majority of Phosphorus bound in plant Phytate and might not need inorganic Phosphorus added to their feed to meet their Phosphorus requirements.
Potassium is an essential macro mineral that functions as an electrolyte in the horse’s body. It is the most important intracellular cation, is essential for maintaining the contractility of smooth, skeletal and cardiac muscle, and also plays a role in regulating pH balance.
Horses fed a diet with adequate forage typically do not need to supplement with additional potassium as forage typically contains high amounts of this mineral. Diets that contain mostly grain may not supply adequate amounts.
A deficiency in this electrolyte can develop under conditions of profuse sweating, in endurance horses, in horses using diuretics like Lasix (furosemide) or in horses experiencing diarrhea. Low levels of potassium can lead to reduced appetite, decreased water intake, muscle weakness, mental apathy, cardiac arrhythmias, adrenal hypertrophy and a decreased growth rate.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is a water-soluble vitamin that is required for proper metabolic function in the horse. It plays a role in blood sugar regulation, muscle development, mood regulation, hormone production and joint health.
Pyridoxine is necessary for over 150 different enzyme reactions in mammals. It is essential for helping the body to process lipids, carbohydrates and proteins from food. Vitamin B6 also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms and can influence the nervous system and immune function.
Supplementing with B Vitamins may be particularly beneficial for horses primarily eating grain and not forage, undergoing intense physical exertion, high stress environments, young or old horses, and those taking antibiotic medications. Horses with certain forms of digestive upset such as diarrhea or dysbiosis that impede absorption of nutrients may also benefit from taking additional Pyridoxine.
Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for converting macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. It is a precursor for the synthesis of enzymes involved in ATP production and lipid metabolism.
Riboflavin is present in all cells of the body and is used to make two very important coenzymes, flavin adenine dinucleotide and flavin mononucleotide. Coenzymes are molecules that assist enzymes by delivering molecules that the enzymes need to perform a reaction.
Riboflavin is naturally present in the horse’s diet, most abundantly in legumes such as alfalfa and clover and slightly lower in grass hays. Riboflavin is also produced by fermentation in the hindgut. Like most B vitamins, riboflavin deficiency and toxicity are very rare and have not been reported in horses.
The microbes in a horse’s gastrointestinal tract are able to synthesize Vitamin B2, and requirements are easily met with the addition of hay and grain. Symptomatic riboflavin deficiency is so rare, that signs are not reported in horses even when fed diets that are lacking in this vitamin.
The supplementation of riboflavin and other B vitamins can help to supply optimal levels and allow the horse to perform at its full potential, especially in certain situations. Horses consuming low-quality hay, those under high stress, on antibiotics or have any health condition that compromises hindgut bacterial production is recommended to receive a B-vitamin supplement.
Ensuring your horse has adequate salt in their diet is critical for well-being and performance. Salt is composed of sodium chloride (NaCl), providing two essential minerals that function as electrolytes in the horse’s body.
A 500 kg (1,100 lb) adult horse typically requires 28 grams (1 ounce) of salt per day, but may require more if sweating under exercise or in hot weather. Under conditions that cause profuse sweating, 4-6 ounces of dietary salt per day may be required. Deficiency in sodium or chloride can result in appetite loss, behavioural changes, nausea, muscle weakness, failure to thrive, lethargy and reduced water intake.
Most horses would benefit from loose iodized salt available free choice. This will also provide daily intake of iodine, which is a mineral that is required to make thyroid hormones involved in regulating metabolism.
Selenium is a micromineral that is important for immune function, cardiovascular health, thyroid function and muscle development. Horses also require this mineral to prevent white muscle disease. More recently, its been shown to be a key component of antioxidants that are present in all cells of the body and help protect from oxidative stress.
Selenium is a unique mineral as it is a part of two amino acids, seleno-methionine and seleno-cysteine that are precisely incorporated into antioxidant proteins. These seleno-amino acids are stored in the liver and transported to other cells as needed. Selenium is required to synthesize 30-35 different selenoproteins with a wide range of functions in cellular reactions.
Concentrations of this mineral in the soil vary significantly throughout different regions of the world. Selenium supplementation of your horse’s diet is particularly important in areas where the soil Se content is low, including most coastal areas of North America.
Sodium is a macro mineral that is the most recognizable electrolyte in the horse’s body. It plays a role in nerve impulse transmission, regulation of muscle contractions, maintenance of blood pressure, skeletal integrity, blood volume regulation and thirst regulation.
The daily sodium requirement for a 500 kg (1,100 lb) horse is approximately 10 grams. Higher intake is required in hot climates or for horses undergoing heavy physical exercise which lose greater amounts of electrolytes through sweat. Horses naturally seek out salt when levels of this mineral fall too low. They should be provided with free choice loose salt to ensure electrolyte balance is maintained.
If a horse does not get adequate amounts of sodium to replace that which is lost through sweat and urine, the thirst response will be diminished. This is why horses will sometimes avoid drinking water even on a hot day when they are sweating. Additional signs of deficiency can include abnormal licking of soil or other objects, anorexia, lethargy, unsteady gait or loss of skin vitality.
Thiamine is one of the B vitamins and is also known as vitamin B1. This very important vitamin is crucial for the enzymes that carry out carbohydrate metabolism and the functioning of the nervous system. Horses are able to synthesize thiamine with the help of microbes in the hindgut, and so it is generally not necessary as a supplement.
Levels of thiamine are highest in brewer’s yeast and rice bran, with the lowest concentrations found in forages.
Some research has found that thiamine is still required in the diet due to reports of inadequate synthesis, despite it being produced in the hindgut. Studies suggest that exercising horses, especially, may require double what a horse at maintenance needs to support increased carbohydrate metabolism. Positive effects have been seen with the supplementation of thiamine on markers of carbohydrate metabolism and thiamine status of exercising horses, so it may be beneficial to supplement performance horses with thiamine.
L-Threonine is an essential amino acid that is critical for the maintenance of healthy hair and hoofs in horses. It has a number of additional roles including supporting gut health, digestion, the immune system, metabolic function, cellular growth and liver function.
Threonine is also required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones and epinephrine (adrenaline). As a dietary supplement, L-Threonine is typically given to horses to address gastrointestinal issues, improve coat quality, support athletic performance and to promote the healing process following injury.
Because the body cannot naturally produce L-Threonine on its own, it must be acquired through the diet or through supplementation. According to the National Research Council Nutrient Requirements of Horses, horses should consume 5,000 mg of this amino acid per day. Researchers suggest it is one of the top three limiting amino acids in the diet, following lysine and methionine.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble, essential vitamin with a number of vital functions. For one, it regulates gene expression during cell differentiation, which is a very important step in the creation of an embryo. It also maintains epithelial membranes in cells.
Vitamin A is also a crucial substance that is needed for vision. One form of vitamin A combines with opsin to produce rhodopsin, which is the visual pigment that produces the nervous system signal that allows horses to see.
Vitamin A is present in feeds as beta-carotene and is broken down into vitamin A once it reaches the small intestine. Fresh grass pasture is one of the best sources of beta-carotene. Since beta-carotene is susceptible to oxidation, mature grass hays contain much lower concentrations due to UV light damage.
Deficiencies in vitamin A can present as night blindness and reports have been made of impaired growth in growing ponies deprived of vitamin A. Although deficiencies are possible, vitamin A requirements are usually covered with pasture access and/or good quality hay. If horses do not have access to pasture or they are in heavy work, however, NRC requirements increase and have been changed as a result of research findings involving performance horses.
Vitamin D refers to a group of five fat-soluble steroid hormones that have a wide range of biological effects in the horse’s body. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the most important form of this vitamin in horses, followed by Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).
Vitamin D plays critical roles in the metabolism and utilization of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium from the gastrointestinal tract. This vitamin also regulates bone mineral metabolism, cell growth and differentiation as well as kidney function.
Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin with exposure to sunlight. It can also be obtained in small amounts through dietary sources. Horses that do not get adequate time outside during periods of daylight may be at risk for sub-optimal levels of this vitamin. Vitamin D status can also change during winter months. Deficiency can lead to rickets or osteomalacia in the horse.
Vitamin E is the shared name for eight different fat-soluble, naturally-occurring compounds: a, b, g, and d-tocopherol and a, b, g, and d-tocotrienol. These compounds all have vitamin E activity and are comprised of a chromanol ring with differing phytyl side chains. The compound most commonly referred to as vitamin E is a-tocopherol and is widely considered to be the most biologically active form of all the vitamin E constituents.
The most natural form of alpha-tocopherol is d-alpha-tocopherol, and is only synthesized in plants so it must be obtained through the diet. Fresh, grass pasture contains the highest concentrations of d-alpha-tocopherol, however, a large number of horses do not have year-round access to grass pasture and their diets consist mostly of hay, so alpha-tocopherol is often added to most commercial feed formulations or top-dressed as a supplement.
Vitamin E functions as a powerful antioxidant, meaning it protects the body tissue from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are produced during normal cellular metabolism and can harm cells, tissues, and organs if not kept in balance with proper antioxidant levels.
Other functions of Vitamin E:
- Immune function – important for defense against viruses and bacteria
- Formation of red blood cells
- Helps widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting inside them
- Used in cellular communication, used to carry out many important functions.
Research confirms that the different forms of vitamin E available to be supplemented can have a significant impact on vitamin E levels in the blood. The most bioavailable forms of vitamin E should only be used in order to properly formulate balanced equine diets, to treat vitamin E deficiency and its associated conditions and aid in exercise recovery.
Yea-Sacc 1026® is a yeast culture developed by Alltech that is based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain 1026. This strain of yeast was specifically selected for its influence on digestibility in animals. Many years of research in multiple animal species have clarified Yea-Sacc 1026® ‘s efficacy as a probiotic for enhancing digestibility.
The addition of probiotic substances in the equine diet has a multitude of benefits to the horse. Yea-Sacc 1026® promotes greater digestion efficiency of feed and stabilizes hindgut pH, preventing digestive upset associated with stress, training, performance and transport. More efficient digestion means that energy uptake is also enhanced, along with other important nutrients.
Providing yeast in the horse’s diet also enhances phosphorus and calcium availability, contributing to greater bone strength. Yea-Sacc 1026® has also been proven to stimulate milk production and enhance milk quality in lactating mares, resulting in healthier foals.
Yea-Sacc Farm Pak® from Alltech contains a proprietary live yeast culture based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain 1026. This strain of beneficial yeast was selected because it has shown positive results for animal performance in equine feeds.
According to Alltech, Yea-Sacc Farm Pak® promotes healthy digestion and utilization of nutrients found in the equine diet. Specifically, this supplement is purported to enhance the digestion of fiber in the gastrointestinal tract and promote greater uptake of energy from food sources.
Yea-Sacc Farm Pak® works by helping to maintain a normal pH balance in the gut and supporting the growth of good microbes. It stimulates the activity of probiotic bacteria that convert lactic acid into propionic acid, promoting stability in the macrobiome.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is required by horses for the immune system, tissue repair, growth, fertility and fetal development. It is involved in over 100 different enzymatic reactions in the body that affect hormone metabolism, energy synthesis, protein synthesis, collagen and keratin formation, blood clotting, insulin production and more.
Zinc is found most abundantly in the eyes and prostate gland followed by bone, skin and muscle tissue. Low levels of zinc in the diet can contribute to subnormal growth, fatigue, problems with hair, hoof and skin quality, impaired wound healing, loss of appetite, anemia and high frequency of colds and other diseases.
According to the NRC’s Nutrient Requirements of Horses, a 500 kg (1,100-pound) mature horse requires 400 mg per day of Zinc. Requirements are higher for horses that are lactating or undergoing heavy work. Many horses do not obtain optimal amounts of this mineral from their forage and could benefit from supplementation.
Zinc is commonly supplemented in balance with Copper because the two minerals compete for the same absorption pathway in the gastrointestinal tract.