Folic Acid, also known as folate or 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. This could benefit exercising horses by supporting optimal oxygen supply to their muscles.
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 grass, and cereal grains.
Horses fed hay tend to have lower levels of this vitamin in their blood.
Horses being treated for EPM may require supplemental folic acid because the medications interfere with the absorption of this vitamin from the gut.
Wondering if your horse could benefit from more folic acid in their diet?
Contact Mad Barn for a complimentary diet analysis and one of our equine nutritionists will be happy to help.