Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in a wide range of activities within the horse’s body. Niacin is most well known for it’s ability to increase blood flow and improve circulation. It has also been shown to influence nutrient metabolism, digestion, nerve function, skin health and more.
How Much Niacin Does Your Horse Need?
Mature horses at maintenance typically require 35mg of Vitamin B3 per day and deficiency is not a problem in most parts of the world. Niacin is widely available in the horse’s diet and exists in bound and unbound forms. Only the unbound form can be used by the horse. Although grains are high in vitamin B3 most of it is bound and unavailable to the horse.
Niacin, like other B-vitamins can be produced by microbes in the horse’s hindgut. Depending on your horse’s diet, this may be the main source of niacin for your horse. Niacin can also be made in the horse’s liver from the amino acid tryptophan.
Does My Horse Need a Niacin Supplement?
Some horses may benefit from supplementation with this vitamin in certain cases. The amino acid leucine can interfere with niacin production in the liver. This means that horses on high protein diets often benefit from higher levels of niacin in the diet.
Horses engaged in light to heavy work also require more at levels of 60mg and 100mg, respectively.
Wondering how much niacin is in your horse’s diet? Contact Mad Barn at https://madbarn.com/analyze-diet/ for a complementary dietary analysis and our equine nutritionists will help you make appropriate changes to your horse’s feeding regimen.