Vitamin C for HorsesVitamins C for horses
, as if aging wasn't hard enough! And the enzyme needed to convert glucose into vitamin is called L-gulonolactone oxidase, which the horse can produce in its liver. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has many functions in the body. Vitamin C's most important function is to participate in the formation of collagen.
Vitamine C in horse nutrition
Perhaps vitamin C is one of the most widely understood vitamin in equine diets. Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid, has various functions in the human organism, many of which are related to its anti-oxidant activity. Vitamine C has a central part to play in neutralising damaging free radicals. How can this be achieved? Due to its water-soluble naturalness, vitamin C can act both inside and outside the cells to fight free radicals.
In addition to its anti-oxidant properties, vitamin C is needed for synthesizing collagen, hormones, converting vitamin D3 to Calcitriol, calcifying bones and controlling antihistamines. A vitamin C deficit can lead to bad pigmentation, weakened immunity, bleeding, retarded recovery, degenerate or extended adrenals, sinus and lower back pain.
People are very aware of the need for additional vitamin C, because without it a single individual will become the victim of the development of scurvy, a frequent condition among sailors who did not have enough fruit and vegetable in their food. But this can cause a lot of disorientation about what horses need in terms of vitamin C; while people need vitamin C in their nutrition, horses do not.
Human beings do not have the necessary substance to transform sugar into vitamin C, but horses secrete this substance, L-gulonolactone oxide, in the body. In order for horses to have sufficient vitamin C in their food, they need a well-functioning liver and sufficient sugar to serve as a substratum for the transformation. Supplementing a regular fit equestrian with vitamin C is no use.
It is a challenging task to get the horses to take in extra vitamin C. The research has shown that large quantities of additional vitamin C must be taken before a modification of the level of ascorbate in the body is detected, and these quantities are many times what could be regarded as a requisite (if the equine had a requirement).
Since additional vitamin C is not well taken up by the horse's intestines, over three g of vitamin C per diem must be added to influence the level of vitamin C in the body. Since horses efficiently produce the necessary vitamin C converting gluten to the necessary vitamin C protein, feeding additional vitamin C over long period of times is feared to down-regulate the normal synthesis of this protein.
Therefore, a long-term addition of large quantities of vitamin C is not advisable if it is not necessary. Supplementing them at shorter notice can also have a detrimental effect. After 10 or more consecutive day of high vitamin C supplements, it is advisable to prevent an immediate retreat of the supplements and progressively cure the horses.
In weaning horses, it was noted that the sudden discontinuation of escorbic anhydride supplements after 10 day was sustained for three consecutive week periods below standard anaesthesia level. It has been suggested that this is due to the effect of dietary supplements on brain production of enzymes, which react slowly once the feed-back mechanisms have paused to initiate lactation.
Adding vitamin C to equine feed has not been beneficial, mainly because it is added in very small quantities. Furthermore, vitamin C is very prone to oxydation, so its effectiveness declines quickly when it is part of a premixture used in commercially available feed. Others types of vitamin C used in dietary supplementation may be more potent.
Vitamine C is usually added to articular supplementation because of its role in the production and maturing of collateral tissue, but there is no equine evidence of the value of Vitamine C in a articular complement. Under certain conditions, extra vitamin C would be useful every times the horse's immunity is impaired, when the extra anti-oxidant can give the system a necessary push.
Due to increased requirements on the human organism and increased stresses, the human organism may not be able to synthesise enough vitamin C to keep pace with current levels of aging. Horse that really work harder, such as stamina horses, eventing horses and race horses; horses in longer periods of distress (such as long journeys or multi-day competitions); post-operative and post-traumatic horses; horses that suffer from sores, infection or disease; horses with arthritis; horses with severe or allergic conditions; and older horses with severe infection or reduced immune response may profit from additional vitamin C. Researchers have been looking for ways in which vitamin C supplements could help horses in various periods of distress.
Scientists found, for example, that colts that had high stresses during withdrawal from stable inclusion were lower than standard plasmascorbate values, indicating a high vitamin C requirement and insufficient uptake. Another research trial showed that vitamin C supplements (20 grams per day) enhanced the immune responses to the vaccine in older horses, especially horses with hypophyseal disorder or Cushing's ailment.
It has been found that the asporbic acids in the plasm and pulmonary tract of horses with repeated respiratory obstructions are low and it is advised that these horses receive 30 mg/kg bw per days. Vitamins C, DMSO and lignocain are suggested in admixture with the high dosages of naturally occurring vitamin E. Vitamin C is suggested for horses that suffer from the severe phase of EMND (Equine motor neurone disease) while receiving high vitamin E therapy. The researchers studied the efficacy of a dietary supplement containing vitamin C and nicacin (as well as tyrosine) in relieving the symptoms of chronic sweating.
It seemed to enhance warmth removal in untrained, anhidrous horses by enlarging the amount of perspiration in the horse's area. Crops are a naturally rich resource for vitamin C and green-growing grasses have a lot, but straw is practically free because of the oxidative instability of vitamin C. Grain is not particularly rich in vitamin C, but has a big boost as they begin to spring up.
The vitamin C concentration of oat is believed to rise by up to 600% during germination. Shoots can be a good way to supply organically produced vitamin C in periods of distress and for horses in serious workout, although the effectiveness of absorbtion and real needs require more research.
Briefly, it is not necessary to give a horses vitamin C, but its strong anti-oxidant effect makes it an appealing addition when trouble occurs.