How environmentally friendly are the mineral supplements I’m feeding my horse and why should I care?
Because inorganic trace minerals are poorly absorbed by the horse, the traditional practice has involved over-supplementing these in feed formulations. Horses can only absorb a certain level of specific minerals and when over-supplemented, these are just passed through the system and excreted, literally ‘throwing money away’.
High levels of minerals excreted in faeces and urine find their way into soil and waterways, contaminating both surface and ground water and this can also have a detrimental effect on soil microorganisms, which are essential to maintaining soil structure and quality.
Research shows that organic minerals demonstrate improved absorption, and don’t need to be supplemented in excess of recommended daily allowances, so feeding them to your horse will alleviate much of the negative environmental impacts from horse excretions.
What about just adding a larger proportion of a less effective but cheaper mineral?
In some cases, a large intake of one mineral can block digestibility of another mineral.
Most minerals occur in several forms that can be mixed into feed. For example, feed manufacturers can choose from at least six forms of manganese. What makes one more desirable than another?
Two factors – digestibility and cost, are generally taken into consideration. As might be expected, the most easily digestible mineral forms are also those with the highest cost.
Is the form of the organic mineral that I am using readily absorbed by my horse?
Depends – the extent of the uptake of trace minerals from the digestive tract is reliant on their ability to maintain their solubility until they reach their site of absorption, and then on the efficiency of uptake into the blood.
So, as organic mineral forms have become more commonplace in the market, it’s important to understand why some chelated minerals have advantages over other chelated and organic mineral forms.
What are the benefits of Organic Chelate Minerals ….?
Let’s first look at what a chelate mineral is – and here’s the science bit, SO PAY ATTENTION!
A chelate is a chemical compound in which a metal molecule (the mineral) and an organic molecule (the ligand) are combined.
The ligand is the critical component of a chelate, because it transforms the previously inorganic molecule (the mineral) into an organic mineral form. This makes the mineral more biologically effective than its inorganic form, and that in turn makes it more bioavailable to the body. Got that?
Here’s a photo to make things clearer…
Chelates also prevent trace minerals from interacting with certain feed components and other minerals in the horse’s body, and because of their enhanced bioavailability, using them allows a reduction of at least 33% in supplement rates in comparison with inorganic minerals, without compromising performance.
However, here’s the crunch – not all chelates are created equal. Some chelated minerals are more bioavailable than others. Yikes!
So what makes one form of chelate better than another?
Simple really- FORM DEFINES FUNCTION!
To explain this let’s take a look at some examples of commonly used chelate types in feeds/supplements and their efficacy.
Many companies promote the use of hydrolysed proteins, (proteinates) as their form of mineral chelates. These are minerals that are chelated with short-chained peptides and amino acids derived from hydrolysed soy proteins, which makes them more stable and less reactive in the digestive tract. The downside is that the molecular size of metal proteinates is sometimes is higher than the desired size which decreases bioavailability. They are less expensive, but not much beneficial when compared with single amino acid chelates.
These are generally prepared by coating the mineral with polysaccharide molecules. These are larger molecules based on chains of simple sugars that are known to be highly soluble in the digestive tract. However, many studies have reported no beneficial effect on animal performance.
These are particular types of chelate, in which the mineral is chelated with a single amino acid. Amino acid chelates are therefore a better chelate as compared to polysaccharide and proteinates due to higher bioavailability.
The best example of these is the most expensive form – glycinates. Why?
- Glycinates from glycine are readily absorbed in the gut and get transported right into the cells in the intestine compared to Methionine, Cysteine etc.
- The low pH of Glycine chelates reduces the sensitivity to the acidic conditions of the digestive tract and the absorption of the mineral is improved.
- Glycine chelates remain as a chelate until absorbed and don’t interact with other gut constituents.
- Glycine chelates are non-hazardous AND are environmentally safe
Unsurprisingly, you’ll find glycinate mineral chelates are included in the entire range of Fibregenix balancers because we’re committed to your horse’s health and we want the very best for him. That’s why we’ve raised the bar of expectation and ensured that everything we include in our formulations is going to pass the test of absorption for your horse – with bells on!!
Now that level of detail is something you don’t find in your average feed balancer….
© Fibregenix, June 2019
Feeding the Show Horse by Fibregenix
Keeping a show horse looking at its best is labour intensive at the best of times and nutrition naturally plays a huge part both from both an inner perspective as well as the condition you can see from the outside.
Fibregenix Prime Original conditioning balancer contains all the elements needed to provide your show horse with a balanced diet and the means to promoting and maintaining fabulous condition, with a sparkling coat that will ensure he is a stand-out in the showring. Fibregenix also provides quality protein to promote that much needed topline, fibre and extras such as a hoof supplement, a superior digestive enhancer package and a high oil content, enabling you to keep your show horse’s diet simple and effective without the expense of multiple supplements.
A high shine coat is always reflective of how healthy your horse’s digestive system is, and Fibregenix Prime contains a digestive enhancer package of an equine-approved live probiotic yeast and nucleotides. Together, these highly effective digestive supplements will promote a healthy gut and double fibre digestibility, enabling your show horse to maximise the nutrients he gets from his fibre.
Healthy gut function is essential to not just nutrient absorption but also equates to good performance and temperament. All too often show horses are crammed full of starch-based hard feeds to provide calories for condition but this is at the expense of the digestive system and leads to digestive disturbances that will manifest themselves in hot, fizzy behaviour and poor performance in the show ring.
Feeding a Fibregenix feed balancer enables you to reduce or even cut out completely high starch feedstuffs, and any show horse fed on a primarily fibre and balancer diet will be a far happier and healthier horse in or out of the show ring.
Fibregenix feed balancers make your life easy in the feed shed, reducing time spent making up feeds and with no need for numerous individual supplements. They will contain everything your show horse or pony needs to look in amazing show condition – healthy from the inside out, and with a mirror-shine glossy coat, great topline and presence which will turn heads as soon as you enter the ring.
Feeding Performance Horses.
Performance and sports horses can be likened to finely tuned machines that can all too easily breakdown due to internal mechanic issues, particularly when it comes to digestion. A horse’s digestive system is highly sensitive and any compromises to that delicate environment will have significant effects on performance, appearance and even temperament. Feeding is therefore a key contributing factor in digestive health, however even environment, well-being and good husbandry, can play a significant role when it comes to good digestive health.
Performance horses often lose their appetite as they get fitter, and this can also disrupt digestive health. A nutrient dense, high quality feed balancer will provide the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed on a daily basis, eliminating the need for large quantities of hard feed which is all too often detrimental to optimal digestion. The three Fibregenix feed balancers contain an innovative nutrient supplement – Nucleotides, which can have a positive effect on digestive health. Nucleotides are considered an essential nutrient, as they form the building blocks of DNA and RNA. They are present in the horse’s natural diet, albeit at low levels and cannot be stored by the horse. During periods of strenuous activity or stress, nucleotides often become ‘limited’ and therefore there are enormous benefits to adding nucleotides to the horse’s diet. The specific blend of purified nucleotides in Fibregenix is designed to balance the lower levels found in the diet and provides three main advantages:
- Nucleotides increase the length and surface area of the intestinal villi, aiding nutrient absorption and ensuring optimum digestive health and nutrient yield from the diet.
- Competition horses can often be affected by loose droppings as a result of poor digestive health or stress issues. Including nucleotides in the diet will promote a healthy gut environment, encouraging the beneficial bacteria to thrive.
- Nucleotides aid cell replication. There is a high cell turnover within the digestive system; by adding nucleotides to the diet you are providing the building blocks for DNA and RNA which is essential for cell replication.
Fibregenix Platinum Pro is perfect for performance horses which have a higher nutritional requirement. Platinum Pro contains performance-suited levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients plus a comprehensive hoof supplement, oils for coat condition and skin health, a powerful combination of antioxidants of organic selenium, vitamin C and a natural form of Vitamin E, which is essential for the performance horse that is often under stress which comprises digestion and the immune system.
Platinum Pro furthermore includes blood building nutrients such as vitamin B12, folic acid and iron which assist oxygen transportation to the working muscles. The digestive system of the performance horse is well catered for with a Digestive Enhancer Package of nucleotides and an approved live probiotic yeast supplement that doubles the digestibility of fibre in the diet, so it is utilised much more efficiently. This in turn improves and helps to maintain weight and condition.
The Gut Health Package in Fibregenix consists of MOS and FOS prebiotics. The unique FOS in Fibregenix is a short chain of sugar molecules, providing a feed-source for the beneficial micro-organisms in the gut. However, whilst the ‘good’ bacteria may thrive, if the digestive system is compromised through the stress of competing and travelling, there can still be large amounts of harmful (pathogenic) bacteria which will cause an unhealthy gut environment and negatively affect the general health of the horse.The MOS prebiotic mimics the cursor that the harmful bacteria bind to on the gut wall; once these harmful bacteria have bound to the MOS, they are rendered useless and ‘flushed out’ of the digestive system promoting the overall health of the digestive system. This probiotic can double the digestibility of fibre in the diet, so it is utilised much more efficiently – therefore improving and maintaining weight and condition.
Performance and sport horses horses fed on Fibregenix Platinum Pro will ultimately be better equipped to deal with the demands and stresses of a performance lifestyle and will keep them performing at their peak for longer.
With modern day advances in scientific research in the equine sector it’s been demonstrated that osteoarthritis and other arthritic changes are responsible for around 60% of lameness in not just both pleasure and performance horses but even horses at rest and youngsters. The old adage that prevention is better than cure is a wise philosophy to follow as it’s often more difficult to reverse an existing problem.
During the first two years of a horse’s life, emphasis should be placed on developing a healthy skeletal system so it makes sense to provide your young horse with the correct nutrition to enable this as well as providing long term nutritional insurance for healthy joints, particularly once a horse starts his working career under saddle.
If you’re reluctant to go down the path of injectables, (and many owners are), Fibregenix Liquid Joint & Bone RLF is a unique neutraeutical product and being in a palatable liquid form is fast absorbing. It contains active ingredients that are well-documented with studies and trials as to their effectiveness to help in the formation of strong dense correctly mineralised bones, help slow down the degenerative process and assist in providing relief from inflammation and helping to improve mobility.
Rosehip (rosa canina) contains glycosides which act as an anti-inflammatory. Glycosides control the number of white blood cells that can enter the site of injury (this may be degenerative injury i.e. arthritis or an acute injury such as a soft tissue tear.) White blood cells that enter the site of injury cause swelling; by controlling the number of these white blood cells that can enter the joint, Rosa canina has been shown to help minimise swelling aiding joint comfort both on a short term and long term basis. Rosehip has been proven to be 40% more effective than Glucosamine. Rosehip also contains high levels of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant which neutralises free radicals helping to prevent damage to cells.
Hyaluronic Acid (HLA)
Synovial fluid is the fluid enclosed within a joint capsule that helps to ensure the joint moves freely. When a horse ages or injury occurs within a joint this fluid can become more viscous and physically prevent a joint from moving freely, which can cause mechanical stiffness. Hyaluronic acid may help ensure that synovial fluid remains at the correct viscosity, enabling joints to move freely.
Cartilage covers the ends of bones to ensure they do not grind against each other. When arthritic changes or cartilage damage occurs, this can result in the breakdown of cartilage, making horses uncomfortable. Glucosamine is an amino sugar and a precursor of glucosaminoglycans which are a major component of joint cartilage and essential for cartilage re-generation. It is available in many forms but glucosamine hydrochloride is regarded as the most bio-available variety, which safeguards maximum absorption and is therefore the most effective way to aid in the process of cartilage regeneration.
MSM (Methyl sulphonyl-methane)
Tendons and ligaments are soft tissues which connect muscle to bone and bone to bone. For a joint to move these soft tissues need to be healthy and strong to assist with the movement. When an injury occurs to one of these soft tissues, joint movement may be restricted. MSM provides the building blocks of protein to aid tendon and ligament repair and general tendon and ligament health.
TO OPTIMISE BONE HEALTH
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
Plays a key role in regulation of calcium and phosphorus homeostasis, especially in bone and stimulates the intestinal absorption of calcium, building up the bone matrix and promotes the mineralization of osteoblastic bone formation. Vitamin D3 has been shown in studies to work synergistically with Calcium to benefit bone health and bone remodelling after exercise.
99% of calcium in the horse’s body is deposited in bone and is key in supporting the mechanical property of bone and the bone remodelling process. Providing calcium as chelate ensures it is a highly efficient and a readily available nutrient which may also play a part in helping to prevent bone weaknesses.
If you are looking to optimise joint & bone health for you growing youngster or competition horse then our outstanding Liquid joint & bone RLF can play a key part in giving you that peace of mind.