by Dr. Eleanor Kellon, DVM
Your horse's health, happiness and performance depend on normal functioning of the nervous system and muscles. All nutrients have a role to play but some are particularly important.
The complexity within a single nerve cell is staggering but the horse's very life depends on the nervous system receiving proper nutrients to maintain its health.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant which becomes incorporated directly into the membranes surrounding cells and also structures within the cells. These membranes are made of phospholipids which are very vulnerable to attack by free radicals generated from toxic minerals or during immune system activity.
The nervous system is known to be particularly sensitive to oxidative damage from free radical attacks. The muscles are also at high risk even in good health because of the huge amount of free radicals generated during the production of energy.
If vitamin E is the king of antioxidants in the fatty/lipid structures, glutathione rules in the water based interior of the cells. Maintaining glutathione activity depends heavily on vitamin E's partner, selenium. Selenium is needed to maintain glutathione in an active state. Selenium is also incorporated into protein structures at the active site of enzymes like glutathione peroxidase. Selenoproteins may themselves additionally act directly as antioxidants.
Acetyl-L-cartinine is a metabolite of L-carnitine and is a very versatile compound in both nervous tissue and muscle. In nerves, it supports the production of a protective layer, the myelin sheath, on nerve axons which are the long "tails" of nerves which communicate with other nerves. ALCAR supports normal sensory activity in nerves and the spinal cord. It is also an antioxidant, promotes production of mitochondria and directs glucose into energy pathways - benefits for both nerves and muscles.
All cells are primarily protein. Most diets have adequate total protein but may come up short is key essential amino acids - lysine, methionine and threonine. Another amino acid that must be in the diet because the horse cannot make it is L-leucine, which has important functions in neuromuscular tissues.
Leucine is both a structural protein and an energy source in both tissues. In muscle, leucine and its metabolite HMB are also the major stimulants for muscle growth. In the brain, leucine is pivotal in maintaining neurotransmitter balance. It is the first amino acid the brain extracts from blood.
We know a great deal about basic nutritional requirements but the realm of what constitutes optimal nutrition is still not well defined. Needs change when tissues are being stressed. By learning the key nutrients and metabolites, you can help support the challenged systems when the need arises.
Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, offers formulas that provide neuromuscular support.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine supports efficient energy generation, normal muscular relaxation, and nerve cell production during aerobic activity. Important for generating energy from fats by acting as a carrier to transport them into the mitochondria where they can be burned as an energy source. 98% pure product with no fillers and excellent palatability.
Liquid E 50 is a concentrated liquid Vitamin E that protects the body from damaging free radicals that can weaken cells and tissues. In addition to powerful antioxidant properties, Vitamin E promotes healthy immune, cardiovascular, circulatory, neuromuscular, and reproductive functions.
Selenium Yeast Blend is organic chelated Selenium in a palatable Brewer's Yeast base. Perfect for feeding Selenium without adding Vitamin E.
Commonly deficient in horses, Selenium supports muscle tissue, the heart, and the nervous system. It also promotes a healthy immune system by neutralizing the damaging effects of excessive oxidative stress and free radicals.
Muscle EQ provides powerful, research proven, muscle support ingredients. The 100% naturally-occurring contents will not test. Palatable maltodextrin base also naturally supports uptake by the muscles. Features Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCar). L-leucine, L-Lysine, D.L.-Methionine, Trimethyl Glycine (TMG). and Beta-Alanine.
About Dr. Kellon
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience. Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal. www.ecirhorse.org.
Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier. On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances. You can find them in our section on Supplements.
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