Supplementing horses with Vitamin C?
Boosting the horse own natural immune system with Vit C in times of injury, stress or illness may well be the support to heal completely or faster. But before you do so;
'In healthy horses, a shortage of Vitamin C in NZ horses doesn't occur, as horses are one of the few mammals who can produce it from glucose in their liver. (gulonolactone oxidase)'
While most mammals produce this enzyme in their liver naturally, humans CAN'T! Therefore we should be very careful with supplementing Vit C as it may compromise the natural ability of the horses liver, to make it for themselves.
The role of Vit C in the NZ horse
The most important role for growing horses is the synthesis of Collagen and Repair. It also plays a big part in;
- energy production
- bone calcification
- conversion of Vit D3 to calcitriol
- anti-histamine to support reactions to an allergy
- hormone production
- synthesis of amino acids
- Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid is a soluble Vitamin which makes it easy to transport to all body cells, which makes it a great anti-oxidant within as well as outside the cells.
An oversupply of Vit C is excreted through the urine and not found in the blood.
If healthy horses produce own Vit C? When would we consider supplementing?
- 7-10 day course of a high dose of pure Vit C can aid a horse immune system to recover naturally from colds, injuries and stress. It is recommended to wean the horse off slowly to allow horse his liver to pick up it's own production again.
- Older horses may loose the ability to produce enough of their daily Vit C requirements. If you supplement a daily dose to an older horse, it will need to be given for the rest of his life. As their own ability will be even further reduced by supplementing daily!
Conditions which may benefit of a boost;
- colds, illness, run-down
- excessive growth spurt
- muscle & joint inflammation
- mud fever
- tendons, ligament injuries
- hoof abscesses, thrush