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Importance of Magnesium in Horse Diets

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Importance of Magnesium in Horse Diets
Magnesium in Horse Diets | Innovet Pet

Magnesium for horses is an important macromineral, and it’s becoming more and more advised by vets for a variety of horse treatments. Therefore, why do horses need magnesium, and how will it fit for therapeutic usage?


Macromineral Considerations for Horses That Are Recovering from Injuries

Magnesium in Horse Diets | Innovet PetMagnesium supplement for horses, calcium, and phosphorus are crucial minerals involved in bone health, and it’s logical that the repair of bone damage experienced by performance horses is delayed if there aren’t enough quantities of such minerals in the diet. Also, calcium is involved within collagen-forming enzymatic activities. Horses use skeletal calcium stores as a calcium source to maintain tissue and blood levels as the diet does not supply sufficient quantities.

Because alfalfa has such elevated quantities of calcium, deficiencies are fairly rare if alfalfa hay is utilized.  The majority of premixed feeds have greater than necessary amounts of calcium and most supplements have calcium. Alternatively, ground limestone may be given as a calcium source or dicalcium phosphate as a calcium and phosphorus source. Grains, as well as grain by-products, especially pollard and bran, are high in phosphorus and low in calcium. Both phosphorus and calcium needs have to be met with a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio between 1.1:1 - 3:1.

Equine magnesium is a critical bone constituent and also is an enzyme cofactor that is involved in cellular energy metabolism. The majority of feed programs have sufficient magnesium in natural feeds; therefore, its magnesium supplement horses specifically wouldn’t be needed, yet it’s possible that a few horses don’t digest magnesium effectively enough.

Chloride, potassium, and sodium are the main minerals included in the maintenance of tissue osmotic pressure, as well as acid-base balance, water balance control, and the passing of nutrients into cells. In addition, sodium is included in glucose uptake within the small intestine, and it has an impactful influence upon energy balance. Chloride and sodium deficiencies have a negative effect on hydration status and water balance. Extreme deficiency cases cause blood flow alterations which might be detrimental to the process of healing.

All horses require added salt inside their diets as the majority of feedstuffs don’t contain enough chloride and sodium. Exercising horses have extra requirements for those minerals to replace losses in sweat, as well as pain or hot weather also will increase losses because of sweat. For that reason, it’s good practice to provide free-choice salt within the form of rock or block salt to all horses. Salt and hay intake encourages horses to drink, which, as a consequence, prevents dehydration.

If a horse is getting enough quantities of roughage like chaff, hay, or pasture, a potassium deficiency isn’t likely. But most performance horses are given so much grain and so little roughage that they’ll require extra potassium. Potassium deficiencies may produce dehydration and influence water consumption. Horses can’t conserve potassium for any time period, and if the horse is off feed because of pain after an injury, potassium depletion rapidly can occur.  The majority of commercial electrolytes have potassium, though it’s available in different quantities, and a few injured horses that aren’t eating might benefit from electrolyte supplements. As the horse begins consuming hay in sufficient amounts potassium requirements will likely be met.

Magnesium: it’s involved in a number of body functions. To begin with, magnesium is among the major bone minerals. Up to 60 percent of the body’s magnesium is discovered in the skeleton, with just 30 percent of this available for mobilization in times when it’s required elsewhere inside the body. It’s involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions, which includes the generation of cellular energy, as well as decoding of genetic information. Magnesium works along with calcium in muscle contraction and nerve transmission. The role magnesium plays in muscle relaxation is the key to comprehending subclinical symptoms which might be a sign that supplementation might be needed.

The body tried to maintain a magnesium balance outside and inside cells. There’s very little magnesium discovered in the extracellular fluid (around 1 percent), which is the reason why blood testing for magnesium deficiency is fairly inaccurate. Gross magnesium deficiency might be life-threatening yet is seldom witnessed in horses. The present supplemental magnesium uses are aimed at solving subclinical deficiencies, the very ones which are hard to test for yet whose indications are recognizable.

Magnesium for horses is discovered in different quantities in grains and forages. Concentrate feeds might or might not contain extra magnesium, depending upon the quantity in the other ingredients. The quantity of indigestible fiber and existence of oxalates will impact availability of magnesium inside the forages. Magnesium supplement for horses may either be organic (chelated magnesium), or inorganic (magnesium oxide or magnesium sulfate).

CBD Oil for Horses


Chelated Minerals Will Enhance Nutrient Bioavailability

Top horse feeds supply the minerals and vitamins necessary by horses to support general health, nerve function, tissue maintenance, and growth. Chelation is the chemical process in which a mineral is combined with a mix of peptides and amino acids. The resulting substances are well-known as chelates. One other descriptive word, proteinates, refers to amino acid bonds. Such chelated minerals are considered to be more digestible than nonchelated types. Chelation actually makes the minerals more bioavailable (ability to be absorbed and utilized for bodily functions), mainly by protecting them from the effects of additional dietary elements inside the horse’s digestive tract. Chelates and proteinates are described as organic minerals that are in contrast to inorganic minerals, the ones that aren’t bound to amino acids.

Magnesium oxide for horses is maybe the most typically used source and has around a 50 percent absorption rate. The benefit of magnesium oxide is that the body won’t absorb it if there isn’t any deficiency, so it’s hard to overdose a horse on it. Epsom salt (Magnesium sulfate) also is a highly obtainable magnesium horse supplement to the horse for absorption, yet it additionally has the effect of drawing water inside the bowel and triggering diarrhea; therefore, it isn’t suggested for day-to-day use.

Magnesium supplements for horses assists in protecting against free-radical damage and inflammation. What shows promise within the industry of vet medicine is the connection with the protective part of equine magnesium supplement against damage from endotoxins. Horses that have colic resulting in laminitis or endotoxin release are well-known to frequently have low blood magnesium levels, and there’s hope that magnesium treatment in these crucial times might reduce the quantity of damage which occurs.

Magnesium might play a part in equine metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. The link of deficiency inside the cells and diabetes inside the human has been made yet has yet to be medically confirmed in the horse. What researchers know is that insulin might modulate magnesium movement from extracellular or intracellular tissues and blood magnesium levels increase after a meal that is high in sugar or starch, which is a sign that magnesium is involved with insulin action to clear the glucose from blood. If magnesium is low inside the cell, there’ll be impaired carb metabolism and decreased insulin response. Even though there’ve been anecdotal reports within horses of supplemental magnesium improving resistance of insulin, decreasing the quantity of neck fat related to the disease and decreasing the risk of laminitis, a recent study discovered no benefit to feeding a chromium and magnesium supplement to horses with insulin-resistance.

Inside the muscle, magnesium and calcium antagonistically work, and cause magnesium inducing relaxation and muscle contraction. If there isn’t sufficient magnesium, muscles usually spasm. Even though the existence of low magnesium inside the muscle tissue might come from a genetic disorder instead of dietary quantities, there are reports of animals who’ve responded to magnesium supplementation in chronic tying-up treatment.

But, magnesium’s role in nerve excitability was established as an issue when synchronous diaphragmatic flutter happens. Synchronous diaphragmatic flutter includes diaphragm spasmodic contractions and usually is witnessed in endurance horses that have electrolyte imbalances. Also, the condition is known as thumps. Treatment using magnesium and calcium has been discovered to speed recovery.

Serious magnesium deficiency effects such as witnessed in grass tetany in cows are seldom in horses yet were documented.

Magnesium is discovered in calming supplements due to its part in both muscle contraction and nerve excitability, and the suspicion that nervousness might be caused by suboptimal magnesium levels in the diet.

Just as magnesium and calcium have a balancing act inside the body; therefore, it should be in the diet. These minerals are ideally kept inside a ratio of 2.5:1 - 3:1, calcium to magnesium. The usual horse diet will fall into an appropriate range of calcium & magnesium; if magnesium supplementation is warranted, the quantity of calcium within the diet ought to be considered.

Benefits of Hemp Oil for Horses

The quantity of acres committed to the growth of hemp within the United States is rapidly increasing. In most regions, farmers are cultivating hemp in lieu of cotton because it needs less water, as well as still produces a crop which may be utilized for fiber generation for the clothing sector, and seeds with nutritional value. In the year 2018, farmers in the U.S. planted around 75,000 acres; it’s expected to rise to 100,000 - 200,000 acres in the year 2019, only restricted by seed supply.

As it’s federally legal to cultivate hemp, it isn’t not legal in every U.S. state. The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act substantially hampered the production of hemp. Later, Nixon included hemp as a Schedule 1 drug underneath Controlled Substances Act. The Hemp Farming Bill of 2018, more recently, eliminated the Schedule 1 categorization and legalized the production of hemp because the THC content is under 0.3 percent. Hemp crops that have a tetrohydrocannabinol content of more than 0.3 percent have to be destroyed.

Horses and Hemp

Hemp that is grown for fiber and seed is similar to additional conventional grain crops in that the plant grows very tall, the its tops get harvested for their seed, and the rest of the plant material gets harvested for additional uses.

Hemp seeds are a quality source of protein which rival the profile of soybean amino acid, as well as omega-3 fat content. Horse hemp is available in 2 forms: meal and oil.

PurCBD for Horses | Innovet Pet

Hemp oil isn’t to be mistaken for cannabidiol (CBD) oil. While CBD oil may be taken from hemp plants, it’s usually taken from other cannabis plant types. Hemp oil gets taken from hemp seeds and has little to no THC or CBD. With that being said, it is vital that you carefully read product labels because hemp oil taken from other hemp plant parts other than the seed might contain high CBD levels and small amounts of THC.

The seeds contain somewhat less than 3 times more omega-6 than omega-3. While this profile of fatty acid of hemp seeds does not fit the greater omega-3 flaxseed content, the hemp offers an omega-6 fatty acid referred to as gamma linolenic acid. Gamma linolenic acid is slightly unique among omega-6 in that, unlike the majority of omega-6 fatty acids, studies show that it supports anti-inflammatory processes within other animals.

It isn’t found in flaxseed or additional oils usually fed to horses, whereby in hemp oil gamma linolenic acid comprises around 3 percent of the fat make-up. Fat from hemp oil is approximately 76 percent polyunsaturated fatty acid compared with flax oil, which is around 66 percent polyunsaturated fatty acid. Reports imply that horses find hemp oil extremely palatable.

In the meantime, hemp meal has fiber, protein, and different quantities of fat, depending upon whether it was taken for oil. The protein content may be as great as 30 percent, with fat anywhere from 5% - 45%. As aforementioned, the profile of hemp meal amino acid is good; as hemp offers somewhat less lysine than soybean meal yet somewhat more methionine. Also, hemp offers leucine at levels greater than whey protein. Those meals may be fed as a top-dress to offer more fat or protein to the ration, depending upon the nutrient profile, which makes them an excellent choice for horses that need to develop more top line or gain weight.


How Does Hemp Oil Work?

Hemp has multiple compounds referred to as flavonoids and terpenes which interact with regulatory receptors all throughout the body. In activating them, hemp products may unearth therapeutic stability and support over a number of cognitive and physiological functions.

Those functions include stress response, appetite, immune function, energy balance, perception of pain, and autonomic nervous system.

Magnesium in Horse Diets | Innovet Pet

The Endo System

All birds, mammals, and even a few fishes possess a biochemical communication system referred to as the Endo System.

First found in 1990, the Endo System plays a special part in supporting daily functions from an organism’s stress to perception to keeping an immune system’s response in check.

In plain terms, the Endo System is critical to keeping the body working as it should. Now, we know that the system may go down which hurts health around the board. Compounds inside hemp may help the much-needed system in keeping it strong and active.

It’ll do this by activating receptors which make up the Endo System. As well, it’ll help by boosting the amount of endo compounds that normally would activate said receptors.

The Entourage Effect and Full Spectrum

Terpenes interact with one another just as much as they will with endo compounds inside the body. They frequently give one another a helping hand.

For instance, the single compound variation of hemp extract has a difficult time passing blood-brain barriers for absorption, and the effects get stunted.

It occurs because it relies upon some of the additional terpenes and compounds that assist in passing hemp through where it then can interact with receptors.

We refer to it as the entourage effect, and the synergy magnifies potency, provides you the biggest array of medical problems hemp will help with and makes dosing a lot simpler.


Hempseed Oil

It offers healthy fats for the terpenes and hemp extract to attach to, which makes them a lot easier for the body to use and absorb. As a bonus, hempseed oil brings its own benefits of anti-inflammatory omega fats.

Full Spectrum Hemp Extract

Has the full range of terpenes, compounds, and flavonoids with increased quantities of CBG, and CBC for custom support of the endo system.


As hemp generation ramps up within the upcoming years, we might expect to witness an always-increasing amount of hemp-based horse products in the marketplace. It is important to keep in mind that hemp generation presently is an unregulated field; therefore, there’s cause for “buyer beware.”

Carefully read labels to make sure that you aren’t buying products which include CBD or THC if you do not want them—hemp product options that contain those compounds have to disclose this. I also would suggest purchasing products from well-established businesses like Innovet Pet Products which conduct high-quality control of their products.

Hemp horse products are also set to rapidly grow outside the supplement marketplace. Search for hemp bedding and hemp-based baling twine upon the hay, because bioplastics is a huge marketplace for hemp.


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The Importance of Magnesium in Horse Diets
Magnesium as an Equine Dietary Supplement



Approved by:
Dr. Sara Ochoa
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, St. Georges University

Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.

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