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Vitamin E: A Small Compound That Packs a Huge Punch

Over the last few years the news has been full of articles that tout the importance of proper supplementation with vitamin E. Credited with everything from a better health, increased well being, and anti aging properties in humans (vitamin E has been found to be an antioxidant), it was only a matter of time until researchers came to realize the importance of this vitamin in the animal kingdom.

Thus, in recent years there has been a movement to supplement the feed of broodmares and also performance horses with vitamin E, since these animals are more stressed than their non-working counterparts.

It has been discovered that wobblers and also horses to tend to tie-up will benefit from higher levels of vitamin E in their feed. In order to receive the maximum benefit, the supplement needs to be given in conjunction with a fatty feed, since vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin. As it prevents the oxidization

of fatty cell components during exercise, it permits the horses to recover more quickly. Of course, there are other compounds that help with the metabolism of vitamin E. Selenium, a mineral, works together with vitamin E as it helps with the secretion of toxic substances.

For those who are a bit rusty on the concept of antioxidants, it is important to remember the facts of oxidation. As your horse exercises, its cell structure threatens to be broken down because of compounds that contain oxygen. The more strenuous the exercises, the more oxygen containing compounds are present. The results are injuries brought on by cellular damage. To fight oxidation, the horseís metabolism needs nutrients, especially vitamin E, but also vitamin C, beta carotene, and minerals, such as selenium, copper and zinc. The minerals permit the animalís body to metabolize the products of oxidation and changing them into easily secreted byproducts. The reason for a combined approach to counteract oxidation rests on the fact that different nutrients fight oxidation in different portions of the cellular structure.

Left unchecked and untreated, oxidation will cause the cellular structures to collapse, and the result may be a lowered immune system. Additionally, muscles will no longer adequately perform their tasks. Weight loss is imminent, as is lowered energy and decreased performance. Fortunately, you will be able to counteract this effect simply by supplementing your animalís diet with vitamin E and also selenium. If you are mixing your own supplements, keep in mind that while high levels of vitamin E are not dangerous, high levels of selenium are. Copper and zinc should also be added carefully. Quality feed will already contain sufficient amounts of these minerals, making it easier for you to assure your horseís dietary health. Whenever possible, choose a feed that uses organic zinc and copper rather than their inorganic counterparts. The former are metabolized more fully. Another antioxidant of note is vitamin C. the main difference between vitamins E and C is simply the fact that the former works on the cell membrane while the latter goes to work inside the actual cell itself. Beta carotene, as it is found in fresh grass, helps the body to heal itself.



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