Supplemental Vitamin C: A Necessity In Older Equines

Though young horses are able to produce all the vitamin C needed to keep them healthy, older horses need supplemental vitamin C to maintain their health. Decreased liver function, as well as a decline in hindgut microflora, is thought to be the culprit, but pituitary dysfunction may also be to blame.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant; it neutralizes free radicals, which are present during physical or mental stress, illness or inflammation. Vitamin C also helps maintain joint and bone health by assisting with collagen synthesis; it also acts as an antihistamine.

Vitamin C is an ascorbic acid that can be derived from flowers or food, or it can be made in a lab. Naturally derived vitamin C is not better than lab-created vitamin C. Ascorbic acid comes in multiple forms, all of which have similar efficacy and absorption.

  • Ester-C is ascorbic acid that is chemically attached to calcium. It is easier on the digestive tract and contains vitamin C metabolites that may be absorbed better.
  • Buffered mineral acorbates are less acidic; this form typically mixes Vitamin C with magnesium or calcium to minimize digestive upset. This form may be helpful for horses with chronic diarrhea or ulcers.
  • Ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids may be absorbed more easily. Bioflavinoids are also helpful for respiratory allergies.

Vitamin C is water soluble, so any excess in a horse’s system is easily excreted in urine. It also tends to be bitter, so dividing the doses between meals may encourage the horse to eat it. Horses that are in their late teens can benefit from vitamin C supplementation; horses that are over 20 can receive an even higher dose. The National Research Council (NRC) suggests that 44 mg of vitamin C per kg of body weight is safe.

Read more at Equine Info Exchange.

The post Supplemental Vitamin C: A Necessity In Older Equines appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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