Why does a horse need vitamin c?
Vitamin C for horses is involved in hundreds of metabolic processes in the body and it is also vital to a healthy, efficiently-functioning immune system. It is an important water soluble antioxidant in the horse’s body, which limits damage by neutralising free radicals.
In most situations, horses produce enough vitamin C in their own bodies to meet their needs. Eating green, leafy forage also tops up the horse’s vitamin C levels, but there are circumstances where supplementing with vitamin C may be recommended.
During periods of stress or intensive exercise, or in the wake of illness or injury a horse may need more vitamin C than its body can produce. Infectious diseases and extreme cases of parasite infestation may deplete vitamin C production which is why the supplement is sometimes used when caring for rescued horses and ponies found in very poor condition.
Some research suggests that highly-strung horses that become over-stressed by training or racing may stop producing vitamin C – or produce far less. Horses with recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), which used to be called COPD, have depleted levels of vitamin C in their blood and lungs, and they should always be supplemented. All stabled horses could benefit from supplementary vitamin C to help support their airway function.
The source of vitamin C used in a supplement is important because the most commonly used type – ascorbic acid for horses – is not very bioavailable to the horse. Ascorbyl monophosphate, the type used in Equestrizone’s Pure Vitamin C, is more bioavailable and is recommended by vets and nutritionists.
Benefits of vitamin c for horses:
- Essential in the production of collagen, GAGs and other critical connective tissue elements
- Neutralises free radicals during times of illness, injury and stress
- Heavy exercise, illness, injury and stress and can result in loss of vitamin C
- Horses with RAO are depleted of vitamin C and should always be supplemented
- Horses on anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroids or antibiotics may also have depressed levels of vitamin C
- Recommended for joint, cardiovascular, and periodontal support, as well as stressed, geriatric, injured or horses who need extra immune support