Muscles are essential in making the horse move, and an important goal of training should be keeping them strong. Supplements can supplement a balanced diet and exercise routine to promote muscle growth for maximum performance and endurance.
Building muscle requires protein, composed of amino acids. Lysine is particularly essential to horses.
Protein is an essential nutrient in muscle development; however, not all proteins are equal. Muscles consist of amino acids which the horse’s body cannot produce itself but must get from their diet.
An effective equine protein supplement can aid muscle development and overall health by providing essential amino acids that stimulate growth in muscles. Such supplements make a valuable addition to managed feeding programs which combine quality forage with performance-oriented exercises regimens.
High amounts of protein can stimulate a metabolic process which produces the protein-building hormone mTOR. Unfortunately, not all components of mTOR signaling respond similarly when exposed to higher protein intake; as such, it’s crucial that we match dietary protein consumption with physical exercise requirements so as to maximize muscle-building benefits for our horses.
Feed sources such as alfalfa hay, wheat middlings or soybean meal provide extra protein to a horse’s diet while also being great sources of amino acids. Supplementing their diets with high-quality Vitamin E supplements such as Pavo MuscleCare will also aid recovery from intense training or competition (source: Ridehesten 03/2018). Together these nutrients help horses remain strong and perform at their best!
Vitamins & Minerals
Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and biotin play an integral part in nearly every chemical reaction occurring within a horse’s body, including metabolism, growth and energy generation. Sources for B vitamins in horses’ diets may include fresh green leaves, cereal grains or intestinal bacteria synthesis; specific requirements have only been set forth for thiamin and riboflavin.
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin essential for optimal cell functioning and the formation of collagen-rich tissues like bones, cartilage and soft tissues like tendons and muscles. As well as being an antioxidative powerhouse, horses can produce their own source of Vitamin C via glucose metabolism in their livers; however, supplements may provide extra support during stressful or intense physical work sessions.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral, essential to many cellular processes including muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. As one of the major minerals found in bone, phosphorus is one of the key nutrients for young horses’ growth and development; older horses may require extra phosphorus as part of their diet as well. Phosphorus can be obtained from forage as well as supplemented into most equine concentrates.
Vitamin A, commonly referred to as beta-carotene, is a fat-soluble vitamin which aids the horse in using other nutrients effectively while maintaining a healthy skin and coat. Vitamin A also acts as an important cofactor in enzymes responsible for blood clotting and bone mineralization; thus making it a common addition in horse feeds.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty acids play an integral part in a horse’s natural diet and serve multiple functions in its body, from providing energy sources and carriers of fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K) to being precursors or integral parts of hormones like cortisol and prostaglandins. Fatty acids are also the substrate for downstream molecules known as resolvins and protectins which help manage inflammation.
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are both essential, but their body cannot produce them on its own; hence they must be obtained through diet. Omega-3s include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA), with their derivatives such as EPA and DHA being responsible for producing anti-inflammatory eicosanoids which have multiple benefits to health.
Mad Barn’s W-3 Oil uses a unique combination of fish oils, soybean oil and microalgae to provide a highly balanced omega-3: omega-6 ratio that stands out among comparable products. Omega-3s possess anti-inflammatory properties while omega-6s promote pro-inflammatory reactions.
Feeding your horse a balanced omega supplement will promote healthy tissues and aid muscle development, leading to increased blood flow and less inflammation resulting in faster work without increased risk of injury.
Exercise puts undue strain on muscles cells, leading to excessive free radical production and damage which in turn contributes to fatigue, soreness and slower recovery times. Free radicals also compromise immunity leaving horses more susceptible to disease and infection – for this reason a good natural antioxidant supplement such as that found in MELOFEED or ALOKSEL range from Lallemand Animal Nutrition can be essential in supporting their wellbeing and performance.
Vitamin E is the main antioxidant, providing protection to muscle tissue and cell membranes from free radical damage caused by free radicals. Muscle cells contain lipid molecules which are particularly vulnerable to free radical damage; thus it’s crucial that people supplement a healthy diet with sufficient amounts of Vitamin E – since our bodies cannot produce this antioxidant naturally.
Lipoic acid, as both water- and fat-soluble antioxidants, provides full body protection by working across tissues to safeguard them. Furthermore, this powerful dietary antioxidant regenerates other important antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E; further research has demonstrated how N-acetyl cysteine and Coenzyme Q10 combined together can boost levels of Lipoic Acid as well as Vitamin E in skeletal muscles to further increase their ability to neutralize harmful oxidants and protect from muscle damage.