Vitamin E Facts And Myths

By: Lara Schroer

Horses of different life stages and work levels require different levels of nutrition. One thing in common among all horses is their basic nutritional requirements. Water, forage, and minerals are necessary for all equines to thrive regardless of their lifestyle. As a horse’s work level increases, we often find ourselves needing to supplement their diets to keep them looking, feeling, and performing at their best. Typing “equine supplements” into your search bar will quickly bring up millions of results that can be overwhelming and misleading for even the most educated horse owner. A top-dressing oil is one of the most common fat supplements available on the market. Flax, soy, and fish oil, oh my! These common top-dressing oils all have one thing in common, Omega 3, 6, & 9. But one thing that most top-dressing oils are missing is vitamin E!
That’s where Excel Supplements™ comes in. Our ExcelEQ™ and ExcelEQ ProElite™ formulas not only provide a well-balanced source of those Omega fatty acids but also provide the extraordinary benefits of vitamin E. Using what knowledge, you already possess about equine nutrition and vitamin E, play along in this quick facts & myths sheet and test your skills!

“Through the use of our all natural, non-GMO proprietary blend of camelina oils (45% of the valuable omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and provides a unique balance of omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids) Excel Supplements helps the horses body absorb the nutrients it needs to have a healthy diet and body condition.”

1. Horses obtain vitamin E primarily through green pasture

FACT! Lush green grass contains naturally occurring vitamin E and usually contains enough fat to support absorption. However, not all horse owners or horses have adequate access to lush green pasture year-round and may need to be supplemented.

2. A vitamin E deficiency can cause long term problems and develop into diseases

FACT! A young horse with a vitamin E deficiency is more likely to develop nutritional myodegeneration (when combined with selenium deficiency), equine neuroaxonal dystrophy, and even equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy.

3. All vitamin E supplements are the same

MYTH! There are several forms of vitamin E yet only the organic naturally occurring form of vitamin E contains a form known as d-alpha-tocopherol.  While synthetic forms of vitamin E, known as dl-alpha-tocopherol, are available, the natural form of vitamin E has been proven to be the most bioavailable to horses.

4. Hay maintains its vitamin E contents after it has been harvested

MYTH! Even excellent quality hay begins to lose its nutritional value as soon as it is cut and stored. Research shows that hay can lose up to 50% of its vitamin E after only one month of storage!

5. Vitamin E helps to support multiple bodily functions in the horse

FACT! Not only does vitamin E work as a biological antioxidant that maintains normal neuromuscular function, it also supports healthy eyes, the reproductive system, immune system, and healthy skin and coat.

6. Horses are good at building up and storing vitamin E

MYTH! Fat stores in the body may be capable of storing enough vitamin E to get the horse through a short period of a diet lacking in vitamin E, such as the winter months. However, horses cannot go a long period of time without proper forage and vitamins in their diet.

7. Vitamin E is only one vitamin

MYTH! Vitamin E is a group of 8 compounds,alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol, that are fat soluble. It is because of their solubility that vitamin E must be delivered with a fat for it to be properly absorbed by the horse’s body.

Vitamin E in Excel Supplements™

The vitamin E in Excel Supplements™ largely consists of Gamma-tocopherol and serves two important functions: as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. However, it is important to understand that Excel™ is not a vitamin E supplement. Instead, it helps the horse’s body absorb vitamin E from is natural diet, leaving a majority of the horses we see not in need for a vitamin E supplement.
The following is the breakdown of Excel Supplements™ into its different tocopherol components:
Total tocopherols- 700PPM or 760-800 mg/kg
Alpha-tocopherol: 30 – 40 mg/kg
Gamma –tocopherol: 720 – 740 mg/kg
Delta-tocopherol: 10 – 20 mg/kg
Alpha-Tocopherol IU’s:  20- 27 IUs per Kg or .6-.8 IU’s per ounce*
*An IU (International Unit) is a unit of measurement for vitamins and other specific biologically active substances. The precise measure of one IU differs from substance to substance and is established by international agreement for each substance.
Vitamin E: 1 IU is the biological equivalent of 0.67 mg d-alpha-tocopherol, or 0.9 mg of dl-alpha-tocopherol 

So, what sets Excel Supplements™ apart?

The best way to understand Excel Supplements™ and its benefits are to understand your horses body. Through the use of our all natural, non-GMO proprietary blend of camelina oils (45% of the valuable omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and provides a unique balance of omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids) Excel Supplements™ helps the horses body absorb the nutrients it needs to have a healthy diet and body condition. Making unnecessary supplementation or over supplementation a thing of the past.

Sources:
Ramey, David. “Vitamin E.” David Ramey, DVM, 16 Dec. 2018, www.doctorramey.com/vitamin-e/.
Kentucky Equine Research Staff. “Choose Natural Vitamin E for Horses.” Kentucky Equine Research, 25 June 2019, ker.com/equinews/choose-natural-vitamin-e-horses/.

About the Author

Taylor Czesnik

Taylor Czesnik has been involved in the horse world for 20 years.  She grew up riding and showing in Colts Neck, NJ and attended Virginia Intermont College.  Taylor spent many years as a manager and flat rider for Oasis Show Stables, Kristy Herrera traveling to AA horse shows all over the east coast.  She also spent time as a groom for Trade Winds Farm, and has free lanced for many other top professionals.  Taylor has since changed roles and is the current Media and Communications Manager for Excel.  Along with writing, Taylor loves spending time with her dog, Ellie, riding, and attending horse shows in her free time.