7 Myths and Facts about Vitamin E and Vitamin E supplements
By: Lara Schroer
For decades, horses of all ages and breeds have been utilizing Vitamin E supplements in their diet, but are they really getting enough? While hay and natural forage should contain enough vitamins and minerals to keep a horses diet balanced, we often find ourselves needing to supplement their diet. For instance, seeing muscle loss, inconsistent weight gain and muscle development, dull coat, brittle hooves and more is often telling you that your horses diet is incomplete. As a result, 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.
Top-dressing oils such as flax, soy, and fish oil, are some of the most common supplements available on the market. While flax and fish oil, for example, have Omega components, they are lacking in Vitamin E. As a result, there is a huge need for a formula that can help provide a source of Omega fatty acids in conjunction with Vitamin E. So, what do you feed your horse? Excel Supplements™ has a revolutionary solution. Created and developed specifically with Omega and Vitamin E components in mind, Excel’s proprietary Camelina oil leaves the search for a balanced supplement is a thing of the past!
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, however 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. In addition, 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. Subsequently, the vitamin E in Excel Supplements™ largely consists of Gamma-tocopherol and serves two important functions. First, it acts as a powerful antioxidant and secondly, acts as a strong anti-inflammatory agent.
Here is 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?
To sum up, the best way to understand Excel Supplements™ and its benefits are to understand your horses body. Excel’s proprietary blend of camelina oils is made up of 45% of the valuable omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid that is often times desired in a horses diet. Because of our exclusive ingredients, we are able to provide a unique balance of omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. Due to its proprietary formula, Excel Supplements™ helps the horses body absorb the nutrients it needs to have a healthy diet and body condition. In conclusion, Excel’s products makes unnecessary supplementation or over supplementation a thing of the past.
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/.
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About the Author
Lara grew up in the Greater Cincinnati area where she was an active member in 4-H and FFA, winning several state and national titles. She attended Morehead State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Agri-Business in 2019. While earning her degree, Lara rode Hunt Seat Equitation on the IHSA circuit and mentored fellow riders. In her free time, Lara enjoys hiking, golfing, sharing her love of horses with others, and spending time with her family and pets.