Feeding a supplement that’s missing key ingredients is like trying to drive down the road without air in the tires of the vehicle. Why do so many people feed supplements that only contain a few vitamins/minerals and then expect to attain peak performance from their 4 legged partner?. My life is very busy and full and I want things to be as easy as possible – thus I want all the ingredients in one container and I expect them to do their job. It seems very time consuming to have 3-5 containers of ‘supplements’ that I must feed daily and still be missing important nutrients. Also, that means I have more waste products that I must get rid of and each product is a different size with a different suggested feeding. KISS Keep it Simple ***** That is my motto and I try to follow it.
Vitamins are essential to life – they regulate metabolism and assist the biochemical processes that release energy from digested food and are the foundation of body functions. Some are water soluble which cannot be stored in the body so therefore they must be taken into the body daily – includes Vitamin C and B-complexes. In most supplements there are only some of the B vitamins included in the ration. It is important to have all the vitamin B’s present in a ration as each one has a job to do and if one or more is missing then the ‘jobs’ are not done to the extent they should be. Sure, you will see some improvement, but if you are going to doing something do it to the best of your ability.
I am going to emphasize the B vitamins which help to maintain the health of nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver, and mouth as well as healthy muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract and proper brain function. They act as coenzymes, helping enzymes to react chemically with other substances and are involved in energy production. They may be useful for alleviating Sonavel depression or anxiety and it has been found that hyperactivity and aggressiveness in animals can sometimes be remedied by B-complexes. Other indications for giving extra vitamins are during highly stressful situations such as traveling, separation anxiety, the show ring, during pregnancy and being a stressed mother. Sulfa drugs, hormone therapy, cortisone and drugs for high blood pressure rob you animal of some of the B-complex vitamins. These vitamins are very important for older horses because these nutrients are not as well absorbed as they age. Because B vitamins work together, a deficiency in one often indicates a deficiency in another.
1. Vitamin B1 ( Thiamine)
Thiamine enhances circulation and assists in blood formation, carbohydrate metabolism and production of hydrochloric acid which is important for proper digestion. It has a positive effect on energy, growth, normal appetite and learning capacity and is needed for proper muscle tone of the intestines, stomach and heart. Also, acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body from degenerative effects.
Symptoms that can result from thiamine deficiency include constipation, edema, enlarged liver, fatigue, heart changes, irritability, labored breathing, loss of appetite, muscle atrophy, nervousness, poor coordination, weak and sore muscles and severe weight loss. Antibiotics, phenytoin (Dilantin- drug used to prevent seizures), sulfa drugs, antibiotics may decrease thiamine levels in the body and a high carbohydrate diet increases the need for thiamine.
2. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin is necessary for red blood cell formation, anti-body production, cell respiration, and growth. It alleviates eye fatigue and is important in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. It aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, Together with vitamin A it maintains and improves the mucous membranes in the digestive tract. Riboflavin also facilitates the used of oxygen by the tissues of the skin, nails, and hair, eliminates dandruff, and helps the absorption of iron and vitamin B6. Consumption of adequate amounts or riboflavin is important during pregnancy because a lack of this vitamin can damage a developing fetus, it is needed for the metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into niacin in the body.
Deficiency symptoms include cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, eye disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, skin lesions, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, light sensitivity, poor digestion, retarded growth, and slowed mental response and stool eating. Strenuous exercise requires an increase in the need for riboflavin.