We understand that the demands we place on the equine athlete, and the diet that is necessary to meet their energy requirements, can be extremely damaging to their digestive health. Our supplements provide absolutely no detriment to gut health, in fact, we can help!
Magnesium, Stress and Gut Ulceration
Nupafeed products all contain our magnesium compound, MAH. There is a well established link between stress and gut ulceration, and also between poor magnesium intake and stress. As well as numerous other conditions, magnesium deficiency is a known cause of stress, anxiety, depression and hypertension; all of which are risk factors associated with gastric ulceration in humans.
Studies in mice have shown that those with a naturally higher magnesium level in their blood are far less prone to developing stress induced ulcers, similarly that giving a diet low in magnesium will result in greater susceptibility and that magnesium supplementation can be a successful preventative measure (Henrotte et al. 1995).
In a culture that loves and spoils our horses, investing hugely in giving them the best of everything, why is it that magnesium deficiency is such a problem? The sad fact is that it is because of how we keep them. Not only do we put horses under a huge amount of stress just by confining and controlling them, let alone riding, travelling and competing, but their diet is far from natural. The horse has evolved eating huge amounts of very rough pasture, this would mean that they were consuming far larger amounts of magnesium and also far less of the other rich nutrients such as calcium. It is of vital importance to increase magnesium intake relative to calcium. High intakes of calcium (and fat) can intensify magnesium inadequacy, and this low magnesium to calcium ratio increases the release of catecholamine’s and corticosteroids (stress hormones) which can be hugely detrimental to your horses’ temperament and health.
The increased release of corticosteroids is damaging because it inhibits the production of prostaglandins which vitally protect the stomach from its acidic contents.
It seems therefore, that we should be paying far greater attention to magnesium supplementation in cases of stress and gastric disturbance, particularly as nutraceutical aids which aim to neutralize stomach acid tend to be very high in calcium and even fat (which is commonly increased to replace the calories gained by problematic starchy feeds) could be detrimental to magnesium status.
Furthermore, medicines which are used for the treatment of gut ulceration manage gastric acid by acting as proton pump inhibitors; this action is also greatly detrimental to magnesium absorption.
Supplementing magnesium could therefore be hugely important in the management of stress, not only in directly helping to prevent and manage gastritis and ulceration, but also in helping to improve health and condition in susceptible horses, and managing their ability to cope with the inevitable stresses of pain, box rest, veterinary procedures and so forth.