There are many herbs, plants, and probiotics that can stimulate the immune system, but they won’t help if the horse’s body does not have the basic nutrients it needs to respond. That missing link can be provided by the diet.
You may not think of them this way, but basic vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in your horse’s immune system. There is a place for immune stimulating products, but before considering one, it’s vital to build the foundation into your horse’s immune system with a good vitamin/mineral supplement.
Magnesium maintains function of T lymphocytes. Magnesium also participates in the regulation of inflammatory cytokines.
Forms the active center of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase. Copper maintains the structural integrity of skin, mucus membranes and lymph nodes. Required for normal production of the neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.
Like Copper, Zinc can form the active center of antioxidant superoxide dismutase. Zinc is important at multiple steps in the production of immune system cells and their function including direct cellular killing of organisms as well as antibody production.
A Selenium enzyme keeps the antioxidant glutathione functioning. Selenium is involved in antibody production.
Iodine forms the core of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones influence T lymphocyte numbers and activity.
The B vitamins are essential for all rapidly dividing tissues, including white blood cells in the bone marrow and lymph nodes.
Vitamin A deficiency depresses immune system functions across the board, including antibody production.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and has far-reaching effects in the immune system including increasing immunoglobulin (antibody) levels in mare’s colostrum and in their foals.
When fighting a disease the immune system generates huge amounts of oxygen free radicals. Vitamin C is the antioxidant that protects structures inside the cells from also being damaged and protects the lungs from environmental free radicals.
These are the major players with roles possible for other nutrients as well such as Chromium and Vitamin D.
Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, offers products that address foundational nutrients.
Equi-VM. Vitamin and trace mineral formula is a concentrated source of vitamins, time-released trace minerals, abundant probiotics, and digestive enzymes.
U-Balance Foundation. Broad-based amino acid, vitamin, and mineral pellet provides generous levels of key nutrients that may be deficient or imbalanced in the horse’s diet.
Equi-Base Grass. Comprehensive base vitamin/mineral mix designed to balance diets based on grass hay/forage or a 50/50 alfalfa grass forage blend with high concentrations of vitamins and minerals.
Author Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience. Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal. www.ecirhorse.org Uckele Health & Nutrition is an innovation-driven health company committed to being on the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years. Uckele takes pride in formulating and manufacturing a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances for equine athletes and companion animals to help achieve optimal health. For more information visit www.uckele.com.