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Why magnesium as a horse supplement?

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  • #21
    Really nothing but anecdotal results to report, but when I was getting ready to move my horse to a new barn, the current BO suggested adding mag as a supplement for my horse, who tends to be a worrier and has a tight back. The Smart-Pak Mag 3000 really helped take the edge off his anxiety. He's been on Mag 3000 for over a year now. It seems to help him with his stress, and he's really mellow. However; he also now has loose poop from time to time, so I wonder if this is a side effect of the Mag 3000.


    • #22
      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
      What is magnesium oil?

      Shrug. I'm not a believer, but figured it would be worth a try and not likely to hurt. Figured I'd give it a bottle and then re-evaluate. I have long standing horrible insomnia and anxiety issues...if this helps, great! If not...it wasn't expensive. Too early to tell with the anxiety and insomnia (I'll have to back off the meds to find out) but the SI thing sure has felt good recently.


      • Original Poster

        I appreciate all opinions, even seemingly "dumb" ones

        As I said in the OP, my horse gets Magnesium 5000. I'm just not convinced it does anything and am leaning towards stopping it. I tried it on myself and felt absolutely no difference.

        On this rainy/snowy/sleety morning, I decided to do a little more research. "MagRestore" is apparently dimagnesium malate, a form of magnesium that is supposedly superior to magnesium oxide because it has better bioavailability (absorption). Interestingly, though, they recommend giving up to 20 grams per day, which would be like me giving my horse 4 times the amount of Magnesium 5000 she currently gets


        • #24
          I'm also in the camp of " I should stop wasting my money on this". I've actually fed MagOx for years, but not convinced it's doing anything. I nevertheless keep giving it because I also feed some alfalfa, but hey even for that reason, it's a lame claim to feed it.

          I can see where some forms are more absorbable than others, my latest try was Grand Calm by Grand Meadows, containing different forms of Mg (oxide, carbonate & magnesium chelate), but again I see no difference. I've had them throw up their butts in turnout when on it and seen them dead quiet when not on it. So yeah seems it soothes my mind more than theirs.


          • #25
            If you take away a product to see if it was really doing anything, then write down exactly when, what, and make SURE you make note of any other changes. Even something as seemingly benign as stopping a supplement but getting a new batch of hay can skew results.
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • #26
              Simkie - One thing mag. does is relax muscles. So, if your SI is feeling better, it might be that some spasmed/tight muscles in that area have relaxed and have stopped pulling on the joint. I have used it for myself and have always noticed my muscles are looser with it than without -- it's even had analgesic effects for me after a 'severe' workout when I'm sore the next day. So, I am always willing to extrapolate that experience to horses...

              I work with a nutritionist, and, sorry, MD types, magnesium is women's #1 nutritional deficiency. But, then again, I've not met a reputable nutritionist who don't look a little tight around the mouth whenever the comment, "my doctor says..." comes up.

              I guess I'm always a little surprised how the science people on this thread always seem closed-minded. Could that be? They must know that every experiment, every research foray of importance (not to support the marketing of a brand), began with a hunch? Intuition, perception, whatever... so it seems anecdotal experience is incredibly valuable. In fact, this entire board appears to be built on anecdotal experiences.

              RAyers, the "wet saddle pad" as a solution to high comment behavior ... is this your 'training' answer to a horse's tension and anxiety? Just checking to make sure that IS the meaning of your comment... before being appalled at such an obtuse approach to training.


              • #27
                I don't think many people are saying it has zero effect, just stating that at this point in time there is little evidence it does work. I am sure if there was a legitimate experiment done with results that say it does have some effect that they wouldn't be as skeptical.

                As for RAyers I took the comment to mean that work and time it usually what helps young horses, not that they get worked into the ground to get quiet.

                I do know that often with people, especially non pros can get nervous around their horses and their nerves cause their horse to be tight, some of these anecdotal experiences (not all) could be just the owner thinking it works so they relax and in turn their horse relaxes.

                Many supplements are just a way to make ourselves feel better, I have my horse on a joint supplement, although I really know that it helps him mostly because it has Devil's Claw in it and not because of the other ingredients as much, not saying that they are doing nothing, I just know the big improvement I see while he is on it is mostly due that that (takes away his stiffness).

                Maybe there are cases out there that Mg helps, but I had a very reactive tight mare, Mg did nothing to help her, B vitamins did nothing, hormones helped some, but honestly the only thing that "helped" her was a little ace. I sold her and even in full time training she was still very difficult (I was 12 when I got her, horrible match!), very pretty though and last I heard she was a broodmare because they couldn't get her to be consistent enough under saddle.

                In my experience Mg hasn't worked (mares, geldings, powder, pellets and even injections).


                • #28
                  Originally posted by cyberbay View Post
                  I work with a nutritionist, and, sorry, MD types, magnesium is women's #1 nutritional deficiency. But, then again, I've not met a reputable nutritionist who don't look a little tight around the mouth whenever the comment, "my doctor says..." comes up.


                  RAyers, the "wet saddle pad" as a solution to high comment behavior ... is this your 'training' answer to a horse's tension and anxiety? Just checking to make sure that IS the meaning of your comment... before being appalled at such an obtuse approach to training.
                  The only studies, true research studies that include those done by the NIH, I have read state magnesium deficiency is RARE in the US, provided the person has a balanced diet. It is not that there is no Mg in the food. People, women, are not eating the foods they need to be. It makes sense why a nutritionist would say what they do but it is an inaccurate blanket statement.

                  Given that horses eat a forage diet and that Mg is the 7th most abundant mineral on earth, it would be difficult for horses in a proper diet to also have Mg deficiency. As stated by Torhru Matsui in his chapter in "New perspectives in magnesium research: nutrition and research." Edited by Yoshiki Nishizawa, Hirotoshi Morii, Jean Durlach,

                  "Typical feed ingredients contain sufficient amounts of magnesium thus practical diets usually contain adequate Mg in many species and Mg deficiency is rare." Additionally, it is stated that horses have increase Mg absortion sensitivity as compared to other animals and ruminants and that Mg deficiency in horses is most likely the result of improper diet.

                  FYI, a recent article by Chameroy et al., 2010, showed that chromium and magnesium supplementation had no effect on IR horses, for those who use the human diabetes argument.

                  As for my "wet blanket" comment, whbar is spot on. Good, solid, correct training and hours in the saddle do more for the reactivity of a horse than any supplement. I have always had very high strung horses but they have to relax and settle to be able to work in the dressage ring. I spent the time and hours to build up a trust and training that enables the horse to work relaxed and effectively even if they are about to explode out of their skin.

                  In my opinion, as the pleasure horse industry changes and moves away from those who have more money but do not live on farms nor have time to really ride/train, Mg supplementation is just the latest fad in making horse back riding as easy as riding a bike.


                  • #29
                    Sorry, but having a high standard for accepting something as factual, safe, and efficacious is not the sign of a "closed mind". Reading something on Google is no substitute for the careful and ruthless review of scientific literature that goes with being a scientist. Boring? Yes.

                    I would define an open mind as one that is capable of filtering BS from truth without getting hung up in fads or pseudoscience. And every "nutritionist" I've ever met sho was worth the title has been just as ruthless in literature review. However, there are lots of fluffy, faddish, and poorly informed ones out there, too. It's a tough way to make a living.
                    Click here before you buy.


                    • #30
                      Delta what did you think of the studies that I linked to? Are there more recent studies?

                      On a HR note, I was thinking of trying a chelated Magnesium supplement for the pony because her diet is mostly hay and she's IR. The only grass she gets is through a very small hole in a grazing muzzle. Plus, that study that RAyers linked to had a grand total of 6 horses per group (testing and control). That's not very many.


                      • #31
                        gray, one of the abstracts you linked was the exact same one I was referring to as an example of a PRELIMINARY piece of work. It involved something like 40 or 50 subjects and only very preliminary conclusions were drawn. Yet IME this particular citation is linked on just about every website selling magnesium products as "SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE!!".

                        I tend to look at these things as MUCH more humble and tiny bits of information, which ought to guide MORE research, not places to plant a flag and make declarations of efficacy. But the supplement industry tends to be in a bit of a hurry and sort of skips over all those tedious steps between promising little studies that give us tiny glimmers of information to reaping their profits.

                        If you read the studies carefully, the authors are extremely cautious about drawing conclusions and use the words "may", "could", "possibly" a lot. But by God these are citations in the scientific literature, no matter how humble, and they are flogged out on parade as such, overdressed in the costume of sweeping conclusion. There are products to sell, after all!
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #32
                          Yes, the studies are preliminary, but Mg supplements don't cost much and if they may help why not.

                          Heck 40 or 50 subjects is a lot more than a total of 12.


                          • #33
                            Yes, the studies are preliminary, but Mg supplements don't cost much and if they may help why not.
                            It's a good selling philosophy, and it works. Me, given the choice between keeping a dollar and spending it on something that "may help, can't hurt", I'll keep the dollar. I also choose to not support an industry that substitutes fear-mongering and slick advertising for data and evidence. Again, everyone can choose for themseves here.

                            Everyone's level of comfort with this varies, of course. And even "cheap" supplements are probably overpriced since magnesium is literally as cheap as dirt and ought to cost virtually nothing.
                            Click here before you buy.


                            • #34
                              Mine is on magnesium, selenium and Vit E. He has a kissing spine and metabolic issues. He is much more pleasant and willing to work when he is on these.


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                It's a good selling philosophy, and it works. Me, given the choice between keeping a dollar and spending it on something that "may help, can't hurt", I'll keep the dollar. I also choose to not support an industry that substitutes fear-mongering and slick advertising for data and evidence.
                                Oh you mean like the big pharmaceutical companies?


                                • #36
                                  Yes. Did you think perhaps I would give them a pass? I absolutely loathe direct-to-consumer drug advertising and am violently opposed to it. Either a drug is worth using or it is not. That is determiined by evidence and lots of it. Certainly not by what scares the crap out of people. But the pharmaceutical industry at least HAS evidence (still requiring LOTS of critical and ruthless interpretation) because there wouldn't be FDA approval without it. Whereas the supplement industry usually has . . . bupkis, or the tepid stuff that is featured in this thread.

                                  For the record, 95% of what I use is generic drugs. Only use the expensive stuff when there are no better alternatives. Doesn't mean the expensive drugs are BAD, but they are (IMO) overpriced and I like to see a few wrinkles on a drug (meaning years in the trenches) before I declare myself perfectly comfortable with it.

                                  Sometimes newer IS better and we are forced to pass these expensive drugs along to patients because there is a clear benefit over generics. But we all celebrate when the patents eventually expire.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #37
                                    Based upon those studies if I had metabolic syndrome or hypertension I would try magnesium, as there may not be enough financial incentive for large long term studies. A study will not necessarily determine what a drug or supplement does for a particular individual.

                                    I'm not anti-science, btw. I have a biology degree and research experience.


                                    • #38
                                      There are blood tests for it. A blood test showing Mg deficiency make not be accurate immediately, as it is a slow, ongoing process that also involves the uptake/regulation of Ca/Ph.

                                      Approximately 50% of total body magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of the body's magnesium supply is found in blood, and the body works very hard to keep blood levels of magnesium constant. If your body is running low on magnesium, blood levels take top priority and are maintained at the expense of the bones and cells.

                                      Given this, it's easy to see why blood tests could misrepresent actual magnesium levels in the body. Relying solely on blood tests to check magnesium levels — will miss an important piece in the whole health puzzle.

                                      If you try Mg and it work, great, there is your answer. If Mg does not work for you, perhaps more saddle time is the answer.

                                      ETA: ranges 50-60 % in bone. I work in the cardiovscular pharmacolody field but any lit search on the web can give you similar answers. =) (for those who are going to ask for references!)

                                      Granted, this is for HUMAN deficiency from the NIH, but it discusses some symptoms in people. For my crazy mare, she is clearly SEVERELY lacking as she hallucinates on a regular basis ..... =)

                                      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21392659 (horse related, lots of other links)

                                      So, there is real studies, real data being used to study hyper and hypo Mg related disorders. These studies are being done by real scientists.

                                      Real life anacedotes are great and can be helpful. I like scientifc data to back up any claims. Not that I, personally, have not had those "JUST BECAUSE" stories...

                                      As with any supplement, read the directions, discuss w/ your vet. This is my Public Service Announcement. Now I need coffee....
                                      Last edited by Pennywell Bay; Jan. 22, 2012, 09:16 AM.
                                      Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post

                                        ETA: ranges 50-60 % in bone. I work in the cardiovscular pharmacolody field but any lit search on the web can give you similar answers. =) (for those who are going to ask for references!)
                                        And I work in orthopaedics.

                                        Where did that number come from? Mg can, AT BEST, substitute into 7%-15% of the calcium defect sites in bone before the crystal loses stability (causing failure of bones). The laws of physics preclude more Mg in bone because it destabilizes the phosphate ionic coordination.

                                        This is not just from literature (e.g. Hydroxylapatite with substituted magnesium, zinc, cadmium, and yttrium. I. Structure and microstructure. Ergun et al., 2001) but from my own research looking at calcium phosphate formation and substitution (results to be published).



                                        • Original Poster

                                          I think what she meant is that 50-60% of the magnesium in the body is found in bones, not that bones are made up of 50% magnesium.

                                          I placed my Smartpak order today without the magnesium. If my mare turns into a raving maniac, I'll blame you all
                                          Last edited by Jeito; Jan. 22, 2012, 09:58 AM.