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Why magnesium as a horse supplement?

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  • #41
    Originally posted by Discobold View Post
    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
    Thank you for reading for comprehension. And I look forward to published, accredited research when it is published.

    Let us know how your mare works out.

    Some people are crazy snarky on this board. Man.
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


    • #42
      RAyers: Maybe you live in a warmer climate than where I am normally living -- or I'm thinking of the 20-degree weather out there right now -- but a wet saddle pad means a horse that has done a bit of work. 'Wet,' you wrote, not 'damp.'

      Given your routinely "no wiggle room" mentality that seems, at least to me, to come through in most of your posts (no complaint), and the fact that the OP was talking about a way to solve, I believe, a behavior problem, it could only make me think of harsh solutions. Sorry for the wrong turn there, but as noted above, that 'turn' is a legitimate conclusion.

      As well, the nutri. studies noted here are all predicated on a 'balanced diet.' Given how diminished the soils are, the degree of pollution, the bullying of Monsanto, the incorrect USDA pyramid of foods, the synthetic lifestyle known as suburbanism, the low exercise and movement of the Western human, the escalating of diseases that take a long time to incubate before becoming undeniably clear to the individual, that 'balanced diet' is completely elusive to the individual who is currently being raised on, or has already succumbed to take-out food and reality TV.


      • Original Poster

        I appreciate everyone's input. We all have "biases" to some degree. In addition to scientific evidence and anecdotal stories, there is another category of (mis)information on the internet that I would describe as unsubstantiated assertions. Someone will state X as it were a proven fact when there is no evidence that X is true. Then it gets repeated and repeated. I can see why the scientists and medical types get frustrated at times.

        For example, I just opened up this thread in which it seems to be taken as a given that all horses need magnesium supplementation -


        Maybe they do, maybe they don't. I started this thread because I realized that I had never given magnesium supplements until a couple of years ago, and that I only started doing it because I read about it on the internet.


        • #44
          Originally posted by Discobold View Post
          I appreciate everyone's input. We all have "biases" to some degree. In addition to scientific evidence and anecdotal stories, there is another category of (mis)information on the internet that I would describe as unsubstantiated assertions. Someone will state X as it were a proven fact when there is no evidence that X is true. Then it gets repeated and repeated. I can see why the scientists and medical types get frustrated at times.

          For example, I just opened up this thread in which it seems to be taken as a given that all horses need magnesium supplementation -


          Maybe they do, maybe they don't. I started this thread because I realized that I had never given magnesium supplements until a couple of years ago, and that I only started doing it because I read about it on the internet.
          I think you are taking a very strategic approach. I think you asked " Why Mg as a supplement" and people answered. Whether they agree or disagree w/ supplementation is their own opinion and they are welcome to it.

          Gather your information from scientific information, professionals (your vet etc). I totally agree for X you find on the internet, you can find Y to contradict.

          Websites like Pubmed, LitSci and NIH (there are tons more that are accredited) will also give you varying answers but you can also read the papers and evaluate for yourself.

          And heck, trying it won't hurt! (PSA-follow directions).
          Come to the dark side, we have cookies


          • #45
            I have a question.

            Say a horse is not Mg deficient, yet gets fed Mg daily, how would that effect Calcium level and Ca/Ph ratio or would it have no effect on that whatsoever.

            There's a lot of threads about people adding Mg, but never Ca/Ph.
            Is there ever any need to up Ca and/or Ph?

            I always get confused with mine, I feed Rush Creek (Ca/Ph) as a loose mineral at times. Sometimes they'll crave it like mad, devouring large quantaties, then for months it'll sit there collecting dust.
            I haven't paid attention whether it's related to them being on Mg at that time or not.


            • #46
              In humans, this is BORING:

              Preface, reference for people. A critical relationship is Ca/Mg in regards to the heart (specifically).But remember, the heart is a muscle so the actin chem etc applies to muscles throughout the body. Sodium/potassium pumps come into play regarding the heart as well. (are you yawning yet.....)

              I think you ask a tricky question. It is possible to be getting the correct Ca but need to supplement Mg. If you are imbalanced either way, it will not be effective.

              The heart is composed of billions of cells, each of which works as an electrochemical generator, and contains both calcium and magnesium. On the outer surface of the heart cells, thin fibers made of a substance called "actin", continually expand and contract in unison with the heartbeat. The actin fibers are stimulated by calcium, and then relaxed by magnesium. An electrical charge produced by magnesium then pushes the calcium to the opposite side of the cell. Thus, calcium helps to produce the heartbeat, and magnesium regulates it.

              MYOCARDICAL INFARCTION (Heart Attack)
              Several researchers have shown that a heart failure involves drastic changes in the concentration of cardiac electrolytes. During cardiac stress, some of the magnesium is moved out of the cell accompanied by an influx of calcium into the cell. Thus, the cardiac muscle shows a 20% decrease in magnesium and a 4 1/2 fold increase in myocardial calcium. The loss of magnesium and an influx of calcium seriously disrupts the energy potential of the affected muscle. The situation can be prevented by increasing the level of magnesium. In clinical practice, intravenous or intramuscular administration of magnesium salts has proven very useful and is highly regarded. It is known that magnesium therapy is the most effective to protect myocardial integrity during cardiac arrest . It is interesting to note that in Canadian surveys of post-mortem tissue composition, about 24% less magnesium was found in ischemic hearts than in non-cardiac cases.

              ATHEROSCLEROSIS (Heart Disease)

              A highly dietary intake of magnesium has been attributed to why heart disease is virtually unknown among Bantu tribesman of South Africa while the disease is prevalent among white South Africans. Clinical studies have revealed that the Bantu's serum magnesium level is about 11% higher than in the white South Africans. The Bantu's high dietary intake of magnesium is largely attributable to intake of unrefined cereals such as maize meal, which has a high magnesium content and also has a high fiber. Also, it has been shown that the ability of high-fat diets to induce atherclerosis is prevented by a high magnesium dietary regime.

              HYPERTENSION (High Blood Pressure)

              For many years, hypertension has been associated with sodium. Consequently, the disorder is treated by substituting potassium in the diet (sodium/potassium pump action). However, most of us do not realize that magnesium is also considered a well-known vasodilator. The anti-hypertensive effect of magnesium is achieved by a direct effect on the vascular wall or is mediated through the central nervous system. Magnesium competes with calcium for binding sites and the net result is that magnesium reduces the calcium-induced contractions. It is well established that magnesium infusions can cause vasodilation and reduce hypertension in humans .

              It is apparent that the ratio between calcium to magnesium is very important in dealing with the causes and prevention of a number of disorders including myocardial infraction or arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, hypertension, urolithiasis, and infant-death syndrome. In all cases, a lower calcium/magnesium ratio or a higher magnesium/calcium ratio is desirable. This need is further underscored by the fact that magnesium intake is generally suboptimal and that hypomagnesmia is more prevalent than generally believed.

              The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is 800 mg/day, whereas for magnesium it is 400 to 450 mg/day. Only about one-third of magnesium is absorbed from dietary sources. Therefore, a daily magnesium intake of 1200 mg/day has been recommended by some researchers. The traditional ratio of approximately 2 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium needs to be upgraded to increase magnesium intake in view of the overwhelming beneficial role of magnesium. The ideal ratio for most people's needs is an equal ratio of calcium and magnesium.

              The absorption and metabolism of calcium and magnesium is one of mutual dependence, and therefore, the balance between these two minerals is especially important. If calcium consumption is high, magnesium intake needs to be high also.

              Low-phosphate syndromes are caused by malnutrition, by failure to absorb phosphate, and by metabolic syndromes that draw phosphate from the blood (such as re-feeding after malnutrition) or pass too much of it into the urine. All are characterized by hypophosphatemia, which is a condition of low levels of soluble phosphate levels in the blood serum, and therefore inside cells. Symptoms of hypophosphatemia include muscle and neurological dysfunction, and disruption of muscle and blood cells due to lack of ATP. Too much phosphate can lead to diarrhoea and calcification (hardening) of organs and soft tissue, and can interfere with the body's ability to use iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

              Boring references

              lig, M.S.. 1972 Recent Advances in Studies on Cardiac Structure and Metabolism. Vol. 1: Myocardiology. Publ. By University Park Press, London, Baltimore. Pp 615-638
              2.Matyushin, I.F. and Samartseva, T.F. 1972. Kardiologiya 12(3): 1963-69.
              3.Levin, R.M., Haugaard, N. and Hess, M.E. 1969. Biochem. Pharmacol. 25: 1963-69
              4.Petrie, R.H. et al. 1978. Amer. J. Obstetr. Gynecol. 130: 294-299
              5.Hearse, D.J., Stewart, D.A. and Braimbridge, M.V. 1978. J. Thoracic Cardiovasc. Surg. 75: 877-885
              6.Anderson, T.W., et al. 1975. Canada Med. Association J. 113: 199-203
              7.Thrivikraman, K.V. and George, S. 1972. J. Animal Morphol. 19: 196-204.
              8.Szelenyi, I. 1973. World Rev. Nutr. Diet. 17: 189-224.
              9.Singh, R.B. et al. 1976. Acta Cardiol. 31: 401-409 and 221-226.
              10.Mukai, T. and Howard, J.E. 1963. Bull. Johns Hopkins Hosp. 112(5) 279-290.
              11.Churchill, D.N. et al. 1978. Annuals Internal Med 88: 513-514.
              12.Yendt, E.R. and Cohanim, M. 1978. Canada Medical Association. J. 118: 755-758.
              13.Bastian, H.P. and Vahlensieck, W. 1975. Europ. Urol. 1: 235-237.
              14.Gershoff, S.N. and Prien, E.L. 1967. Amer. J. Clin. M. Nutr. 20: 393-399.
              15.Cadell, J.L. 1972. Lancet, Aug 5, pp 258-262
              16.Neri, L.C. and Marier, J.R. 1978. In: Proc Symp June. Bloomington, Minnosota.
              17.Fodor, J.G. Pfiffer, G.J. and Papezik, V.S. 1973. by. Canada Medical Association. J. 108: 1369-1373
              18.Ash, J.R., Schofield, F.A. and Gram, M.R. 1979 J. Clin. Nutr. 32: 286-291.
              19.Seelig, M.S. 1978. Cardiovasc. Med. June. Pp 637-650.
              20.Anderson, T.W. 1977. Nova Scotia Med. Bull. Apr. pp 58-61.
              21.Becking, G.C. and Morrison, A.B. 1970. Biochem. Pharmacol. 19: 2939.
              22.Ashmead, D. Chelated Mineral Nutrition. 1981. Publ. By Institute Publishers, Huntington Beach, Calif pp 162.
              23.Hankin, J.H., Margen, S. and Goldsmith, N.F. 1970. J. Amer. Dite. Assoc. 56: 212-224.
              24.Schroeder, H.A. 1966. J. Amer. Med. Assoc. 195: 81/125-85/129.
              25.Dawson, E.B. et al. 1978. Amer. J. Clin. Nut. 31: 1188-1197.
              26.Karpmannen, H., Pennanen, R. and Passinen, L. 1978. Adv. Cardiol. 25: 9-24
              Come to the dark side, we have cookies


              • #47
                All of that terrifying stuff notwithstanding, our healthy bodies have a marvelous system of checks and balances to keep our minerals in balance, given half a chance. That means ingesting enough to avoid deficiency, wherein our bodies will sort it out. It's really not necessary to micro-manage the ratios of minerals beyond a VERY crude level. Providing sufficient is all that is required.
                Click here before you buy.


                • #48
                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                  All of that terrifying stuff notwithstanding, our healthy bodies have a marvelous system of checks and balances to keep our minerals in balance, given half a chance. That means ingesting enough to avoid deficiency, wherein our bodies will sort it out. It's really not necessary to micro-manage the ratios of minerals beyond a VERY crude level. Providing sufficient is all that is required.
                  yup. We pee most of it out anyway.
                  Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                  • #49
                    Phew Pennywell Bay, heavy stuff .

                    So in all likelihood adding some Mg won't be disrupting Ca levels all that much and higher Mg or lower Ca seems desirable anyway. And considering that mine usually at least a few times a week find something to get stressed over (so moving Mg out of heart muscle, Ca in) no need to worry about that little Mg that's been supplemented being too much. Cool, I'll stop worrying.


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by cyberbay View Post
                      RAyers: Maybe you live in a warmer climate than where I am normally living -- or I'm thinking of the 20-degree weather out there right now -- but a wet saddle pad means a horse that has done a bit of work. 'Wet,' you wrote, not 'damp.'
                      Not to answer for RAyers but his reference to "Wet Blankets" is not original. It is a fairly common statement that I have heard many times in the horse world over the years. It generally isn't dumbed down to "Damp blankets" for winter time. It is just a reference to a concept that given enough saddle time with constructive work will fix many issues. Piddling around with no purpose and no hard work will get you nowhere. "Wet blankets" is just the shorthand for that concept.
                      Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                      • #51
                        The local expression I always heard growing up was something along the line of "the cure for spooking/bucking/bolting/insert-bad-behavior-of-your-choice is the daily application of a dry saddle pad, to be removed when wet".
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #52
                          I have a horse that headshakes during the month of April/May. I read that MagOx may help with it. I gave it a try since it was extremely inexpensive. And yes, for my horse it definitely has made a difference for the headshaking issue.


                          • #53
                            Apologies, then. I've been around for a long time and have never heard the expression. of 'wet blanket...'


                            • #54
                              I've been giving Quiessence to 2 horses for about a year now. I started out giving it to a rescue horse we took in--is an IR horse and had a history of laminitis and was very cresty. The quiessence has helped this horse live a more normal life. No doubt.

                              I started giving it to my OTQH in hopes that it would settle his 'hot flashes' LOL but I can't say it's doing much, if anything. Sometimes I think it's making a difference, but I can't say with any certainty like I can with the IR horse.


                              • #55
                                Hi Guys,

                                Sorry if this information is no longer of use or already covered. I’m from Nupafeed UK (we sell Nupafeed MAH Liquid – a magnesium supplement) . I came across this thread quite by accident and so I thought I’d quickly jot down a few things for you that may be of interest.

                                To answer the original question of why use Magnesium as a supplement, I’ll direct you to this article which sums it up quite nicely: http://www.prohealth.com/library/sho...&site=articles
                                In summary, not enough magnesium means less resilience to stress, more reactivity, a heightened ‘fight or flight’ and an inability to settle once wound up.

                                I notice a few people are concerned about over use of magnesium, and I totally understand where you are coming from. Certainly by feeding magnesium you are not negating the need for good general practice and horsemanship, in fact magnesium will not make a jot of difference to a horse that is being difficult due to poor training or a genuinely nasty temperament (which I think is fortunately very rare). It works by allowing horses to manage stress in exactly the way they have evolved to, so it not a sedative type ingredient and should not be clubbed together with other calming supplements or fads. In fact the only reason magnesium works is because we have altered their lifestyle in a way which means they no longer get enough.

                                Diet / Need ?
                                The reason it is s a very common problem for horses is because stress increases magnesium requirement. Their natural diet supplied them with enough magnesium for what they were doing, but now we have thrust them into a hugely stressful lifestyle, and we have also changed their feeding to the detriment of magnesium. Exercise too increases magnesium requirement as it is needed to make energy. So it is perfectly common for them to need more than they are getting, and the result is usually behavioural problems – everything from nervousness, spooking and erratic behaviour, through to the other end of the scale, aggression.

                                Anecdotal evidence is massive and extremely convincing (n.b. poor results with a poor form of magnesium does not mean that magnesium does not work for that horse). Clinically there is some work, although as you’d expect with horses not much. Those studies that do exist show favourable results using things like heart rate, blink rate and salivary swabs for cortisol as measures. And there is of course a huge and ever expanding amount of human based literature that supports the use of magnesium, and we know enough about the function of magnesium in equines to know that it is applicable.

                                Types of magnesium
                                Many forms are very poorly absorbed, especially magnesium oxide. Magnesium sulphate is not great either and comes with a severe laxative effect. Nupafeed MAH is simply a special form of magnesium, originally developed for human medicine. It absorbs far better than any other type of magnesium, and it neutral ion balance means that it does not interfere with absorption of other nutrients and it does not alter internal pH balance.

                                Laxative effect of Magnesium (mentioned on a similar thread) - MAH has far less of a laxative effect than other types of magnesium, and it is very rare for horses to show any problems in relation to this. For those concerned about gut health you may be interested to know that stress is a major factor involved in the formation of ulcers. Studies in rats have directly correlated natural magnesium status with resilience to stress induced ulcers. This is because magnesium reduces the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol inhibits prostoglandin production along the lining of the gut, and it is this that protects the stomach lining from its acidic contents. Less magnesium, means more stress, more cortisol, and less protection for the gut.

                                MAH can help headshakers because it helps to prevent hypersensitivity of the nerves. It is also logical to presume that there is some stress element to headshaking - how happy would you become if you were asked to work despite a constant irritation you can’t make sense of? Most horses become wound up and upset, making their headshaking worse, depleting their magnesium reserves further and worsening the problem. Our theory is that is you can break that cycle you can help them a great deal.

                                Cushings, Laminitis / Founder, Obesity
                                Trials with MAH in humans show it to be a more effective insulin sensitiser than exercise, diet and even drug treatments. Insulin is your key hormone for energy regulation, and insulin resistance causes obesity and systemic inflammation… which is the main reason why obesity is so strongly linked with laminitis.

                                Someone mentioned muscular problems – magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant, so it can help with cramping and twitches. And we have a lot of success with tying-up in horses.

                                Yes speak to your vet but note that some a far more clued up than others. Vets have to cover a very broad range of topics, so they are not fully versed on everything (your local doctor would not treat you for a cardiac problem). The reason I see so much information on magnesium is because the company who make MAH, Verla-Pharm, specialise in magnesium supplements and research, there is no reason for the average vet to be aware of this kind of information. I think that vets are becoming more and more aware, but as a general rule of thumb veterinary medicine is 50yrs behind human - so while we can’t ignore that fact that horses and humans are entirely different species, it is very sensible to use human articles to go deeper.

                                Calcium status
                                Magnesium actually helps your body use calcium effectively, whereas increasing calcium intake increases magnesium deficit. That is not to say that you should sacrifice calcium intake for magnesium, but rather that you should increase magnesium accordingly – this will only further help calcium status.

                                I could bore you guys to death with stuff like this so I’ll stop now. I’ll try to drop back into here in a week or so in case anyone has any questions they’d like answered. But if there is anything you’d like to know you can get in touch at info@nupafeed.net

                                We are based in the UK but we have distributes in the USA who you can also contact. Scott and Bonny are lovely and will help you with any questions you have – www.nupafeedusa.com

                                Sorry for the very general nature of my message, I hope some of it has been of interest.



                                • #56
                                  So, you would actually advise someone with a mare (higher enterolith risk), who lives in an endemic area for these (California, Indiana, etc), to increase the Mg in the diet?!?! That's playing with fire. I suppose there's no warning on the labels about impaction colic surgery is there?

                                  Generally, a long list of pros but no cautions is a red flag. It means someone took the time to figure out how to sell a product and didn't care about much else.
                                  Last edited by Win1; Feb. 21, 2013, 09:22 AM.


                                  • #57
                                    Trials with MAH in humans show it to be a more effective insulin sensitiser than exercise, diet and even drug treatments
                                    Citation, please? No, "massive" anecdotal evidence is not convincing. Not to anyone with a shred of understanding of the scientific method. Let's see this particular statement above backed up with some data, and perhaps I will let the rest slide.

                                    Please answer if you can before you get banned for blatant advertising.
                                    Click here before you buy.


                                    • #58
                                      Just a policy clarification -- company reps can post in response to threads and even discuss or even recommend their products if it's directly related to the topics being discussed. We don't want folks coming on to bump a half dozen 5-month-old threads to do so, so this bumping of one year-old thread is borderline, but looks like it might foster some decent follow-up debate, so we'll let 'er rip for now.

                                      Mod 1


                                      • #59
                                        Thru reading on here and online, it's my understanding that since magnesium deficiencies present you with an anxious horse, supplementing magnesium will only work as a "calming" supplement only if the horse is actually deficient.

                                        Magnesium itself does not have calming properties, like administering a sedative.

                                        It makes anxious behavior go away in some horses because that horse probably had a deficiency to begin with.
                                        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                                        • #60
                                          Like HappyTalk, I've got a headshaker that I just started on Quiessence just in case it helps. He started the headshaking last April and after a bunch of diagnostics and vet visits it was deemed due to allergies... maybe. It seemed to go away on its own in July so he's been off all meds since then without any symptoms. I just started the Quiessence a couple of weeks ago, hoping to get a head start on spring and keeping the symptoms at bay. He's pretty mellow anyway, so I'm actually hoping it DOESN'T affect his attitude at all, although the "helping tight muscles" part would be a bonus for him as well. Will just have to see how it goes.
                                          It's not about the color of the ribbon but the quality of the ride. Having said that, I'd like the blue one please!