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Vitamin E and Selenium Supplements

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  • Vitamin E and Selenium Supplements

    I recently found out that my horse is likely vitamin E deficient, and his vet recommended putting him on a vitamin E and selenium supplement. He also mentioned that horses should probably be receiving at least 5000 iu of vitamin E a day. However, when browsing the smartpak website for a supplement that would meet my needs, I found there weren't any that offered such a high dose of vitamin E with selenium added.

    So I was wondering if any of you have suggestions. Is the selenium more important than a higher dose of vitamin E? Do you have any supplements that would you recommend, or stay away from? I also heard that natural vitamin E is more easily absorbed than the artificial version - do you know if this is true?

    Thanks for any advice you might have!
    Proud owner of Race for the Stars (aka Spirit), OTTB!

    "You can lead a horse to water, but if you can teach him to roll over and float on his back, then you got something."

  • #2
    Se needs enough E to be taken up. Did you also check his Se level?

    I've only heard of one horse (someone on this board) whose horse was E-deficient but fine on the Se. Otherwise, an E-deficiency usually has an Se-deficiency tagging along. That's why Se usually comes packaged with E - to work together.

    You just don't really want to put your horse on additional Se (outside of his hay/vitamins/other supps) without knowing his current status. It doesn't take too much to create a toxicity.

    So, knowing only the E status, that's where I'd stick for now - and E-only supplement, of which there are quite a few that will easily allow you go give 5000IU
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

    Comment


    • #3
      I've been told several times that the land this side of the Mississippi is more deficient in Selenium. We have a free choice mineral that Southern States carries that is Selenium and Vitamin E.
      Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JB View Post
        Se needs enough E to be taken up. Did you also check his Se level?

        I've only heard of one horse (someone on this board) whose horse was E-deficient but fine on the Se. Otherwise, an E-deficiency usually has an Se-deficiency tagging along. That's why Se usually comes packaged with E - to work together.

        You just don't really want to put your horse on additional Se (outside of his hay/vitamins/other supps) without knowing his current status. It doesn't take too much to create a toxicity.

        So, knowing only the E status, that's where I'd stick for now - and E-only supplement, of which there are quite a few that will easily allow you go give 5000IU

        I did a research project this summer on a herd of horses (many broodmares). Almost all of them were vitamin E deficient, but not Se deficient. This was documented repeatedly over a period of 2 years.

        I would supplement with Vitamin E readily, as it takes an incredible amount to create a toxicity (2,200 IU/lb of horse).

        The best way to determine your horse's need is to have your hay and grain analyzed for Vitamin E content, and then make up the difference with supplementation.

        How much does your horse need? Current research recommends 1-4 IU/lb horse's body weight. Of course, it would not hurt to supplement more (except your wallet!).

        The best source of vitamin E is fresh forage (i.e. grass). Vitamin E levels vary seasonally, studies have shown, with a distinct correlation between availability of fresh pasture and adequate levels. Denying horses access to fresh pasture, such as in the winter months when horses are stabled indoors, can drastically reduce serum vitamin E concentration. The lowest levels are typically detected in the late spring or roughly 5-6 months after horses are taken off pasture. Fortunately, within a month of being turned out on pasture, levels of vitamin E have been shown to rise back to normal levels.

        While the natural form of vitamin E (RRR-α-tocopherol) is the most biologically absorbable, it is unstable in that form and cannot be stored. Natural vitamin E can be esterified for stability in the form of α -tocopherol acetate. Synthetic forms also exist, such as all-rac- α -tocopherol. In addition, different physical forms of vitamin E supplements exist in either dry powdered or liquid, and micellized. Micelles are lipid packages that increase absorption of vitamin E. A recent study has shown that micellized liquid vitamin E is the most absorbable, with α-tocopherol acetate less so, and synthetic all-rac- α-tocopherol falling far behind.

        In my project, I investigated a series of supplements based on the current research. However, I only looked at Smartpak as a source (due to limited time) of most commercially-available supplements. The best seem to be the SmartE Natural Vitamin E available from Smartpak and the Emcelle-Tocopherol available from Mazuri or Stuart Products.

        So yes, test for Se deficiency before supplementing, but feel free to give E!

        Comment


        • #5
          My vet recommended 1600 to 2400 I.U. of vitamin E.

          Dalemma

          Comment


          • #6
            Natural Vit E

            I supplement my horses with 2,000 IU's Natural Vit E daily. I buy 1,000 IU softgels from www.swansonvitamins.com and put a couple in their morning feed. They both eat the softgels whole with no problem. I don't puncture the gels or anything - just toss 'em in their supps.
            Equus Keepus Brokus

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for all of the replies, you guys! This is really helpful, especially since I haven't had a ton of time yet to do research on my own. I hadn't realized selenium toxicity could occur even with fairly low dosages, so I'll definitely talk to my vet about testing him before opting for a supplement that includes it.

              The info about the different forms of vitamin E available is really interesting, too. Thanks Pancakes. I was looking at the SmartE natural supplement, so it's good to hear that's one of the best smartpak offers. I'll check out the softgels, too, and see if they will be more cost efficient. My horse can be picky with pills, though, so I'll have to try them out to see if he'll eat them. Thanks again!
              Proud owner of Race for the Stars (aka Spirit), OTTB!

              "You can lead a horse to water, but if you can teach him to roll over and float on his back, then you got something."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Pancakes View Post
                I did a research project this summer on a herd of horses (many broodmares). Almost all of them were vitamin E deficient, but not Se deficient. This was documented repeatedly over a period of 2 years.
                Wow, fascinating! How is that, when supposedly Se requires adequate E?

                What was the E deficiency number based on? Is it possible that the E levels that "should be", as documented by, say, the NRC, are just higher than what really needs to be?
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JB View Post
                  Wow, fascinating! How is that, when supposedly Se requires adequate E?

                  What was the E deficiency number based on? Is it possible that the E levels that "should be", as documented by, say, the NRC, are just higher than what really needs to be?

                  It was based on the NRC guidelines and recommendations from Cornell. There are actually very few studies documenting what horses require in terms of vitamin E, while there are very many studies documenting what happens when a horse becomes deficient (i.e. drops below the serum level of 200). However, no one really knows what the "best" level is, and it's very possible it varies widely from horse to horse. To answer your question, YES, I think it is very possible some horses require more than what the NRC states. This is why it's valuable to have your horse (and your feed!) tested for vitamin E levels.

                  Unless a horse is absolutely deficient to the point of having a clinical disease (equine motor neuron disease, EMND, and equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy, EMD, are the primary 2 that come to mind), I think it's hard for owners to know that their horse may be deficient. I think there are a lot of things that vitamin E may help with that we just haven't fully explored or documented.

                  I have my own personal theories I formed after a literature review of why some horses may use up more vitamin E than others, but it's all conjectural at this point. Some horses may just have a greater requirement due to using it up more, and some may just not absorb it well enough. I think age, body weight, exercise amount, diet, and turnout all play a part. The herd I studied in my project had deficient feed (documented) due to turnout schedule, yet they had adequate selenium. I think those particular mares' metabolic status played a huge role as well in terms of using up vitamin E. But my theories are just that at this stage. It was a really fun project to do, though!

                  Point is that it's not going to hurt to supplement vitamin E if you can afford it, and it just may be beneficial...but get a serum level first, and get your feed (hay AND grain) analyzed first, so you know where you are starting.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Pancakes--just curious--did you happen to look at my particular favorite E/Se---KER's Elevate?
                    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Spirit_Rider16 View Post
                      Thanks for all of the replies, you guys! This is really helpful, especially since I haven't had a ton of time yet to do research on my own. I hadn't realized selenium toxicity could occur even with fairly low dosages, so I'll definitely talk to my vet about testing him before opting for a supplement that includes it.

                      The info about the different forms of vitamin E available is really interesting, too. Thanks Pancakes. I was looking at the SmartE natural supplement, so it's good to hear that's one of the best smartpak offers. I'll check out the softgels, too, and see if they will be more cost efficient. My horse can be picky with pills, though, so I'll have to try them out to see if he'll eat them. Thanks again!
                      No problem! If I had more time for the project I would've loved to do a more thorough survey of all the available supplements, but c'est la vie!

                      Se toxicity, just so you know, is what killed all those polo ponies in FL. Granted, those horses were massively overdosed (10x what they should have gotten), but when you consider the threshold for toxicity, it's very low. Best tread cautiously, and get established serum levels before doing anything under your vet's supervision.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                        Pancakes--just curious--did you happen to look at my particular favorite E/Se---KER's Elevate?
                        Hmm, no, I didn't. I had *very* limited time to work with, and I was mainly focusing on the supplements that didn't have Se in it because the horses in the project had sufficient Se levels already. They just really, really, really, needed more vitamin E in their diets.

                        Water soluble, eh? Hmmm...I'll have to look into that. Do you have any literature on it? Looks very interesting...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This got me thinking--is it just as effective to give the horse a couple of softgels as some do vs. a powdered equine supplement? I think the thing that made me do an equine powder over human softgels is that my horse likes to spill his grain everywhere, so I was afraid that he's miss/lose those few softgels. Makes sense, right? It's so much cheaper to do human softgels though--about $9 for 100 1000 IU tabs vs. $40 for 130 days of Elevate.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pancakes View Post
                            It was based on the NRC guidelines and recommendations from Cornell. There are actually very few studies documenting what horses require in terms of vitamin E, while there are very many studies documenting what happens when a horse becomes deficient (i.e. drops below the serum level of 200). However, no one really knows what the "best" level is, and it's very possible it varies widely from horse to horse.
                            Given that the NRC is really just a guideline, with information in there on most things about how low is too low and how high is too high before a horse looks/behaves badly, I totally agree.

                            To answer your question, YES, I think it is very possible some horses require more than what the NRC states. This is why it's valuable to have your horse (and your feed!) tested for vitamin E levels.
                            Agree, I think there are probably quite a few nutrients that some horses just require more of than what the NRC states. But testing in that case would only give you a baseline with which to compare an increase in the nutrient with a (hopefully) increase in the test results.

                            Unless a horse is absolutely deficient to the point of having a clinical disease (equine motor neuron disease, EMND, and equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy, EMD, are the primary 2 that come to mind), I think it's hard for owners to know that their horse may be deficient. I think there are a lot of things that vitamin E may help with that we just haven't fully explored or documented.


                            I have my own personal theories I formed after a literature review of why some horses may use up more vitamin E than others, but it's all conjectural at this point. Some horses may just have a greater requirement due to using it up more, and some may just not absorb it well enough. I think age, body weight, exercise amount, diet, and turnout all play a part.
                            I am glued to your side on that one. I wholeheartedly believe that.

                            Originally posted by luise View Post
                            This got me thinking--is it just as effective to give the horse a couple of softgels as some do vs. a powdered equine supplement? I think the thing that made me do an equine powder over human softgels is that my horse likes to spill his grain everywhere, so I was afraid that he's miss/lose those few softgels. Makes sense, right? It's so much cheaper to do human softgels though--about $9 for 100 1000 IU tabs vs. $40 for 130 days of Elevate.
                            Natural E is more effective than synthetic, so keep that in mind too.
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Pancakes View Post
                              Hmm, no, I didn't. I had *very* limited time to work with, and I was mainly focusing on the supplements that didn't have Se in it because the horses in the project had sufficient Se levels already. They just really, really, really, needed more vitamin E in their diets.

                              Water soluble, eh? Hmmm...I'll have to look into that. Do you have any literature on it? Looks very interesting...
                              http://www.kppusa.com/elevatefamily.html
                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by luise View Post
                                This got me thinking--is it just as effective to give the horse a couple of softgels as some do vs. a powdered equine supplement? I think the thing that made me do an equine powder over human softgels is that my horse likes to spill his grain everywhere, so I was afraid that he's miss/lose those few softgels. Makes sense, right? It's so much cheaper to do human softgels though--about $9 for 100 1000 IU tabs vs. $40 for 130 days of Elevate.
                                From what I understand, liquid Vit E is absorbed better than powdered. Most horses will readily eat the soft gel caps (some folks have used smaller ones like 400 IU if their horses didn't go for the 1000 IU size).

                                In cases where the horse absolutely refuses the gel caps, powdered Vit E can be mixed with a small amount of oil.

                                And, as already mentioned, make sure it's the natural Vit. E.
                                Equus Keepus Brokus

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Liberty View Post
                                  From what I understand, liquid Vit E is absorbed better than powdered. Most horses will readily eat the soft gel caps (some folks have used smaller ones like 400 IU if their horses didn't go for the 1000 IU size).

                                  In cases where the horse absolutely refuses the gel caps, powdered Vit E can be mixed with a small amount of oil.
                                  That was my understanding as well. My mare's previous owner agreed to give me access to all her vet records when I was seriously considering purchasing her, and one of the things that she had told me about that was in the record was that the mare was vit E deficient at one point. So I've always provided her with supplemental E.

                                  She's an incredibly picky eater, and that was easier to manage at home, since I could mix powders with liquids, or squirt out gelcaps. Now she's boarded, so I use the smartpaks. Started with what looked best on paper, a multi-vitamin and a straight E, but of course she wouldn't eat that. So I switched her to a pelleted E-Se supplement, and switched her multi to one without Se so I wouldn't be double dosing her on it. The E-Se supplement had a low enough dose of Se that I give her a double dose, which still comes in at slightly less than what the multi had, if I recall correctly.
                                  "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                                  -Edward Hoagland

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    what happens if a horse is vitamin E deficient?

                                    how does that affect their system?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by austin View Post
                                      how does that affect their system?
                                      In my mare's case, they caught it fairly early, and she only had a dull coat, and wasn't keeping weight on as well as usual (normally she's a very easy keeper). But my understanding is that if it progresses far enough, it can cause neurological symptoms as well.
                                      "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                                      -Edward Hoagland

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I would be EXTEMELY cautious if you choose to feed a Vit. E/Selenium supplement. We had a 5 year old QH come back from the trainer's for a break from the show ring at the barn where I work. She was on a selenium supplement at the trainer's. 3 weeks ago, she started acting sick. We thought she might have some type of flu. They took her to a University Clinic several days ago and it turns out she is in liver failure and most likely wont make it. The vet said they have had several cases similar to this and every horse has been on some form of a supplement that contained selenium. Just a heads up. Be very careful with it. They arent possitive it was too much selenium that caused the liver failure, but I would be very cautious with it.
                                        "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong

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