What are B Vitamins and why are they important?
B vitamins are sometimes referred to the B Complex, and they are essential to a horse’s health. Bacteria in the hindgut produce some B vitamins, while others are gained from fresh green forage, or fortified concentrate feeds in the horse’s diet. Many horses get all the B vitamins they need from these sources, but those who receive limited grazing, or very low intakes of concentrate feed, horses recovering from an illness or in high levels of work with an intense competition program, can benefit from additional supplementation.
There are eight significant B vitamins horses need to maintain their health:
- Vitamin B1 – Thiamine. Plays a key role in carbohydrate metabolism which supports the conversion of nutrients into energy.
- Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin. Supports energy metabolism and production of immune cells
- Vitamin B3 - Niacin. Energy transfer in the body
- Vitamin B5 - Pantothenic Acid. Breakdown of fat and protein synthesis
- Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine. Involved in amino acid metabolism, plays a role in haemoglobin production and is an essential factor in energy production
- Vitamin B7 – Biotin. Assists with keratin production and promotes healthy hooves
- Vitamin B9 - Folic Acid. Promotes Red blood cell production
- Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin. Promotes red blood cell production; involved in protein metabolism and in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates
Should you be supplementing B Vitamins?
Whilst a serious lack of B vitamins is quite rare, sub-optimal intake levels, especially in horses where requirements may be increased, such as those in hard work with little access to grazing, may be more common. Horses that aren’t getting enough B vitamins often lose their appetite and may also tire more easily, which can be difficult when preparing for an event or regularly competing.
Additionally, those horses that are in hard work, with a demanding competition schedule may benefit from additional vitamin B supplementation to increase energy for optimum performance, to support a carefully planned training and fittening programme.
Equine America’s Pro-Pell Plus® is a daily tonic, designed to provide vital micro nutrients which are important in key areas for optimum health and performance including high levels of B vitamins, bio-available trace minerals including copper, manganese, zinc and a controlled level of iron.
Xtra Boost Hemogen contains a specialised and highly absorbable form, but controlled amounts of Iron, essential in the production of red blood cells, supported by B vitamins and accompanied by active water-soluble vitamins and minerals to maximise energy and stamina. It can be fed daily at maintenance level for horses in training or competition, and increase this for five days leading up to a race or event.
Be one step ahead with Equine America.