Alpha lipoic acid for horses is a useful antioxidant product for horses and ponies predisposed to weight gain and laminitis. It can be used to support healthy hoof laminae. Horses in hard work will benefit from alpha lipoic acid to help maintain and support the bodies defence against free-radicals.
Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid for Horses
- Encouraging healthy metabolism in horses which are good doers or prone to laminitis.
- Supplementing a hay/haylage diet which is naturally low in lipoic acid.
- Maintain low blood sugar levels.
- Support the athletic performance of horses in hard work.
Some horses and ponies are genetically predisposed towards being good-doers. As insulin levels increase, the equine body is encouraged to store more fat. In addition, as insulin levels rise, maintenance of healthy hoof laminae is crucial.
Fat cells produce molecules called cytokines, which disrupt normal insulin action leading to more fat storage, creating the production of naturally high amounts of free radicals.
Antioxidants are either produced by the body or can be provided in the diet. Common antioxidants include vitamins C, E, and beta carotene, all found in fresh, healthy grasses. In the case where the horse’s body needs support to maintain and support healthy laminae and metabolic processes then increasing anti-oxidant supply through nutrition can be very useful.
One antioxidant of recent interest is lipoic acid. It is naturally produced throughout your horse’s body and serves to support his tissues from the damaging impact of free radicals.
Some interesting facts:
- Naturally produced lipoic acid has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants and make them active once again.
- The horse’s diet is generally sufficient in lipoic acid because it is found in green plants. But once fresh grass is cut, dried, and stored as hay, it is lost through oxidation.
- Lipoic acid is both fat and water soluble. Therefore, it can work throughout the entire body, to maintain and support tissues.
- In humans, lipoic acid has been determined to maintain low blood sugar levels. A recent study revealed the same benefit when lipoic acid was given to pony mares. Researchers fed 10 mg of lipoic acid per kg of body weight, mixed with maple syrup, to ponies receiving a grass hay diet. A control group was given the same maple syrup feeding, without lipoic acid. The ponies receiving the lipoic acid required less insulin to remove glucose from the blood. The researchers concluded that delivery of lipoic acid supports insulin effectiveness, thereby helping the body maintain low blood glucose as well as circulating blood insulin levels.
- Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is commonly used by athletes or individuals that are actively taking part in high-intensity exercise with little rest periods. It is best taken immediately post work-out so is therefore useful to support the athletic performance of horses in hard work.