Magnesium that word rings through my ears. I am sure that a lot of people don’t understand the uses and benefits of magnesium and why it is needed and what it really does in the body of the horse. In fact I have heard so many times just go buy a bag of causmag from the produce store and feed a couple of tablespoons increase if you need to, the more you feed the quitter the horse will get that will stop your horse from being spooky and nervous. However sadly this is not the case it is so far from truth it’s not funny.
There are so many different forms of magnesium and they all do something different for the body. The most common forms of magnesium is magnesium oxide Mgo, magnesium carbonate, and magnesium sulphate. Magnesium is a vital macro mineral, and it is becoming increasingly recommended by veterinarians for various treatments in the horse. So one would then ask the question …why do horses require magnesium, and how does it fit for therapeutic use?
For magnesium to work effectively it needs a partner, which is phosphorous, phosphorous needs calcium. What happens it will then regulate the nerve fibres that control the central nervous system that help to control granular function. Magnesium is needed in a horses diet when muscle spasm occurs, nervous behaviour, stringhalt, tying up and muscle soreness . This is often brought about by incorrect diet poor pastures and over uses of muscles.
Magnesium is found in varying quantities in forages and grains. Concentrate feeds may or may not have additional magnesium, depending on the amount in the other ingredients. The amount of indigestible fibre and presence of oxalates will affect availability of magnesium in the forages. Supplemental magnesium can be either fed in the natural form by feeding high grade dolomite, seaweed meal , wheat germ , garlic or dandelion leaves. Other than that Magnesiun Oxide Mgo is the most commonly used source and has an approximate 50% absorption rate. The advantage of magnesium oxide is that the body will not absorb it if there is no deficiency, so it is difficult to overdose a horse on it. Magnesium Oxide fed with high grade brewers yeast is the most natural form of supplementing a horse with nervous and anxiety issues. Brewers Yeast is a natural form of Thiamine and Chromium.
Within the muscle, calcium and magnesium work together calcium causing muscle contraction and magnesium inducing relaxation.
Magnesium is found in calming supplements because of its role in both nerve excitability and muscle contraction, and the suspicion that nervousness may be caused by suboptimal levels of magnesium in the diet.
Just as calcium and magnesium have a balancing act within the body, so should it be in the diet. The two minerals are ideally kept within a ratio of 2 that being 5:1 to 3:1, calcium to magnesium. The typical diet of the horse will usually fall into a suitable range of calcium and magnesium; if supplementation with magnesium is warranted, the amount of calcium in the diet should be considered. So once again if magnesium is fed as a calming you really need to balance it adding calcium and phosphorus.
These minerals interact to achieve the best results.
Denise Farrugia Cert Herb Med