Vitamin E and Selenium – the Most Commonly Deficient Nutrients

Vitamin E and selenium are nutrients familiar to most horse people.  They are among the most common deficiencies in unsupplemented animals - and also the only two where deficiency diseases are still routinely seen.  Suboptimal levels also impact health and performance at levels below those that will trigger full blown deficiency syndromes.

E and Se are often supplemented, together but contrary to popular belief they do not actually work together, nor is their absorption from the intestinal tract interrelated in any way. However, they complement each other to provide broad spectrum protection to the body's cells.

E and Se are both important antioxidants. E works to prevent fats within membranes from oxidative damage.  Se, as part of the glutathione peroxidase enzymes, works to protect the internal watery portions of cells from free radical injury. Free radicals are a by-product of cells generating energy for work or cell division and of immune system activity.

Vitamin E and selenium status is documented to significantly impact:

  • The nervous system
  • Muscular function
  • Fertility/sperm quality
  • Antibody levels in colostrum
  • Immune function
  • Red blood cell integrity in exercising horses
  • Heart health

Selenium is also integral to the enzyme which converts the inactive form of thyroid hormone (T4) to the active T3.

In most areas of the US and Canada, selenium is barely adequate to frankly deficient.  Horses not being maintained on pasture have extremely low levels of vitamin E in unsupplemented diets. E added to feeds or multi-ingredient supplements often acts more like a natural preservative than a supplement because even stabilized forms of the vitamin can breakdown easily.

Horses absorb inorganic selenium (e.g. sodium selenate) well, but absorption of this form may be reduced by high levels of competing minerals in the diet. For this reason, some or all of the selenium supplement should be in the form of high selenium yeast.

Because E is a fat soluble vitamin it is best given dissolved in fat.  If your supplement is dry, mix it into some oil or sprinkle it on top of oil top dressed on the feed.

E and selenium are two of the most important and the most often deficient nutrients in the horse's diet.  Make sure your horse's intake is adequate.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, offers formulas that provide support for these common deficiencies. 

PhytoQuench provides powerful antioxidants to help maintain healthy immunity, especially for horses not on fresh pasture.  With phytonutrient rich ingredients for vascular and tissue integrity, Phyto-Quench fights the damaging effects of free radicals by neutralizing oxidative reactions to maintain a normal inflammatory response. Plant-based phytonutrients include Garlic, Turmeric, Grape Seed, Ginkgo Biloba, and Boswellia.

Available in a palatable pellet that contains Devils Claw, or a powder without Devils Claw.

Bio-Quench supports horses with seasonal allergies. With natural antioxidants to help promote the immune system and provide protection from excessive oxidation that can generate free radicals. With a potent blend of plant antioxidants, antioxidant vitamins and B vitamins for optimal immune enhancing effects.

Spirulina is a freshwater blue-green algae Spirulina platensis.  It is a “super food” with extremely potent antioxidant effects that protects tissues from damage generated by free radicals.

Lung EQ promotes overall equine respiratory, lung and immune health for horses with respiratory reactions to environmental irritants and seasonal allergens.

With Spirulina Platensis which may help stabilize the mast cells that release histamine.  MSM supports normal regulation of inflammation.  Flaxseed meal promotes balanced inflammatory pathways.  Jiaogulan supports healthy histamine levels, open airways, and healthy immune response.

About Dr. Kellon
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience.  Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.  www.ecirhorse.org

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier.  On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances.  www.uckele.com.

Contact: Susan Libby, susan@uckele.com

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