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Re: Vitamin E and Fat
> What is the purpose of supplementing with Vitamin E? Can it be overdone?
> I understand that you should not feed oil on the day of the ride, Why?
Vitamin E has an effect on the immune system, maintains lipid membranes and
a whole list of other things. Of all the fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E and
K), vitamin E is the most difficult to really overdo, but research indicates
that there isn't any additional benefit to be obtained by supplementing
above a certain level. 1,000 iu a day is plenty, and even that is
unnecessary if the horse is on fresh green pasture at home, as that supplies
more than enough. There's no particular "timing" involved with vitamin e as
there is with other supplements, just popping a cap into the mash once a day
is fine. The most cost effective source is just a bottle of the human
gelcaps from WalMart. :-)
As for feeding oil on ride day, there are several reasons why I prefer not
to. One, fats provide a 'satiety factor'---a high fat meal suppresses
appetite for a lot longer than one based on carbos, which is why a
cheeseburger keeps you happy for alot longer than a salad will. Same thing
occurs in horses, more or less, so that if you feed a high fat meal, they're
less likely to eat plenty of the forage that is critical to maintaining gut
Two, fats tends to slow gastric emptying. There's some argument about
whether this is a good thing or not, but my opinion is that I want to keep
food moving through the system as much as possible. A high fiber meal, such
as hay, also slows gastric emptying to some extent---but the difference
between the two is that while the bulk of a forage meal stimulates hindgut
motility, a high fat meal does not---so given a choice between fats or
forage during the ride, forages are the clear choice.
Three, fats really don't supply anything that the horse is short of during a
ride. Even a horse in thin body condition is going to be able to mobilize
plenty of body fat stores to supply the energy for aerobic exercise. The su
bstrates that a horse is most likely to be depleted of during a ride are
water, electrolytes and glycogen (not necessarily in that order). None of
those are going to be supplied by supplementing fats during the ride, so the
feeding strategy during the ride should be focused on supplying plenty of
forages and carbohydrates.
If you haven't seen it, there was a three-part series in EN last summer that
had some pretty specific and detailed strategies that seem to be pretty
successful for alot of people. If you don't have those issues, the
articles, "Beating the Metabolic Pull" is also online on my website at
Good luck at Tevis this summer.
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