Joint Supplements for Horses: Know the Types and Their Importance

joint supplements for horses

Horses, like any other athletes, can experience wear and tear on their joints, leading to discomfort and decreased performance. Joint supplements can play a pivotal role in maintaining and improving joint health, enhancing mobility, and extending the active years of your equine companion. In this blog, we will explore the types of joint supplements for horses and their benefits. 

Types of joint supplements for horses

There are various joint supplements available that may improve the overall joint health and performance of your horse. The most commonly used ingredients in joint supplements include glucosamine, methylsulfonylmethane, cartilage, omega-3 fatty acids, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid.

1.   Glucosamine

It is a naturally occurring compound known as the building block of cartilage. It is available in 3 different forms: hydrochloride, sulfate, and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine.

Functions of glucosamine:

  • Maintains healthy cartilage: Glucosamine helps build strong cartilage by providing sulfur, which in turn slows the progression of cartilage deterioration.
  • Healthy synovial fluid: Glucosamine improves the composition of synovial fluid as it is rich in sulfur.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Glucosamine exerts anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce joint swelling.
  • Improves protein production:  Glucosamine helps in the production of proteins called proteoglycans, which may help improve joint function and reduce cartilage degeneration.

2.   Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

It is one of the safest joint supplements for horses. Methylsulfonylmethane is well-tolerated by horses and is a natural source of sulfur. It is naturally found in Alfalfa and grains.

Functions of methylsulfonylmethane:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Methylsulfonylmethane are known to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce joint swelling and support joint comfort and flexibility.
  • Antioxidant properties: Methylsulfonylmethane helps reduce cell damage due to its free-radical neutralizing properties.
  • Muscle health: It inhibits the enzyme cholinesterase, thus reducing muscle spasms and joint pain.

3.   Chondroitin sulfate

It is another important component present in the cartilage. It is made up of various sugar molecules.  It is often paired with glucosamine in various equine supplements.

Functions of chondroitin sulfate: 

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Chondroitin sulfate helps reduce the nitric oxide concentration, thus reducing joint inflammation. 
  • Slows cartilage degradation: Chondroitin sulfate helps prevent cartilage degradation by inhibiting glycosaminoglycans (GAG)-degrading enzymes.
  • Stimulates cartilage synthesis.
  • Improves hyaluronic acid concentration in the synovial fluid.

4.   Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is one of the major components of cartilage, joint, and connective tissues. It can be injected directly into the joint to promote the joint health.

Functions of hyaluronic acid:

  • Improves joint health: Since hyaluronic acid is a major component of synovial fluid, taking supplements containing this compound can help improve joint health. It also helps improve the joint lubrication and may help reduce lameness.
  • Improves cartilage composition.
  • Improves elasticity of connective tissue.
  • Hyaluronic acid may also help reduce pain in the joints by reducing the deterioration of joints.

5.   Resveratrol

It is a polyphenolic compound known for its positive impact on joint health. It is naturally found in many plant sources, such as blueberries and pines.

Functions of resveratrol:

  • Antioxidant properties: Resveratrol helps support the joint health by reducing the oxidative stress. It neutralizes the free radicals causing oxidative stress and helps maintain healthy joint cells.
  • Increases cartilage production: Resveratrol may also help in cartilage production and prevent their degradation.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: It also helps reduce inflammation of the joints by reducing the synthesis of inflammatory mediators such as interleukins. 

6.   Omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is commonly found in marine oils and flaxseeds.

Functions of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Antioxidant properties: Antioxidant properties of omega-3 fatty acids are exhibited by decreasing the free radicals and reactive oxidative species.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are well-known for reducing inflammation and swelling.

Apart from these ingredients turmeric, vitamins such as E, C and A, capsaicin, collagen, can also be added to the joint supplements for horses to increase the efficacy and health of your horse.


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