Whether your horse jumps, piaffes or hacks, their joints keep them moving. Synovial joints provide movement, and your horse has 18 of them spread throughout the skeleton. Providing these joints with the right nutrition is essential to maintain joint function and performance and minimise injury and a good place to start is knowing what the joint needs to remain healthy.
This month our technical blog focuses on our New Product ColiFlex GastroJoint Care that offers a unique Digestive and Joint Health fusion formulation to provide optimum nutrition for healthy joints. Lisa Elliott, MSc from Equine Nutrition Solutions – explains why joints are so important, what they need to be healthy, and how you can provide the best nutrition to help keep your horse’s joints flexible and functioning well throughout their life.
What makes a healthy joint?
Every synovial joint in your horses’ body contains two bony ends, covered by articular cartilage, which is a type of connective tissue, and encased within a joint capsule. The inner layer of the joint capsule called the ‘synovial membrane’ secretes synovial fluid which provides cushioning and prevents friction between the joint structures, and the outer layer helps support and stabilise the joint.
The synovial fluid within the joint nourishes the joint cartilage. It’s important to think of the joint as a whole organ with key relationships between cartilage, bone, and synovial fluid where the synovial fluid supplies the vital nutrients for the joint to remain healthy and functioning well.
The synovial fluid contains a combination of different compounds all of which are integral to joint health. A major component of synovial fluid is hyaluronic acid which is a type of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) made up of a carbohydrate, attached to a protein backbone. Hyaluronic acid helps give synovial fluid its viscosity along with a type of protein called lubricin.
Articular cartilage contains a matrix of collagen, proteoglycans, and water. Hyaluronic acid is also present in cartilage. Proteoglycans help the cartilage become elastic and strong and are made up of chains of GAGs and incorporate chondroitin and keratin sulphate.
Maintenance of these joint constituents is essential for healthy joints, so how can you ensure you are supplying the right nutrition to support them?
Understanding Joint Nutrition
Joints require certain macro and micronutrients, as part of a balanced diet, to maintain and support joint health and integrity.
Glucose, which is abundant in forage, provides the basis for building GAGs and proteoglycans.
Protein is key for proteoglycans and collagen so ensuring your horse is getting a good supply of essential amino acids will help build the protein for good joint integrity.
Calcium and phosphorus are key constituents of bone but need to be supplied at the correct ratio of 2:1 (calcium to phosphorus) to ensure bones, and related joints stay strong and healthy.
Other essential minerals include copper, zinc and sulphur which are all important in the formation of cartilage.
Important vitamins for joint and bone health include Vitamin A, D and B vitamins along with Vitamin E.
Targeted Joint Nutrition with ColiFlex GastroJoint Care
ColiFlex GastroJoint Care provides optimum, targeted nutrition for healthy joints in 2 ways:
In the Digestive Tract
A healthy digestive system is pivotal to joint health. Even if a horse is receiving a fully balanced, forage-based diet, a compromised digestive system could mean reduced digestion of key nutrients needed to maintain a healthy joint complex. Additionally, a healthy digestive tract is essential for your horse to gain full benefit from targeted joint nutrition.
ColiFlex GastroJoint Care is formulated with 50% Coligone, which works throughout the digestive tract using active, natural ingredients to help combat compromised digestive health and support optimum digestion. This unique formulation helps to ensure maximum nutrition for your horse’s joints, through improved digestive function.
In the Joint Complex
Exercise and the natural ageing process can result in wear and tear within the joint complex, which can lead to inflammation and breakdown of key joint constituents and eventually, degenerative joint disease (DJD) or arthritis. ColiFlex GastroJoint Care provides a beneficial combination of key nutrients to help mitigate these effects, and provide the building blocks to support healthy, strong, and flexible joints in a readily available form.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulphate
Glucosamine in an important precursor, or a building block to glycosaminoglycans.
Chondroitin Sulphate is a principle glycosaminoglycan of Proteoglycans.
Both provide key joint requirements to help promote joint health, flexibility, and integrity. ColiFlex GastroJoint Care contains both Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulphate because research has shown they work well together to improve joint function. Recent studies have shown evidence that they help to build cartilage, reduce inflammation, and offer protection against cartilage degradation within the joint.
MSM is mainly a source of sulphur, which is essential for Collagen Production. Collagen is a structural protein which is a critical component of joint cartilage providing a structural framework. MSM also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce pain, helping to soothe discomfort and promote a healthier joint complex.
Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is another glycosaminoglycan. It is the key component of synovial fluid which provides essential lubrication and is also a potent anti-inflammatory agent, which makes it essential for healthy joints. Research studies using HA have shown reduced joint swelling and inflammation, along with chondroprotective effects, which help to delay the characteristics of arthritis and improve joint movement.
Preventing damage to joints from free radicals, which are released during normal exercise and metabolic processes is vital in preserving joint health and integrity throughout your horse’s life. ColiFlex GastroJoint Care supplies Vitamin C and E, both potent anti-oxidants, which work together within the joints to reduce damage and inflammation caused by free radicals. Vitamin C also has an important role within collagen production. Supplying Vitamin C is particularly important for older horses who are less able to produce it within their body, to ensure their bones and joints remain strong and healthy.
Omega 3 Complex
Omega 3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which help prevent damage to joints by controlling inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids can also reduce pain and stiffness and research has shown that they are readily absorbed into synovial fluid, increasing their potential to provide support and comfort within the joint capsule. Recent studies have shown that horses with arthritis receiving Omega 3 fatty acids had a significant decrease in joint inflammation. ColiFlex GastroJoint care, therefore, contains a potent Omega 3 complex to help mitigate damage and support optimum joint health and integrity.
The Moringa plant Moringa oleifera, is a nutritional powerhouse, that provides a range of nutritional and health benefits, throughout its seeds, leaves, stems and roots.
One of the main benefits of Moringa is its potent anti-inflammatory properties and research within animals has shown a significant reduction in both inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Moringa was also noted to have an anti-arthritic effect within many of these studies, indicating a potential protective role within joint health.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has been used for many years as a traditional remedy for arthritis. ACV can help control the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and painful joints by helping to flush out toxins that contribute to stiffness and soreness, helping to keep your horse more comfortable.
ColiFlex GastroJoint Care delivers generous levels of calcium for optimum bone health and integrity. Strong, healthy bones are essential because they create less stress on joints, which helps to ensure those joints stay flexible and functioning well.
ColiFlex GastroJoint Care is particularly suitable for older and hardworking horses and ponies who may be subject to greater wear and tear and need targeted nutrition to promote optimum joint flexibility and integrity. The unique formulation of ColiFlex GastroJoint Care also means it can be fed daily to a wide range of horses and ponies to support digestive health and provide beneficial nutrition to aid the development and maintenance of healthier joints.
If you have any questions about creating the best diet for your horse and keeping your horse healthy through the right nutrition, please contact Coligone – 0333 0503785/07986 183616 or firstname.lastname@example.org.