We are not victims of our genetics, we are Masters of Our Health
Magnesium 4 Horses
Elektra Magnesium® (Magnesium4Horses) has been used since 2009 by horse owners all over Australia and the World as a horse feed nutritional supplement…
The original and the BEST!
Magnesium for Horses: Natural Magnesium Chloride for Calmer Horses and Healthier Hooves
Elektra Magnesium® Chloride Hexahydrate salts (used also in Magnesium4Horses packaging) are naturally evaporated and food grade, with Australian laboratory trace mineral analysis down to 10ppb showing NO mercury and NO lead contaminants. They show the highest level of elemental magnesium (over 16%) of all the magnesium chlorides in the range (range = 12-16%). Magnesium chloride is the most soluble and bio-available form of magnesium, and requires no work to digest once it is dissolved in water. Cells can take it up immediately – even transdermally!
Other magnesium compounds encounter digestive issues and are less bio-available. For example, magnesium oxide, a commonly used magnesium supplement, is only 4% bio-available, which means that most is expelled via the digestive system regardless of how magnesium deficient the horse may be.
Note that some horses may also need a form of toxin binder and/or pH treatment to optimize the benefits of magnesium. For more information about diet and nutritional balance you can consult with a horse therapist.
What’s the Difference?
Magnesium4Horses was a natural offshoot from the human range of Elektra Magnesium® body care products. People seemed to get confused about the Elektra Magnesium® packaging and kept asking if it was okay to use for horses, so a different packaging was the ideal solution. The same source of magnesium chloride flakes supplies both brands with the difference only being the course cut or thickness of the flakes. This aspect, as well as the cheaper horse packaging, means we can supply Elektra Magnesium chloride flakes at a cheaper price via Magnesium4Horses – which is very important when you have to go through so much more to feed a horse!
The story of our journey since 2009 as part of the Horse Magnesium Revolution involves The Horse Mums.
THE HORSE MUMS: In 2009 Pauline Moore, leading expert in horse nutrition in Australia (www.gravelproofhoof.org), approached Elektra Life regarding the use of our magnesium chloride flakes as a horse feed supplement. She explained how horses in Australia are more prone to magnesium deficiency because our soils are deficient and consequently produce grasses high in sugars and low in magnesium. This leads to a high incidence of horse diabetes. She also said that other forms of magnesium commonly used, like magnesium oxide, are difficult for the horse digestive system to assimilate and absorb – and they don’t like the taste either. Pauline trialed our magnesium chloride salts extensively, documenting several cases with photographs and X-ray evidence of healing of the hoof lamina as a result of the use of Elektra Magnesium flakes in the feed. She worked closely with horse podio therapist Deborah Benstead to develop arguably the most successful natural magnesium supplement feeding system in Australia. Many horse rehab facilities and rescue centers have adopted these protocols with impressive results, bringing horses back to health from the brink where they had been facing a trip to the abattoirs. Over the years the word about these successes spread until an Australia-wide natural health horse community developed with people using this protocol on their horses to achieve optimal health and wellness. These horse owners are mostly women and extremely devoted to their horses, which they treat as their own children. We call them “The Horse Mums”.
The Importance of Food Grade Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate
The original salt water source is extremely important in determining the quality of magnesium chloride salts harvested. Generally, the cleanest salts on the planet are now from alpine regions thousands of meters above sea level and preferably not near agriculture (chemical run-off), population (sewage and other pollution), or mining operations(mining contaminants). The open ocean is now known for containing too much mercury and we are warned not to consume large fish because of it. Cities around the Dead Sea (once highly acclaimed for its healing minerals), let out raw unprocessed sewage into that body of water. This salt water is then siphoned out and dehydrated to make magnesium chloride salt flakes. Of course it is cleansed first, but can you be sure that the radiation chemicals or oestrogen from the Pill, which are contained in sewage from modern cities these days, has been fully removed?
Land based sources aren’t much better because they usually have to use ‘solution-mining’ whereby they pump water into a hard buried layer of crystalised salts (bischoffite) to dilute and then pump out to tanks. This method can introduce contaminants which then have to be chemically processed out.
Even the altitude of the source does not guarantee the highest quality if it’s near any of these pollution sources. Some suppliers will tell you that, “It’s food grade, but just without the certification.” Just because the flakes may be from the Tibetan Plateau or Himalayas does not guarantee ‘food grade’ and they may still be the contaminated industrial grade.You can get both classifications from these regions. If you think they will take a cut in potential profit by selling themuch rarer food grade quality (10-15% of magnesium chloride salts harvested) for the same price as the moreabundantly available industrial grade (85-90% of magnesium chloride salts harvested), then I have a harbour bridge in Sydney you may be interested in buying too.
Industrial grade magnesium chlorides are used for many applications including agricultural soil supplement, swimming pool salt, making magnesium metal, de-icing roads and cleaning dust from air of mining operations. For these purposes the industrial grade is fine. However, ‘Food Grade’ is ‘Food Supplement’, so be careful of anything else when consuming it or even using on your skin for prolonged periods of time, as the skin is the largest organ of the body and it is porous. If you are feeding it to your horse or pets make sure the magnesium salts are really food grade. Ask the supplier for a trace mineral analysis with testing down to 10ppb by an independent Australian laboratory, and confirm there is no mercury or lead detected. Horses and pets won’t be able to notice the difference in taste if these metals are present,which means they could accumulate over time in the tissue cells. Also, the total elemental magnesium content should be at least 15% and best at over 16%. The industrial grades tend to be at around 12% elemental.
In addition, don’t be fooled by ‘organic claims’ because when it comes to mineral extractions you could say that crude oil is also ‘organic’ (not grown with pesticides or chemical fertilizers). An inorganic mineral is an inorganic mineral and can have no other inference. A sea mineral salt is a complex of inorganic minerals. There is no regulation in Australia about such claims or the inference that the word ‘organic’ somehow makes it better. It’s a question of ‘buyer-beware’.
There is also no difference in price between thin and fat magnesium chloride flakes. The difference you need to be mindful of is the ‘food grade’ compared to ‘industrial grade’ difference. I had some people from Western Australia tell me they tried some of these cheaper magnesium salts in horse feed, which they said made their horses sick because of too much bromine. Every week now we are getting reports and emails from customers that have tried the cheaper salts(also for personal use) because of the price lure, only to come back afterwards in despair and desperate to get more Elektra Magnesium Chloride Salt Flakes.
THE BEST THERE IS: Elektra Magnesium Chloride salt flakesare sourced from the Tibetan Plateau alpine salt water lakes AND are ‘food grade’ quality. They are a certified ‘food supplement’.
We then get them tested in Australia using highly sensitive equipment that can test down to 10ppb (not just 10ppm) and these salts have no mercury and no lead detected – AND the highest level of elemental magnesium in the range of magnesium chloride hexahydrate (16.6%).
Stress and Horse Health
Stress is both an angel and a demon: On the one hand, it pushes us forward to adapt, achieve and strengthen muscles, and on the other hand it can kill us prematurely. How does stress shape our body and how can we manage it for optimal health?
A vital key to making sure that stresses make us better and not worse is to maintain an appropriate balance between tension and relaxation. If you keep pushing and stressing a muscle without appropriate recovery time the muscle gets injured and inflamed. In a work environment it can lead to Repetitive Stress Injury. In an athlete or horse it can lead to acidification and tissue breakdown.
When we are tensed and in the ‘fight or flight’ mode we are said to be in the ‘sympathetic mode’. This is when the blood rushes to extremities ready for quick-twitch muscle firing to escape danger orto fight the predator. During this phase the digestive system stops, as does the cellular detox and cellbuilding systems. When the danger is gone and we are relaxing again we move back to the ‘parasympathetic mode’ (sometimes called grazing or ‘rest and digest’ mode) – where digestion and other systems return to normal.
The maintenance of good health is therefore dependent on environmental conditions. For muscles to have a good tone with strength and flexibility they need to be ‘trained’ with exercise and they need to have sufficient recovery nutrients like magnesium. Playful exercise helps to push around the lymphatic system to eliminate wastes. This is particularly important for horses. Lack of exercise can cause severe stress (the bad kind).
Horses love to run or walk long distances. For thousands of years they have served humans well as modes of transport. Today they are more prone to stress from confinement and lack of exercise. The hoof wall acts like a pressure container for filling and emptying of lymphatic initial vessels via the ground contact and suspension of the moving foot. If movement is restricted it can cause problems for the lymphatic system such as ‘filled legs’/’stocking up’, which may eventually lead to lymphangitis. Stable and exercise bandages, steel horse shoes and lack of regular and correct trimming of hooves (maximum 4 weeks) have been shown to adversely affect the blood and lymphatic circulations of the leg. See Dr Professor Bowkers research at www.thehorseshoof.com/Art_Bowker.html and www.gravelproofhoof.org.
Horses evolved from small mammals whose survival depended on their ability to flee from predators. Their first instinct when frightened is to escape. If running is not possible, the horse resorts to biting, kicking, striking or rearing to protect itself. Many of the horse’s natural behavior patterns, such as herd-formation and social facilitation of activities, are directly related to their being a prey species. This means they are easily spooked and subject to stress – especially if they don’t get enough attention and feel lonely. They are intensely social creatures, relying on relationships to give them confidence and the ability to relax and rest.
Other sources of horse stress to be aware of are inclement weather, travelling, performance, bullying by horses or humans, not being able to graze, chemicals and nutrient deficient food, and isolation (no equine companionship). Unrelenting stress can cause colic, irritability and even deteriorate into diseases of diabetes and laminitis (hoof disease). Horses have a sensitive digestive system which is easily disrupted by stress. Take care to ensure they are not exposed to pesticides on their grazing pastures and in their drinking water from dams and waterways. Grains can also cause acidosis because they share the same acidic by-product as sugar in metabolism – especially in the absence of sufficient magnesium and acid-buffering antioxidants.
Diabetes in horses is a worsening issue these days because domesticated horses are confined to paddocks that are often low in magnesium and high in plant sugars. That’s like sending a diabetic out in the field to eat candy. Diabetes leads to hoof disease and premature ageing. The evolution of the horse was from alpine regions with an abundance of trace minerals from glacial waters. The plant food they ate was high in minerals and low in sugars. These plant foods carried an abundance of beneficial bacteria to assist digestion, which also produced essential fatty acids. Their natural diet was nutrient dense.
Calcium contracts and magnesium relaxes, however magnesium is lost from the tissue cells with every stress and exertion, so we tend to get very low in magnesium and stay high in calcium. Our soils and food supply have become deficient in magnesium. To add insult to injury, stress depletes excessive amounts from tissue cells, as magnesium is used to counteract the effects of stress. Without enough magnesium the body is prone to involuntary muscle contraction from calcium(cramps, twitches, spasms), as well as calcification of soft tissue and ligaments (arthritis and stiff joints).
Sugar Sensitivity and pH Balance
As magnesium gets lower sugar sensitivity, acidity and inflammation increases. As you lift magnesium levels in cells the sugar sensitivity and acidification settles down again. It’s like a see–saw. Magnesium calms the temperament as well as muscles, it helps cells detox and it is vital in energy metabolism because it is used by the mitochondria to make ATP (adenosine triphosphate) –the energy currency of the cell. This bio-electrical system drives every enzyme reaction in the body. Magnesium is at the centre of our life force itself. It’s the central molecule in chlorophyll. Magnesium is the primary electrolyte in the metabolism of energy from sunlight to plant to animal.
It takes 28 magnesium molecules to metabolise one sucrose molecule into energy, and 56 magnesium molecules to metabolise one fructose molecule. When you ingest a little sweet stuff, if you have a good storage tank of magnesium you can cope with the sugar metabolism without sensitivity.
As you consume more sugar, and magnesium levels are depleted, the electrical system starts to splutter and falter, like an ill-tuned car engine. It also causes the vascular system to contract, causing hypertension. This is because low magnesium and high sugar induces dehydration of cells. It’s the magnesium ions in cell membranes that hold the charge.
You need a charged electrolyte alkaline water to maintain the integrity of the cell membrane and hold the water balance inside cells. The body starts to panic because of dehydration and extra adrenaline is released for action. It is screaming for water and minerals as a result of the sugar assault and is desperately looking to re-establish pH balance. This is what makes kids fly around the room and swing off the chandeliers after a bag of jellybeans. Your horse is no different.
Natural Magnesium Supplementation in the Diet
The best way to help the body balance itself is to supply adequate hydration and the right nutrition.As magnesium is low in soils we need to add to our food and water the most bio-available form of magnesium, which is the salt form called magnesium chloride hexahydrate (magnesium flakes). Make sure to use ‘food grade’ for oral use, as most magnesium chlorides are industrial grade with contaminants from agricultural or mining runoff, mercury and other pollutants from ocean and population sources. The food grade sources are usually from remote alpine regions, naturally dehydrated with the sodium skimmed off, and retaining about two percent other trace minerals. Food grade magnesium flakes should have an independent laboratory’s mineral analysis showing no mercury and no lead detected down to 10ppb. Ask the supplier if not sure.
What are some common signs and symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?
Nervous, anxious temperament
Sudden shying at familiar objects
Violent pulling-back when tied
Dislike of grooming
Aggression towards owners or herdmates
Separation anxiety, herd-bound
Restless under saddle, unable to focus on rider, bucking
Poor hoof quality, footsore without shoes or boots on hard or rough ground
Short stride with inappropriate toe-first hoof landing in movement
Insulin resistant with heavy crest
Stiff, braced posture with deep ‘V’ behind withers
Front feet placed far back under body when resting
Tight, sloping croup
Excessive sweating in hot weather, shivering in warm, wet weather
The majority of readily available horse feeds and forages are grown commercially with the help of fertilizers that contain little or no magnesium. Over time, soils become depleted of magnesium and some other minerals, which are then not available for uptake by the growing plants. The result is an over-abundance of minerals such as phosphorous and potassium and a deficit of magnesium. Some legume forages such as lucerne and clover are naturally high in calcium but will be low in magnesium if grown in magnesium deficient soils.
Why does magnesium do in Horses?
Magnesium is needed directly for over 350 biochemical processes within the body, and is additionally involved in thousands of others. Magnesium is vital for energy production, metabolism of other minerals, regulation of blood sugars, maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, and maintaining strength of bones and teeth.
Why are Horses deficient in Magnesium?
Horses like humans lose Magnesium under stress. The more stress the more magnesium deficient a Horse can be. Stresses can include emotional stress, physical stress (racing, eventing, etc), chemical stress (toxins found on farms that may lead into food and water supply) and immune stress (infections and disease). The biggest problem is also how to supply and replenish Magnesium levels to optimal ranges. Normally in the environment, horses will get enough Magnesium from a variety of grasses as they roam and travel around. In Australia however the grasses are higher in sugars and lower in minerals that you normally get from mountainous regions in Asia or Europe. So the combination of stresses and low levels in food supply means Horses become easily Magnesium Deficient.
Horse health practitioners, podiotherapists and hoof trimmers recommend Elektra Magnesium Chloride Flakes supplement in horse feeds to balance diet and address magnesium deficiency symptoms. Impressive results have been achieved using this magnesium chloride feeding method, including a calmer and easier to manage horse. If you have had issues with a grumpy cantankerous horse and are not sure why, then it could very well be due to a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium is an anti-inflammatory mineral and also helps to dissipate pain and swelling.
Magnesium helps horses with:
muscle relaxation and recovery from over-work;
to be more focused and cooperative;
improving riding performance and confidence;
building healthier and better-formed hoofs;
better posture and structural balance.
How much does my horse need?
How much your horse needs depends on the individual horse; their environment, diet, stress levels and genes.
However on average, one 9kg bucket of magnesium flakes usually lasts one horse about 5 months.