Frequently asked questions about Elevate® Se

What is the difference between organic selenium and inorganic selenium?

The organic source of selenium yeast is more digestible than commonly used inorganic selenium (sodium selenite) (Pagan et al., 1999). Recently approved by the FDA for use in equine supplements, organic selenium is produced by yeast. This form of selenium is similar to that which horses would consume in a natural grazing situation. Because of its more natural form, horses absorb and retain more organic selenium in their tissues, ensuring it is readily available when needed.

What horses benefit from natural vitamin E and organic selenium?

Performance and breeding horses, horses without access to fresh pasture, and those fed selenium-deficient feedstuffs.

Performance horses

As athletic effort increases, free radical production flourishes and normal stores of antioxidants have difficulty providing protection against the flood of free radicals. Supplementation with natural vitamin E and organic selenium allows performance horses to absorb and retain more of these powerful antioxidants in tissue reserves. This helps ward off the ill effects of mass-produced free radicals associated with intense exercise (McMeniman and Hintz, 1992; Hoffman et al., 2001; Williams et al., 2003). Supplementation with a combination of vitamin E and organic selenium reduces muscle stiffness and soreness, speeds up recovery time after intense exercise, and increases exercise tolerance.

Breeding horses

Vitamin E and selenium help maintain muscle and vascular integrity at the cellular level. Selenium deficiencies can cause a variety of problems for growing and breeding horses. Both nutrients are necessary to ensure adequate immune function in horses.

Mares supplemented with natural vitamin E and organic selenium produce foals with an improved immunoglobulin status, ensuring a strong neonatal immune system. Supplemental organic selenium improves the mare’s ability to maintain selenium reserves during gestation and lactation so both the mare and the foal receive the antioxidant protection needed to stay healthy. Mares maintained on selenium during pregnancy show an increase in placental expulsion time.

Vitamin E have been linked with increased libido and semen quality in stallions.

Horses without access to fresh pasture and those fed selenium-deficient feedstuffs

Fresh pasture is the greatest source of vitamin E in nature. The vitamin E content of dried forages, such as hay and hay cubes, is severely diminished upon harvesting and storage. In winter months or throughout periods of stall confinement, such as training, showing, or lay-up, fresh pasture is often not an option. In such cases horses should be supplemented with a natural vitamin E supplement.

Selenium content of forages and grains varies depending upon the region of the United States. Crops and pasture in the eastern half of the country and in the northwest are naturally low in selenium. Horses in these areas, or horses eating feeds harvested in these areas, may need selenium supplementation, especially if they are not being fed a fortified commercial feed at recommended levels. Supplementing with organic selenium yeast will ensure your horse’s selenium requirements are being met.

If you are unsure of your horse’s selenium status, be sure to consult a veterinarian or equine nutritionist before adding supplemental selenium to the diet.


Hoffman, R.M., K.L. Morgan, A. Phillips, J.E. Dinger, S.A. Zinn, and C. Faustman. 2001. Dietary vitamin E and ascorbic acid influence nutritional status of exercising polo ponies. In: Proc. Equine Nutr. Physiol. Symp. pp.129-130.
McMeniman, N.P., and H.F. Hintz. 1992. Effect of vitamin E status on lipid peroxidation in exercised horses. Equine Vet. J. 24:482-484.
Pagan, J.D., P. Karnezos, M.A.P. Kennedy, T. Currier, and K.E. Hoekstra. 1999. Effect of selenium source on selenium digestibility and retention in exercised Thoroughbreds. In: Proc. Equine Nutr. Physiol. Symp. pp. 135-140.
Williams, C.A., D.S. Kronfeld, T.M. Hess, J.E. Waldron, K.E. Saker, R.M. Hoffman, and P.A. Harris. 2003. Vitamin E intake and oxidative stress in endurance horses. In: Proc. Equine Nutr. Physiol. Symp. pp. 134-135.

How can I tell if my horse is deficient in vitamin E and/or selenium?

The most accurate way to determine you horse’s vitamin E and selenium status is to ask your veterinarian to run tests and review your feeding program. He or she can review the results with you and then discuss if supplementation is necessary.

Horses that have sub-clinical vitamin E deficiencies may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Compromised immune response and lower resistance to illnesses
  • Laziness or lack of energy
  • Low fertility levels
  • Poor growth rates (in young horses and foals)
  • Slow to recover after a hard workout
  • Sore or stiff muscles and possibly muscle disorders
  • Unwillingness to engage and move forward when being ridden

It is important to contact your veterinarian if you suspect your horse has a problem caused by selenium deficiency . As trained health care professionals, they have the knowledge and tools necessary to properly diagnose the problem and recommend the best treatment. Over-supplementation with selenium can result in toxicity, so care should be taken when adding selenium to your horse’s diet.

Horses that are deficient in selenium often express the following:

  • Hoof cracks, sore feet, laminitis
  • Increased heart and respiration rates
  • Listlessness
  • Lung edema
  • Muscle diseases, such as white muscle disease
  • Stiffness


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