Is it necessary to feed additional fat or oil to my horse when I supplement with a natural vitamin E powder like Elevate?
No, it is not necessary to provide additional fat or oil to your horse when supplementing with the natural vitamin E contained in Elevate Maintenance Powder. A typical horse will consume enough fat from their diet to support the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. An exception to the rule would be a horse that is severely malnourished or one that has a medical condition that interferes with fat absorption.
A little bit of fat goes a long way.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and dietary fat is necessary for its proper absorption within the small intestine. However, the amount of fat needed is small and readily provided in a normal diet of hay and/or grass pasture. The research studies conducted on the source of natural vitamin E contained in Elevate Maintenance Powder were performed on horses consuming diets considered low in fat. The data in these studies showed Elevate to be extremely well absorbed
Where does fat come from in a horse’s diet?
Most horse people don’t consider hay and pasture as sources of dietary fat, but they are. For example, mixed grass pasture contains between 2.7% and 4.8% fat, depending on the variety of grass. Alfalfa hay contains 2% to 2.8% fat, and grass hay between 1.7% and 3.2% fat. Concentrates (grains and pelleted feeds) are more often recognized as providing calories in the form of fat. Depending on the feed’s formulation, the average fat levels in a commercial concentrate range from 2% to 12%.
Equine nutritionists who are experts in the field of vitamin E nutrition do not feel it is necessary to provide additional fat (or oil) when supplementing with the natural vitamin E contained in Elevate Maintenance Powder.
Does Elevate contain sugar? How much?
A scoop of Elevate Maintenance Powder contains 1,000 IU of natural vitamin E and 5 grams of sugar. This is a very small amount of sugar. For comparison, one medium apple contains 15 grams of sugar and one cup of chopped carrots contains 6 grams of sugar. Supplementation with Elevate Maintenance Powder does not significantly increase the level of sugar in your horse’s diet and is appropriate to feed to horses on a low sugar/starch diet.
How can I tell if my horse is deficient in vitamin E?
The most accurate way to determine your horse’s vitamin E status is to ask your veterinarian to run a simple blood test. 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 or episodes of tying-up
- Unwillingness to engage and move forward when being ridden
Which horses benefit from vitamin E supplementation?
Because of vitamin E’s influence on nearly all body processes, horses of all ages can benefit from supplementation, particularly if they do not have regular access to fresh pasture.
Horses at Maintenance
Vitamin E supplementation is essential for horses that are not allowed to graze. The vitamin E content of dried forages such as hay is severely diminished, with forages often losing 75% or more of their vitamin content upon harvesting and storing. Therefore, supplementation with vitamin E is most crucial during the winter when horses are fed diets almost exclusively composed of preserved forages. Inadequate fortification of textured feeds or the feeding of straight grains (oats, for example) may also contribute to vitamin E deprivation.
Supplementation may be indicated year-round for racehorses and show horses confined to stalls or those that are restricted from grazing for metabolic reasons.
Vitamin E is an essential component to body-wide antioxidant defenses, with one of its most important duties being cell membrane maintenance. Cell membranes are composed largely of unsaturated lipids and are therefore vulnerable to assault by free radicals, compounds that can irreparably damage cell membranes.
As athletic effort increases, free radical production flourishes and natural stores of antioxidants have difficulty providing sufficient protection against the flood of free radicals generated. Supplementation is therefore necessary to help ward off the ill effects of mass-produced free radicals associated with intense exercise. Horses with an inadequate reserve of vitamin E may experience muscle soreness or stiffness during an exercise bout and prolonged recovery following strenuous work.
Broodmares and Foals
Recent research has lauded the use of vitamin E on breeding farms. Mares supplemented with vitamin E have shown increased passive transfer of antibodies to foals, which ensures the strength of the neonatal immune system. Failure of passive transfer leaves foals susceptible to septicemia and bacterial infections. In a study conducted at the University of Connecticut, researchers found that mares supplemented with vitamin E had higher antibody concentrations in blood and colostrums than control mares. The concentrations of foals reflected those of their dams, with foals from supplemented mares having increased levels of antibodies. In addition, in some areas of the United States vitamin E is customarily given to all newborn foals to stave off white muscle disease, a serious malady caused by deficiencies of vitamin E and/or selenium.
There is also increasing evidence that vitamin E supplementation may increase fertility in mares. Due to modern management practices, including winter breeding dates, mares may not be receiving adequate vitamin E nutrition through rations composed solely of hay and grain. Supplementation will increase circulating levels of vitamin E and may positively affect fertility.
Vitamin E has been linked with increased libido and semen quality in stallions. One of the most important functions of vitamin E in stallions is cell membrane protection, achieved by scavenging free radicals. Chilling, freezing, and shipping semen increase free radical production.
Horses with Neurological and Muscular Disease
Over the past several years, researchers have been studying the effectiveness of megadoses of vitamin E in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases such as equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (EDM), equine motor neuron disease (EMND), and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM).
EDM is a progressive disease of the brain stem and spinal cord. The disease occurs principally in young horses, and the primary sign is progressive ataxia or incoordination. Researchers have determined that EDM is not a congenital disease, though a horse may have a genetic predisposition to it.
Scientists linked vitamin E deficiency with EDM more than a decade ago. Of particular interest is research conducted at the University of Florida, where scientists worked with the EDM-affected get of two Standardbred stallions. The mares bred to these stallions and the resulting foals were given 1,500 IU of vitamin E per day. A year after supplementation began, only 10% of the foals were affected. Further offspring of the stallion were not diseased.
Cornell University first identified EMND. Although the cause of the syndrome is unknown, a commonality among affected horses is reduced exposure to green grass for more than a year and availability of poor-quality hay during that time. Dramatic clinical improvement was documented in horses that were allowed unrestricted access to lush pasture and vitamin E supplementation.
Vitamin E is often prescribed for horses with equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), to be used concomitantly with antiprotozoal medications. It’s not unusual, for instance, for horses to be supplemented with up to 8,000 IU of vitamin E per day during convalescence.
I was told that vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and is stored in the tissues. Can too much hurt my horse?
Vitamin E toxicity has not been noted in horses. Veterinarians will often feed high levels of vitamin E to compromised foals or horses challenged by neurological disease. However, it is always best to follow the recommended feeding directions when using any supplement. Do not give your horse more than the recommended amounts unless directed to do so by your veterinarian.
I know vitamin E is an antioxidant, but how does it work?
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is a critically important nutrient for all horses, and supplementation is especially important for horses with limited or no access to lush pastures. This vitamin is not synthesized by the horse; therefore, it is an essential dietary nutrient. It is the primary lipid-soluble antioxidant that maintains cell membrane integrity and enhances both humoral- and cell-mediated immunity. Other metabolic roles of vitamin E have been reviewed by Brigelius-Flohé and Traber (1999).
Changes in husbandry practices and ingredients used to formulate equine diets have dramatically increased the need for supplementing diets with this critically important vitamin in all segments of the horse industry. Gestating and lactating mares, young growing horses, and performance horses have the greatest need for vitamin E supplementation, especially those that do not have access to lush, green pasture.
Free Radicals May Harm Cells
Free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) are unstable atoms with unpaired numbers of electrons that are formed when oxygen interacts with other molecules in all cells. Once formed, these reactive radicals can initiate chain reactions, resulting in a cascading negative effect on many other molecules within cells and cell walls, which in turn causes oxidative stress within the animal. Free radicals are commonly produced as part of normal cell metabolism, but also can become excessive following injury or disease. Left uncontrolled, free radicals can cause considerable irreparable damage to cells and cell membranes. They can alter the structure of cell membranes, and create havoc to polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), proteins, and DNA within cells. The more active the cell, the greater the potential risk of cellular damage. Excessive free radical production or oxidative stress results when the formation of free radicals overwhelms the body’s ability to break the chain reactions that take place and an imbalance between production and removal of free radicals occurs. Uncontrolled oxidative stress can overpower the horse’s ability to fight back and may result in tissue damage, thus possibly impairing life.
In several species, including humans, this damage has recently been linked to degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, renal disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cataracts. It may have a deleterious effect on the immune system (NRC Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium and Carotenoids, 2000).
Antioxidants Help Prevent Cell Damage Caused by Oxidative Stress
Antioxidants are the horse’s major defense system against the scourge of free radicals and oxidative stress. Enzymatic antioxidants are synthesized in the body to neutralize free radical production. Key enzymatic antioxidants include superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase. Other major sources of antioxidants available to the horse are nonenzymatic or nutritional antioxidants. Nonenzymatic antioxidants, like vitamin E and C scavenge and convert free radicals to relatively stable compounds and stop the chain reaction of free radical damage. Therefore, all antioxidants are critically important to protect horses from tissue damage and disease, and may enhance immunity during these processes. Horses are able to synthesize vitamin C, so it appears that vitamin E is the major antioxidant vitamin required from dietary sources. The critical phases of reproduction in mares and stallions, growth of foals, and exercise of equine athletes are all especially important. Thus, for the horse, vitamin E appears to be the most important dietary fat-soluble nonenzymatic antioxidant to assist in combating free radical production and propagation.
Vitamin E is unique among vitamins in that it is not required for a specific metabolic function. As alpha-tocopherol, vitamin E’s main function appears to be the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Thus, vitamin E is notably essential for the proper function of the reproductive, muscular, nervous, circulatory, and immune systems.
What is the difference between Elevate W.S. and Elevate Maintenance powder or Elevate Concentrate powder?
Elevate® natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol) is provided to horses in two physical forms, powder or liquid. Both forms can be absorbed by the horse. Elevate® Maintenance powder and Elevate® Concentrate powder are classified as an acetate (powdered) form of natural vitamin E. This describes its molecular structure. Acetates are a larger, more stable compound; therefore, it takes the horse a few more steps to digest and absorb it. It takes about three weeks for vitamin E in powdered form to reach optimal levels in the horse’s body. The benefit of the powder is that it less likely to break down in the environment, so you can mix it in the feed ahead of time without worrying about it losing its potency. It is not affected by extreme temperatures, so it retains its biopotency when stored in various environmental conditions. It is both convenient and effective. Elevate Maintenance powder supplies 1000 IU of natural vitamin E per scoop and Elevate Concentrate supplies 5000 IU of natural vitamin E per scoop. The powder form is recommended when it is acceptable to raise blood levels slowly. Elevate Powder is the product of choice to maintain optimal levels of natural vitamin E over time.
Elevate W.S. is a water-soluble natural vitamin E. It goes through a patented process that changes its molecular structure so that is it easier for the horse to digest, absorb and store. Because of this change, Elevate W.S. is less stable in the environment, which is why you have to feed it immediately after removing it from the bottle. It begins to slowly break down as soon as it is exposed to light and air. It is will lose its biopotency when exposed to extreme temperatures. The benefit to this form of natural vitamin E is that it begins to increase blood levels within 24 hours and peak levels are reached in three days. Elevate W.S. also passes through the blood-brain barrier and is absorbed into the cerebral spinal fluid. Because of these benefits, Elevate W.S. is recommended for use when it is necessary to raise blood levels quickly and when neurological diseases are being treated.
The take-home message is this: Both liquid and powdered forms of Elevate natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol) are effectively absorbed and retained by horses. Elevate W.S. is fast-acting when acute situations demand quick absorption, and it is the product of choice when treating neurological issues. Elevate Maintenance and Elevate Concentrate are convenient and effective at slowly raising and then maintaining vitamin E levels necessary to support wellness and optimal performance.
I have a mare that is 7 and I recently started to rodeo hard on her and I’ve noticed her body being very tight 24/7 and when she would eat her grain, she would stick her head up in the air and made me think something with TMJ but I took her to my vet and had acupuncture done and she also recommended Elevate to help with her body soreness. It has been 2 weeks now and my horse has never felt better! She eats normally now and has been clocking faster in the pen. Thank you Northwest Vet in Mount Vernon WA for making my athlete look and FEEL her best!
We are so glad to hear your horse is doing well.
Janet Grogan –
My horse was tripping and I was not feeling safe when riding him. I discussed this with my vet and he suggested that I start using “Kentucky Performance Elevate”. He said that a trippy horse usually indicates that the horse needs Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps the muscles of the horse. I put my horse on Elevate in June, 2022. His tripping issues have improved by 99%.
Lucy Retz –
“KPP was highly recommended to me by my veterinarian, Dr. Meghan Waller. Meghan only recommends products she personally believes in, and takes a scientific based approach when choosing and recommending products. She puts a lot of time and effort into researching them so we only get the best. Her recommendations time and time again prove to work exactly as she says. I am so lucky to have her as a veterinarian!
My 14 year old miniature mare, Ladybug, began becoming increasingly more lame in the hind end in May. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch her hobble around. My vet performed a lameness exam and she was pretty sure Ladybug had arthritis, but we couldn’t do imaging on the farm to confirm this. I considered euthanizing my mare because she was so painful and I felt helpless. My vet referred me to the Ontario Equine Hospital. There, Ladybug met the fabulous Dr. Orlaith Cleary who did a variety of different types of imaging on her. To our surprise, there was no arthritis, and everything appeared to be clean and healthy. I remember being so confused and almost a little upset that we couldn’t find anything to cause her severe stiffness and lameness. That’s when Dr. Cleary said, on a hunch, “Lets do a full blood panel, I wonder if she’s selenium and vitamin e deficient”. so we did, and 2 agonizing weeks later we got the results back confirming Nutrition Myopathy Disease.
So, now what? She’s got this deficiency but what do we do? In comes KPP supplements. Within 4 days my mare already was more comfortable. It was absolutely incredible to see a positive change so quickly. Ladybug is a very picky eater as well (I mean like, if I add too much water to her grain even, she won’t eat it) but the supplements are so palatable, she’s never batted an eye. We are now approximately 6 weeks in and the change is incredible and she gets better every single day. My mare who before didn’t want to move, was so stiff and miserable.. is now back to her spunky little self. We still have a long way to go, but we can’t thank KPP supplements and our awesome veterinarians enough for giving me my girl back.”
Courtney D –
My horse went from lame,stiff and just grouchy to sound happy and has now the spark of life in his eye. Had several different types and extra maintenance items but still just seemed a tad off. He would repeatly come up lame for about 2 years. Then we pssm tested this came back negative. Went to our next step of vitamin E testing. It was low normal, and he shows the normal common symptoms which look like PSSM.
We tested after 4 weeks and he was even lower, so we double the dose and in time it come up and now we have him on the powder and below is what he looks like a year later.
Kim Baierl –
Our vet recommended Elevate for both horses to maintain a strong immune system. In talking with Lisa Barry a 5* Eventer, she recommended Tage receive digestive support with Neigh-Lox Advanced.
Each horse gets a blue scoop of Elevate in AM and PM food. Additionally Tage gets 2 scoops of Neigh-Lox Advanced AM and PM.
Both products are easy to administer and eaten happily.
Lydia Harvey, Oregon –
This supplement saved my palomino mare’s life. She had a deficiency and I didn’t know. She got increasingly agitated and started exhibiting neuro symptoms and instability in her hind end. I was about to put her down due to quality of life when a friend who studied equine neurological disease mentioned vitamin E. 9 weeks after starting she is sound, building muscle, no longer agitated and moving more comfortably. I got her selenium and vitamin e levels tested after 8 weeks and vitamin E was low end of normal. Showed results to my friend and she said yes, the mare was deficient when I started. I am forever thankful for this supplement.
Carla Hawks –
Great product. So convenient. Recommend by my vet.
Karen Dilger (verified owner) –
Had a problem with my horse not picking up his hind feet. Had a chiropractor and my vet out and they couldn’t figure out why he had this problem. Vet took blood-found he was very deficient in Vit E. Started feeding Elevate last August, 2018. He has begun to pick up his hind feet now, in May 2019. Also, he shed his winter coat with very little help from me. He is galloping around like a two year old, and he’s 12. All my horses are on Elevate. My mare was lame, off and on, in her back legs-she is dashing around like a nut, and no lameness since started on Elevate, 10 months now. Also-all three horses were treated for Lyme Disease last year. I have seen no problems from the Lyme, and strongly suggest any one with a horse that has had Lyme, to get their horses on Vitamin E as soon as possible. And keep them on it!!!! Wish I knew about this information earlier.
Thank you for such a wonderful product. My horses love it-they all get quiet when I reach for my Jar of Elevate. They watch me add it to their feed, and then, when I put the jar down, the barn explodes with nickers! They know their breakfast is coming.
Erika Johnson –
I’ve been give my mare Elevate Vitamin E for three years since her diagnosis of EPM and Lyme. It helped us treat those issues, and I’ve kept her on it since to keep her immune system strong. It’s super easy to feed. It’s all natural. The added bonus is, my horse’s cost is so shiny and soft. Miracle product! Will continue to use it for life.