Proper electrolyte balance and hydration should be a main priority for horse owners. In stressful situations, such as travel, breeding or heavy training, horses may not be taking in all the fluids they need. Feeding daily electrolytes is important for performance and endurance disciplines, pre and post-event or with increased temperature or humidity. Jack Grogan, Certified Nutritionist and Chief Science Officer for Uckele Health & Nutrition, has formulated innovative electrolyte formulas in a variety of delivery systems.
Grogan explains that effective electrolyte formulas contain balanced amounts of the major electrolytes sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chloride, “Highly concentrated products offer the best advantage because smaller amounts can be utilized to give the greatest benefit. Electrolytes, along with proper fluid intake, are vital for hydration, energy production, muscular contraction and relaxation, acid base balance, heart and lung function and the ability of all the muscles to recover from any type of stress, whether it's related to illness, travel, training or performing.” He adds that they are essential for mineral balance, to maintain the balance and flow of vital body fluids, the transmission of nerve impulses and the healthy function of the muscles and the circulatory system.
Powdered electrolyte supplements are easily added to water or feed, and well-balanced, electrolyte-rich low-sugar products are strongly recommended as important for reducing metabolic stress and maintaining proper electrolyte balance. Grogan suggests that, although some sugar or carbohydrate is required to improve hydration and absorption of the electrolytes, many products are too high in carbohydrate content, with virtually all of it sugar and maltodextrin with a little bit of added salt, “The result is that horse owners are basically paying for sugar without receiving the full electrolyte benefit,” Grogan cautions, “In fact, consuming too much sugar can actually increase electrolyte losses and make it more difficult to maintain a balanced electrolyte level in the blood and the tissues, causing performance to suffer substantially rather than being enhanced.”
Grogan strongly recommends electrolyte products that are more comprehensive supply an sufficient intake of essential vitamins, probiotics and electrolytes all in one dose, “They not only provide the electrolytes in a low-sugar base, but include a number of nutrients and supplements that are important in helping the horse's body to manage the effects of any stressful event much more efficiently. This includes the B-Complex vitamins, Vitamin E, and the probiotics for gut health. This type of electrolyte formula is especially effective for horses that get nervous and sweat out before competition.”
He also advocates a full-spectrum electrolyte in a convenient tube that can be used pre and post-event or any time there is an immediate or increased need for electrolytes during intense training, travel, performance, stressful episodes or during and after illness, “This type of delivery system is a trail-worthy, easy and a convenient way to ensure adequate electrolyte intake.”
Jack Grogan has considerable experience in the fields of biology, biochemistry and nutrition, is an expert in tissue mineral balancing, and has demonstrated considerable success in balancing equine mineral chemistry to strengthen the basic metabolism and improve efficiency in horses. Jack is a consultant to numerous veterinarians, chiropractors, trainers, naturopaths and nutritionists.
Uckele Health & Nutrition has been a trusted leader in the formulation, development and manufacture of quality nutritional supplements for fifty years. With leading edge experience in nutritional research and science, the Uckele team provides private label and custom manufacturing from concept to shelf, formulating a vast array of high potency, balanced nutritional supplements to support optimal health and performance at the highest level.
Photos: Shirley McQuillan