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Mineral supplement rant
I was recently reading how copper and zinc deficiency can cause a number of symptoms that my horse exhibits and started doing some digging. It looks like the consensus is that the toxic level for copper is 250mg and zinc is 500mg per day. If that is true, why do so many supplements have well over those amounts in their daily levels??? Also, if iron is so prevalent in every food, why do so many supplements add it? This nutrition stuff is confusing enough without the companies adding levels that are already at toxic levels right out of the container! With over 20 supplement products to choose from, I could not find a single one that didn't create an overload on one thing or another. Okay rant over.
I think you're missing a key part: the toxic levels for copper and zinc are 250 mg and 500 mg per kilogram of feed.
A horse who's eating 10 kg of feed (includes hay & hard feed) would have to consume 2500 mg of copper and 5000 mg of zinc to reach those toxic levels.
Feed XL. That way you can play around with the different supplements to see what compliments your horse best.
That's not correct Verona. Some nutrients, such as water soluble ones, that could be said about, but copper & zinc for eg are both mins that are cumulative & per day means per day, not per feed/amount.
Puck, yes, frustrating isn't it?? For one, I think that's why it's so vital to do a diet analysis & then find the *appropriate* supplement for your horse's particular diet, and that what's said/advised on the lables & product advertising... ain't necessarily so. That's why I rave about feedXL.com - takes the confusion out of the equation!
The other thing to consider is that many types of minerals are more or less 'bio-available'(absorbable, useful to the body) than others, and the 'elemental' level of a certain mineral may be far less than the amount of product. For eg. organic sources of minerals are generally far more bio-available than man made stuff like copper sulphate, iron oxide, etc. So the elemental levels of the min must be far higher in the product than with organic stuff, for the body to absorb the same level. More or less confused now?? FYI I don't know whether there's an article on FeedXL on copper, but I have a good article from Dr Richards(nutritionist) on weighing up pros & cons of different forms of Mg that I can forward if you're interested, which explains it better than I do!
I've been "playing" with his diet on that site for the past hour. It's very interesting how adding one thing throws something else out of whack. His one big time deficiency is the lysine, so I'm anxious to add that and see if it helps him hold his weight better. In the end this will save money too cuz I will be able to decrease some dosages on things that are doing double duty.
Yes, another reason to look into the diet before choosing something appropriate, because balance of different mins is also important & ODing can in many cases be as detrimental as deficiency.
Articles are still easy to find that give numbers like the one the OP probably read (I found 250 mg/kg and 500 mg/kg here, for example). 250 mg and 500 mg are above the RDI for these minerals, but are nowhere near the cumulative toxic levels for these minerals; this is the result of the "/kg" tag getting lost somewhere along the way by the authors of these websites, who are using the older "by feed concentration" recommendations rather than the newer "by body weight" ones.
The http://www.amazon.com/Nutrient-Requirements-Horses-Revised-Nutrition/dp/030910212X is, unfortunately, not free, but they do have a handy tool online that is a good starting point for analyzing nutritional needs http://nrc88.nas.edu/nrh/
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