You, as horse owners, will be all too aware of the plethora or nutritional supplements marketed at the owners of laminitics. At the Laminitis Trust, we are concerned that people buying these supplements may expect them to provide benefits beyond what is rational.

Firstly, laminitis supplements, are not drugs and thus do not come under the regulations of the Medicines Act. They are considered to be feed additives and are loosely regulated under the Feeding Stuffs Regulations. As such they are not allowed to make claims to prevent, treat or cure disease. Because of this none have any specific research backing behind them indicating that the products have been proven to affect horses and ponies with laminitis either beneficially or detrimentally. Research, means work which was of sufficient quality to have been accepted for publication in a scrutineered scientific journal.

The Trust has been concerned for many years that horse owners do not understand the above situation and are encouraged to buy these products believing them to be effective at either preventing or alleviating the signs and symptoms of equine laminitis.

Unless owners are aware that the only effective way to prevent and treat laminitis is as outlined under the various sections on this website they often seem to use laminitis supplements as an easy alternative. Laminitis prevention and treatment involves time and effort and can not be accomplished by buying a pot of supplement alone.

With particular reference to laminitis, a supplement having the following properties may be of great value;

  • Chose a certified non-GM supplement which provides nutrients which help against insulin resistance and will improve horn quality.

  • Magnesium, Chromium, Vanadium and Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF) are important nutrients against insulin resistance, which the supplement should contain in balanced amounts.

  • Antioxidants are important as are the two rate limiting amino acids lysine and threonine, in certified amounts.

  • Arginine is the amino acid precursor of nitric oxide, one of the most potent vasodilators the horse's body produces, so that, and omega 3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties are important.

  • Some laminitis cases suffer from Cushing's disease so chose a supplement which contains balanced amounts of L-tyrosine and phenylalanine, the amino acids which are metabolised by the horse into DOPAmine, serotonin and melatonin, the important hormones and neurotransmitters which are vital in adequate concentrations in Cushing's Disease cases.

  • Non GM sources of phospholipids, over 3 gms calcium, and 1gm magnesium, suphur containing amino acids cystine and methionine, zinc, Vitamin A and biotin (20mg/day) are important to optimise horn quality.

  • Many supplements do not contain what they say on their own labels. So consider chosing one manufactured under a accreditation scheme such as those policed by the Vegetarian Society or UFAS.

  • The hoof horn of horses and ponies suffering, or having suffered, from laminitis and founder, becomes damaged due to a variety of factors, including serum leakage. These animals therefore need the exact balance of nutrients necessary for new horn formation at optimal speed and of optimal quality. A hoof supplement with proven results of efficacy, preferably having undergone a study at a recognised University is preferable.

  • An effective supplement will provide a broad spectrum of nutrients, usually over 50, from natural sources, not just a few nutrients such as biotin, methionine or zinc.