There’s a lot of information available about the “tried and true” horse joint supplement ingredients glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid and MSM. This article is intended to shed some light on the “new kids on the block” such as ASU, collagen, resveratrol, and turmeric. These revolutionary ingredients might be just what you’ve been looking for to kick up your horse’s joint support a notch!
Avocado soybean unsaponifiables , often referred to as ASU, are a vegetable extract made from avocado and soybean oils. While the unique active principle itself is still under investigation, a Colorado State University study of horses with knee joint trauma demonstrated positive effects of ASU on articular cartilage. It was also noted that ASU contributed to the production of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate within the joint.
Kawcak CE, Frisbie DD, McIlwraith CW, et al. Evaluation of avocado and soybean unsaponifiable extracts for treatment of horses with experimentally induced osteoarthritis. Am J. Vet Res. 2007 Jun;68(6):598-604.
Collagen is the primary structural protein that makes up the connective tissue throughout the body, which includes cartilage, tendons, ligaments, bones, and skin. “Hydrolyzed” collagen, or gelatin, is simply collagen that has been broken down into smaller pieces that are more readily available for absorption by the GI tract. In the past, the primary reason for including this ingredient in supplements was to support soft tissues like tendons and ligaments in performance horses doing strenuous work. However, now that the understanding of collagen and its functions has progressed, research has started to show how beneficial it may also be to joint health and so collagen is appearing in more and more products.
Resveratrol is the potent antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes and other fruits. A type of natural phenol, it is part of a plant’s defense system against injury and disease. Resveratrol research in humans and animals is in the early stages, but results are promising not only for protection against free radical damage, but also for its effects on the cardiovascular system, blood sugar levels, brain cells, and musculoskeletal health. A recent study at Texas A & M University specifically suggests that supplementing with resveratrol may be beneficial in horses with hock joint lameness.
Watts AE, Dabareiner R, Marsh C, et al. A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of resveratrol administration in performance horses with lameness localized to the distal tarsal joints. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2016 Sep 15;249(6):650-9.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant in the ginger family that has been used to flavor food, add color, and provide health benefits for thousands of years. Its main active substance, curcumin, has been found to have beneficial effects on many areas of the body, such as joints, the respiratory system, immunity, the digestive tract, and others. A potent antioxidant, turmeric is perhaps most valued for supporting a normal response to inflammation, with researchers actively seeking to understand its full range of properties on the cells and pathways of the body.
Read the research and chat with your veterinarian about these new members of the joint supplement team. Whether you’ve got a youngster just entering a training program, a horse engaged in heavy work and competition, or a senior with a reduced workload, there’s a combination of traditional plus trending ingredients that’s just right for him!
Your horse’s joints power his motion, and keeping them healthy is key to keeping him moving comfortably. Joint Health Awareness Month was created by SmartPak to spread the word about how riders can help their horses stay happy, healthy, and moving comfortably for years to come. We’re celebrating by sharing our favorite joint health articles with you! View the rest of the series: 10 Ways To Support Your Horse’s Joint Health and How To Prevent Arthritis In Horses.