The unusually high concentration of Vitamin E, found under normal circumstances, situated in the pituitary and adrenal glands is indicative of the body’s need to put into effect special protection in such places that are in the front line against stress. So it follows that any lowering of dietary tocopherols ( the body’s security) or their ancillary helpers such as zinc & sulphur bearing amino acids, due to insufficiency or mal-absorption, will invite fault in as much as cell deterioration occurring. Leading to an increase of harmful hydroperoxide containing compounds that if left unchecked have a damaging effects on the body’s metabolism.
A season devoid of grazing followed by poor or devalued conserved forage without adequate Vitamin E supplementation leads to the body reacting more and more inappropriately to changes and traumas, that healthy horses take in their stride. This is because protection is low; it is alike to running an airport or indeed a county with poor security, in the end there is one crisis after another.
You could accuse us of being too close to the job as at Trinity Consultants we do go on about Tocopherols and Vitamin E constantly but it is interesting that the only substantial changes made by the various research council edits for horses since 1989 is the raising of Vitamin E recommendations, as very gradually more is understood about their role. In practice we see their importance all the time from the security afforded by fresh and green vegetation, from the daily supplementation of sufficient levels when such forages are not available, what we think of as the ‘Coast Guard’, up to TPGS-5 which is the ‘Special Boat Squadron’.
In all Trinity feed programmes and recommendations Vitamin E is of primary concern. Very often it is not possible to reach even modest recommended daily levels without some help to the forage such as that obtained from EquiNourish & Western Salts etc. Indeed the mathematics just don’t add up and if there is also any hint of a case for mal-absorption by the liver then it’s not just a question of simple arithmetic. Ten to one the next case of Cushing’s or Equine Metabolic Syndrome encountered will reveal in the history either periods of low Vitamin E intake, two or more trauma’s occurring about the same time when Vitamin E cover was low or the feeding of fat especially cheap recycled oil in chaffs, proprietary mixes etc with no raised, utilisable Vitamin E levels to help.