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Pauline Moore
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Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
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Posted: Mon Oct 14th, 2013 05:12 am
Dr Deb
Thank you for adding your voice to an issue that has come to my attention also. In private correspondence with hundreds of horse owners, I’m often asked how much magnesium they should be giving their horses. My reply is always that I have no way to predict what any individual horse needs as ‘there are no rules, every horse is different’. I have learnt that what is obvious to me is not necessarily obvious to everyone else (funny, that!) and had assumed that if all signs of magnesium deficiency had disappeared prior to seeing any slight softening of the manure, then no-one would have any reason to continue increasing the amount of magnesium being fed. Incidentally, I have never suggested anyone feed magnesium to the point of provoking diarrhea – cowpats are for cows. I have reworded the updated magnesium article on my website so I hope this point is now clear to all.

There are a couple of other matters that need clarification.

It is my understanding that minerals are absorbed primarily through the small intestine, not the hind gut. Food is initially broken down in the stomach by a process involving hydrochloric acid and enzymes, the strong hydrochloric acid also acting as an anti-bacterial agent. The horse produces between 10 – 30 litres per day of highly acidic (pH 1) gastric juices. The resulting acidic ‘chyme’ is then delivered into the duodenum where alkaline juices from the pancreas return the chyme to a neutral pH. This is an essential part of the process as acidic fluids cannot be allowed to enter the bloodstream; blood pH (around 7.42 – 7.45 for a horse) has almost no tolerance for changes in either direction.

My thoughts about acidic drinking water were that the 30 or more litres of water consumed daily by a horse would also have to be neutralized by the horse’s body; water with a pH of 5 or 6 cannot be allowed to pass into the bloodstream. This is in addition to the burden of having to neutralize up to 30 litres of acidic gastric juices. I do not know what, if any, role magnesium plays in the entire process of neutralizing acidic stomach chyme, but given magnesium’s involvement in thousands of biochemical processes, I’m guessing there’s at least a minor role in there somewhere.

Continuing with the ‘every horse is different’ theme, I would think that Ollie and Geedubya’s horse are simply showing just how different two outwardly similar horses can be. In most instances here in Australia where horses are drinking alkaline bore water or grazing pastures growing atop chalky substrate, need for magnesium tends to be higher. Farriers working in those areas state the horses’ feet are generally worse than in other areas of the country.

We humans are also very different from each other, as illustrated by the contrast between you and I. Just a couple of months ago I myself experienced many signs of magnesium deficiency, ie lack of energy, night leg cramps, sore neck muscles, deepening facial lines, yet nothing had changed in my diet or magnesium supplementation. I eventually remembered that I had started taking a vitamin C supplement as a bit of insurance against the Australian flu season, and looked on the label to find it was providing 200mg per day of calcium from calcium ascorbate. I couldn’t believe such a tiny amount would override my magnesium intake from food and supplement but stopped the vit C anyway to see what would happen. Within 2 days my energy was back, the cramps stopped, skin cleared and neck relaxed. Still hard to believe in someone who does not drink milk and rarely eats cheese etc.

Strangely enough, my own old horse has a similar sensitivity to calcium (I sometimes wonder about these ‘co-incidences’). At 23 he has exceptionally strong bone, all the more remarkable given his history, up to age 19, of laminitis, weak feet, and Cushings. He grazed high-oxalate setaria for 8 years whilst consuming a low-calcium diet. Even a small amount of calcium from food sources or supplements quickly elicits signs of magnesium deficiency despite his daily intake of magnesium chloride. Another good example of how ‘different’ he is from other horses.

By the way, magnesium chloride is not ‘low power’. A 2001 study by Firoz & Graber ‘Bioavailability of US commercial magnesium preparations’ found that magnesium oxide does have a meager 4% bioavailability, whereas magnesium chloride was equivalent to magnesium lactate and magnesium aspartate. Mag aspartate is often referred to as the form of magnesium with the highest bioavailability. As we have discussed previously, I do not use magnesium aspartate as I do know of a couple of horses who have reacted badly (gone crazy) within minutes of being given a mag aspartate supplement. More particularly, I also know of several people who develop signs of severe magnesium deficiency when taking magnesium aspartate supplements. An advantage of magnesium chloride is that it is fully ionized, therefore not dependent on stomach efficiency for breakdown and absorption; it also contains a wide range of naturally occurring trace minerals, as does unrefined sea salt. These factors may or may not have some bearing on the consistent results from using mag chloride, and lack of negative effects that might otherwise be expected from such high rates of usage in some horses.

I no longer recommend the use of magnesium oxide, especially in large amounts, as the very poor absorption rate means there is a lot left in the gut. Magnesium oxide is alkaline and may therefore over-alkalize the gut, one of the contributing factors in enterolith formation.

I’m currently looking at a simple way of improving stomach efficiency to reduce the amount of magnesium needed by the horse, and at the same time dealing with the multiple instances of gastric ulcers in horses. Both magnesium chloride and salt are irritating to ulcerated tissue, so whilst the horse might need both, neither can be used in a horse with ulcers. Early results are excellent, with several horses halving their magnesium intake, but I need to collect more information on this before making it public.

Pauline
geedubya
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Joined: Tue Mar 12th, 2013
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Posted: Mon Oct 21st, 2013 05:53 pm
Updating.  Our MaCl feeding has not been a truly controlled experiment, but - since the time we began feeding the solution, our horses diet has not changed.   The only additions to the diet were intitally a gram of bute, on vet's orders.  Also on vet's recommendation we fed a thyroid med daily.  The bute was stopped after 5 days; the thyroid med just ran out last week.  The horse had angled, wood shoe/pads glued on at the first vet visit, since then we've had two more shoeings about 6 weeks apart, with angled pads, the toes cut back some.  At the last vet check, xrays showed the coffin bone rotating back up,  hoof sole getting thicker.  Crest is still not "foamy" soft, but not rigid.  I don't know the units of measurement, but insulin has gone from over 400 to 172 as of 10/12.   Vet cleared the horse for walking and trotting work (which seemed to overjoy both the horse and my wife), and horse shows absolutely NO indication of any discomfort on the front feet.  He thinks he's ready to canter, run and buck.  We will be continuing the MaCl at present dosing, and should receive the lab reprot on minerals any day now - hoepfully I can look at Ma realtive to calcium.  Thrilled with what we view as great success feeding magnesium.

PS horse happily stands with forefeet on drum, looking quite proud of himself.

geedubya
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Joined: Tue Mar 12th, 2013
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Posted: Fri Oct 25th, 2013 04:11 pm
We are still happy with our horses condition, and the vet had called and said element levels were in normal range.  Yesterday we received a copy of the trace elements screen.  It shows the horse at 130 parts per million (ppm) calcium, and lists a "ref. range" of 100-130 ppm.  Magnesium is 19 ppm, within the ref. range of 18-35 ppm.  

Pauline and Dr. Deb, I have a few questions:  Are the "ref. ranges", which I assume the vet uses to determine "normal", what just "is" in Calif., or are they what "should be"?  Googling "normal trace elements for horses" did not provide any useful info.

It seems we could continue to increase the macl, but it seems that getting to a 1:2 ratio of calcium to magnesium would require huge amounts of magnesium.   Is even a 1:1 ratio a realistic target?  I figured to go slow and watch the manure and his crest as my guide.

We do not have a baseline lab report to know what the magnesium blood levels were before we started feeding the macl.  My wife commented that they must have been very low, but will the horse use what he needs, and excreet any excess?

Thanks,

George

 


Pauline Moore
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Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
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Posted: Sat Oct 26th, 2013 12:51 am
George

Thanks for letting us know about your horse’s good progress.

Blood tests measure only the elements present in the blood which is quite different to measuring cellular levels of any element. Hyper- and hypo- calcaemia or magnesaemia refer to high or low levels of calcium or magnesium in just the blood. The body generally puts a lot of effort into maintaining blood levels of most elements within a narrow range, but as only 1% of the body’s magnesium is in blood it is possible for a blood test to show ‘normal’ levels of magnesium while the rest of the body is deficient.

Historically, magnesium has been readily available to both horse and human, hence neither ever had the need to store magnesium. Conversely, calcium was generally in short supply so ways for the body to store calcium were developed. In our modern world, the exact opposite is now the norm; magnesium is in short supply globally and calcium is over-abundant, but our bodies have not caught up to these changes in the supply-chain. This is explained simply by Nan Kathryn Fuchs PhD in her article ‘Magnesium: A Key to Calcium Absorption’ http://www.mgwater.com/calmagab.shtml

Without any way to practically test cellular levels of magnesium, the next best option available to us is to monitor each horse individually for signs of deficiency and signs of excess.

My understanding of laboratory ‘reference ranges’ is that they are a reflection of what is commonly found, not necessarily what should be considered as ‘normal’.

Pauline
Ride A Grey Horse
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Joined: Tue Feb 9th, 2010
Location: Connecticut USA
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Posted: Sun Oct 27th, 2013 11:56 pm
Pauline, this is just to report in with good news.
My horse, and a friend's horse who is his field-companion, are doing well on just 15grams x twice a day of MgCl flakes from the Zechstein seabed - the brand that you kindly recommended, that's available here in the USA, so I don't have to order it from Australia.
The visitor is an awesome mare who'd been through some unfortunate times before my friend got her. When the mare arrived she had ten or twelve of those rings around her hooves that Pete Ramey says show metabolic upset.
The new growth, since starting the magnesium three months ago, is markedly different: tight, smooth, and straight. Her owner is delighted and will start giving it to all her horses. The mare has also calmed down and is no longer high-headed - you list this too as a possible sign of Mg deficiency, though I realize it could also be due to offering her some clear (and loving) handling that's different from what she endured in her bad patch.
I had gradually increased the dose up to 45grams x twice a day, but when the manure first softened a little as you describe, I couldn't tell whose it was... so I maybe overreacted, and busted them both back down to a do-thy-patient-no-harm maintenance dose.
However, I've been adjusting the dose to 30grams x twice=a-day, for a few days, each time it rains after a dry spell and the grass in their field spikes sugar.
 I do understand from your research - and your explanation that cellular magnesium is not really measured in a blood test at all - that this is not an exact science, and that it's a matter of observing the horse and using a little informed intuition.
Thank you very much for your wonderful help.
And as always thank you Dr.Deb for attracting creative people like Pauline to your Institute to help us all help our horses.
Cynthia
snowdenfarm
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Joined: Tue Mar 18th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 28
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Posted: Mon Oct 28th, 2013 01:26 pm
Cynthia,

Do you get the flakes in the US through Ancient Minerals?

Thanks,

Cheryl
SE PA
geedubya
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Posted: Mon Oct 28th, 2013 03:29 pm
Thank you Pauline.  I will continue to moniter his crest, manure and feet.

George

Ride A Grey Horse
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Location: Connecticut USA
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Posted: Tue Oct 29th, 2013 12:52 am
Yes Cheryl, exactly - Ancient Minerals. From that paleozoic seabed that I think is under today's Denmark. Very best, Cynthia
DarlingLil
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Joined: Wed Jan 25th, 2012
Location: Michigan USA
Posts: 64
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Posted: Sat Nov 2nd, 2013 04:28 pm
The website mgwater.com has a book by Dr.Seelig that you can read online. I believe it is called Magnesium and Disease.
geedubya
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Posted: Thu Feb 13th, 2014 09:02 pm
I have one more question.  It's finally rained a bit, enought to give the grass some new growth.  The horses are kept confined to a small area with very little grazing.  We have read that night-time grazing might be OK, as less sugars in the grass at night.  Is this true, and would we be taking an unnecessary chance leaving the horse out in the big pasture all night? 
AdamTill
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Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
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Posted: Thu Feb 13th, 2014 10:49 pm
Grasses store sugars over the course of the day which they use over the night period. As such, sugars are likely highest right at nightfall a lot of times, so turning them out right before bed is not a great plan (except maybe to avoid bugs). Turning them out in the morning is probably a better bet, or in the middle of the night lol.

Jeannie
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Joined: Thu May 7th, 2009
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Posted: Mon Feb 17th, 2014 10:35 pm
Except if it's frosty, then they will eat popsicle grass!

  Pauline, you mentioned Rory was diagnosed with Cushings. Have you ever given him Pergolide, or have you just treated him with the supplements? Does Cushings go away, or just the symptoms?
                                                  Jeannie

Pauline Moore
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Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
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Posted: Sun Feb 23rd, 2014 04:46 am
Hi Jeannie
I have not needed to use Pergolide for Rory. For over 6 years his Cushings symptoms have been controlled with the spice Chastetree Berry plus all the other supplements I use for most horses. I do not think of it as a cure, just management of his symptoms.

The only remaining sign of Cushings is a slight curl to his winter coat a month or so before it starts to shed.

Pauline
Jeannie
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Posted: Sun Feb 23rd, 2014 10:22 pm
Hi Pauline, thanks for the information. Since my horse is in his 23rd year, I think I will have him tested, and I know the vets recommend Pergolide, but I've heard good and bad things about it. I like to know my options.
                                                Jeannie

DarlingLil
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Joined: Wed Jan 25th, 2012
Location: Michigan USA
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Posted: Sat Jan 24th, 2015 09:14 pm
Good one here. Paulines info.



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