Courtesy of Horse Health by Farnam
Horses are bred and raised for athletic endeavors. Successful athletes require good genetics, conformation, proper nutrition, training and conditioning. As with human athletes, intense exercise causes sore muscles. Proper conditioning will delay the onset of sore muscles and shorten recovery time, but does not eliminate the issues. Even world-class athletes can experience the same issues as weekend warriors. Providing quality supplements with proven ingredients as part of a balanced program can help equine athletes reach their peak.
The articular cartilage in your horse’s joints needs to be healthy for smooth, easy movement. Articular cartilage lets the bones in the joints slide smoothly across each other. Nothing man-made compares to the low-friction, shock-absorbing properties of healthy cartilage.
Cartilage is made up of up to 80% water, plus collagen and proteoglycans. Proteoglycans are what make cartilage resilient and shock-absorbing. Together, water, collagen and proteoglycans make up the cartilage matrix. Collagen is a versatile protein that gives cartilage elasticity and the ability to absorb shock. Collagen also forms the framework that holds proteoglycans in place.
Proteoglycans are molecules of protein and sugars, woven around and through collagen fibers inside cartilage. This gives cartilage the resilience to stretch and bounce back with movement. Proteoglycans also trap water to lubricate and nourish the cartilage.
Chondrocytes are specialized cells in the cartilage matrix that produce new collagen and proteoglycan molecules. Chondrocytes also release enzymes that get rid of old, used-up collagen and proteoglycan molecules. Healthy cartilage needs water for lubrication, proteoglycans to hold the water and collagen to keep the proteoglycans in place.
Active Ingredients to Support Healthy Cartilage
There are five ingredients that support healthy cartilage:
- Glucosamine Sulfate: the building block of proteoglycans; needed to make glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), proteins that bind water in the cartilage matrix
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): high in sulfur, a building block of connective tissue
- Ascorbic Acid (Ester C®): antioxidants fight free radical damage
- Chondroitin Sulfate: attracts fluid into proteoglycan molecules
- Perna Mussel: source of glucosamines and glycosaminoglycans
Make sure you review the ingredient statement on the label when choosing your joint supplement,