The Effect of Nutrition on Bones and Other Connective Tissues

Dietary supplementation is a key component to ensuring optimal growth, development, and maintenance of connective tissues, such as bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. Providing appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals — including silicon — and omega-3 fatty acids plays a role in optimizing exercise performance, but it also is critical to the general well-being of all horses.

Nutritional Solutions to Support Your Patients

See our recommended Platinum Protocols for common equine conditions and injuries.

Condition Products Protocol
Overall Wellness
  • Platinum Performance® Equine or
    Platinum Performance® CJ
Administer 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine or Platinum Performance® CJ BID.
Bone Strength
  • Platinum Performance® Equine
  • Osteon®
Administer 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine BID and 1 rounded scoop of Vitamin E or 1 rounded scoop of Platinum Antioxidant BID or 1 rounded scoop or 10cc of Platinum Longevity® SID.
Bone Healing
  • Platinum Performance® Equine
  • Osteon®
Administer 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine BID and 1 scoop of Osteon® BID for adult horses.
Osteochondritis Dessicans (OCD)
  • Platinum Performance® Equine
  • Osteon®
Administer pregnant mares and yearlings 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine BID and 1/2 scoop of Osteon® BID.
  • Platinum Performance® Equine
  • Performance Minerals®
Administer 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine BID and 1/2 scoop of Performance Minerals SID for young horses.

SID = 1 time daily, BID = 2 times daily, TID = 3 times daily.​

The Science Explained

The Effect of Nutrition on Bones and Connective Tissues

An In-Depth Look at Nutrition and Bone Health

The Role of Silicon in Supporting Bone
& Connective Tissue Health

  • Known to play a significant role in the development, growth and maturation of bones and connective tissues.
  • Helps stimulate bone formation, in part by increasing calcium uptake by bones.
  • A key element in glycosaminoglycans, which provide connective tissues resistance to compressive forces, predominantly by attracting water.
  • Has antioxidant effects, helping to increase the activities of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase.
  • Insufficient amounts of silicon in the diet have been associated with poor growth rates, developmental abnormalities, and a reduction in the synthesis of bone matrix.

Other Ingredients That Play A Role in Bone Health

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids are critical for the repair and maintenance of connective tissues.
  • ASU (Avocado/Soy Unsaponifiables) has been shown to increase cartilage synthesis and decrease cartilage degradation.
  • Glucosamine is a building block for glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which is what gives cartilage its compression-resistant characteristic.
  • MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane) is a good source of sulfur, which is important for connective tissue growth and health.
  • Potassium helps maintains calcium levels in the body.
  • Magnesium helps prevent the formation of crystals that can lead to brittle bones.
  • Boron promotes the generation of steroid hormones which play a role in bone mineral content.
  • Vitamins A and D are often necessary due to insufficient access to fresh hay or pasture.

Why do Horses Often Require Silicon Supplementation?

Although grains are typically high in silicon, this form of the element is not easily absorbed. A bioavailable source of silicon is zeolite, which when ingested, increases plasma concentrations of silicon and helps improve exercise performance in horses.

Science Behind the Supplements

Several studies have indicated the effectiveness of silicon in supporting bone and connective tissue health, and overall performance, in athletic horses. The authors of these studies concluded that silicon supplementation may allow horses to train at faster speeds for longer periods of time without incurring injury. It is possible that these beneficial effects of silicon supplementation may be due to a more rapid repair of sub-clinical injuries.

  • Plasma silicon concentrations increased in training Thoroughbreds supplemented with an omega-3 and micronutrient product along with a product containing natural zeolite**. Additionally, performance improvements over a 4-week period were noted in these Thoroughbred horses in 201-meter runs when compared to non-supplemented horses
  • In another study, Quarter Horses supplemented with zeolite** had faster middle distance race times than non-supplemented Quarter Horses, ran nearly twice as far during training before any injury occurred, and had fewer injuries than horses not receiving the silicon supplement.


White Papers

Supplementing for Bone and Connective Tissue Health

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Supplementing for Performance and Recovery in the Equine Athlete

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Supplementing for Joint Health

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