The Role of Nutrition in Equine Joint Support

A common cause of joint disorders in horses is persistent inflammation. Under such conditions, uncontrolled free radical activity and dysregulation of local enzymes degrade critical components of cartilage, synovial fluid and the synovial membrane. Certain key nutrients can play a major role in helping to maintain normal healthy joints and connective tissues.

Nutritional Solutions to Support Your Patients

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

Condition Products Protocol
Joint Support
  • Platinum Performance® Equine or
    Platinum Performance® CJ
Administer 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine or Platinum Performance® CJ BID.
Arthritis (Option 1)
  • Platinum Performance® CJ
Administer 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® CJ BID.
Arthritis (Option 2)
  • Platinum Performance® Equine
  • Ortho-Chon® or
    Ortho-Chon® II
Administer 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine BID and 1 level scoop of Ortho-Chon® or Ortho-Chon® II BID.
  • Platinum Comfort or
  • Platinum Vet Joint Support
Administer 2 level scoops of Platinum Comfort BID or 1 level scoop of Platinum Vet Joint Support BID.

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

The Science Explained

The Science of Supplementing for Joint Health

How Nutrition and Supplementation Can Affect Equine Joint Health

The Crucial Effect of Certain Nutrients on Equine Joint Health

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    • Have anti-inflammatory effects, which is in contrast to the pro-inflammatory effects of the metabolites of omega-6 fatty acids.
    • Have a protective role on cartilage.
    • Joint components treated with α-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, produce less pro-inflammatory mediators, such as IL-1, TNF-α and PGE.
    • Analgesic effects suggest they may be a safe alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Cetyl Myristoleate

    • An ester of an omega-5 fatty acid
    • Has been shown to be effective in reducing arthritic pain and improving mobility.
    • The results of several studies indicate that cetyl-myristoleate blocks inflammation and protects rats and mice against experimentally-induced arthritis.
    • Dietary supplementation of humans with cetyl-myristoleate has significantly improved knee range of motion and functionality.
  • Glucosamine Sulfate

    • A precursor to glycosaminoglycans, the compression-resistant components of cartilage.
    • Decreases the activity of collagen-degrading enzymes and increases cartilage protein synthesis.
    • Can help slow the progression of osteoarthritis and may be as efficacious as ibuprofen in relieving arthritic pain.
    • Has been shown to increase synthesis of glycosaminoglycans and reduced breakdown of cartilage in horses.
  • Methylsulfonylmethane

    • Has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, and antioxidant properties.
    • A sulfur-containing metabolite of dimethyl sulfoxide that is often advocated for joint pain.
    • Dietary supplementation with MSM has successfully reduced joint pain in human studies, either alone or when consumed in combination with glucosamine.
  • Avocado/Soy Unsaponifiables (ASU)

    • Comprised of oil fractions from avocado and soy.
    • In vitro studies demonstrate the ability to increase aggrecan synthesis, prevent IL-1-induced decreases in aggrecan production, and reduce expression or production of degradative enzymes and inflammatory proteins.
    • Has been shown to reduce the loss of joint space in humans with osteoarthritis.
    • Has been shown to increase synthesis of glycosaminoglycans and reduce breakdown of cartilage in horses.
  • Hyaluronic Acid

    • A key component of the synovial fluid that nourishes, lubricates, and protects the joint.
    • One of the building blocks for proteoglycans, such as aggrecan.
    • Stimulates the formation of cartilage components from equine stem cells.
    • Has anti-inflammatory actions in the synovial fluid by inhibiting PGE.
    • Although commonly administered intra-articularly, orally administered hyaluronic acid is bio-available and effective in reducing post-operative joint inflammation in horses.

5 Major Contributors to Joint Disorders

  1. Chronic Inflammation: Omega-3 fatty acids, Glucosamine, Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables, Cetyl-Myristoleate, Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, and botanical compounds, such as Boswellia, decrease inflammatory responses.
  2. Free Radical Damage: Antioxidants and supplemental hyaluronic acid help protect the joint against degenerative effects of free radicals and help maintain synovial fluid viscosity and normal joint function.
  3. Degradative Enzyme Activity: Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the activity of aggrecanase enzymes in the joint and, therefore, reduce cartilage degradation.
  4. Traumatic Injury or Overuse: Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, silicon, MSM and ASU help slow degeneration and stimulate repair of cartilage. Silicon also supports bone density, cartilage synthesis, and tendon and ligament strength.
  5. Natural Aging Process: Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and cartilage- building nutrients protect against degeneration, which naturally occurs with age.

Putting It Into Practice

  • Reduce feeds with an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids such as grains, corn oil and some commercial feeds.
  • Encourage consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants by increasing the horse's intake of forage and pasture grazing.
  • Supplement with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals on a daily basis to protect the joint against inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • For horses with existing joint problems or those prone to developing joint problems, supplement with additional nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, MSM, and ASU.

The Science Behind the Supplements

White Papers & Platinum Performance® Product Flyers

Supplementing for Joint Health

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Joint Support Category Flyer

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Platinum Performance® CJ Product Flyer

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Answers, Recommendations and Support

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