Magnesium is vital for life but what exactly is it? And why can it aid in feeding PSSM, MFM, & RER horses?

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a shiny Grey crystal like solid that is the 9th most abundant element in the universe. Magnesium is a chemical element known in the periodic table as the symbol MG and the atomic number of 12.

Magnesium in its natural state

When Was Magnesium Discovered?

Magnesium was discovered in 1755 in Edinburgh, Scotland, by Joseph Black, he was the first person to discover that Magnesium was an element.

Joseph Black the first person to discover Magnesium was an element

What Is The Function Of Magnesium?

Magnesium is vital for all living things, it is present in every cell type in every organism. Magnesium is essential for Muscle and nerve function in humans and animals, and in plants for photosynthesis. More than 300 enzymes (proteins that significantly speed up the rate of chemical reactions that take place within cells) require Magnesium to enable them to function correctly.

How Does Magnesium Aid In Muscle Function?

Magnesium aids in relaxing muscles when they are contracted. When a muscle is contracted calcium binds to proteins such a Myosin & Troponin-C, when calcium binds to these proteins it changes their shape thus causing the contraction. What Magnesium does is act as a natural Calcium blocker, it competes with the Calcium for the same binding spots to help relax the muscles.

Can Horses Produce Magnesium?

No a horse can only get Magnesium from it’s diet

Where Is Magnesium Found In A Horses Diet Naturally?

Forage so this means grass, hay. and haylage. Magnesium deficiencies are more likely to occur in spring during periods of grass growth.

Grass is one of the main sources of Magnesium for horses

Why Supplement A PSSM1 With Magnesium?

Because a large majority of PSSM1 horses are on restricted grazing or no grazing at all to keep glycogen levels low, any hay is usually soaked to reduce sugar content which can take out valuable nutrients including Magnesium.

Why Supplement A PSSM2 With Magnesium?

Because some PSSM2 horses benefit from the PSSM1 diet, so they may also require Magnesium supplementation for the same reason.

What Happens When A Horse Is Magnesium Deficient?

Exercise intolerance, fatigue, muscle tremors, tying up, and behavioural issues from naughtiness, hyperactivity, nervousness, and excitability the symptoms of Magnesium deficiency are in fact very similar to the symptoms of PSSM.

What Forms Of Magnesium Supplementation Are There?

There are many different forms of Magnesium but not all are fed to horses. We have listed below the different forms of Magnesium that are used in horse supplementation, some are more commonly used than others:

Magnesium Acetate

The Magnesium salt of Acetic Acid, upon heating Magnesium Acetate decomposes and turns into Magnesium Oxide. Magnesium Acetate is not usually used as a supplement on its own for equines but instead used alongside other Magnesium sources like Magnesium Oxide.

Magnesium Aspartate

The Chelated Magnesium salt of Aspartic Acid, not the most common form of Magnesium used in horse supplementation but a handful of feed companies are starting to offer Magnesium Aspartate.

Magnesium Carbonate

A white solid and an inorganic salt. Magnesium Carbonate is a low iron form of magnesium. Magnesium Carbonate is readily available meaning it can help buffer high acid conditions in the stomach.

Magnesium Citrate

A Magnesium preparation of Magnesium and Citric acid, Magnesium Citrate is useful for horses that have problems taking nutrients as it is first absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, Magnesium Citrate is the second most popular Magnesium supplement all over the world but is stronger in flavour so it is not ideal for fussy horses.

Magnesium Chloride

A chemical compound that is extracted from salt brine or sea water, like Magnesium Carbonate; Magnesium Chloride has a higher iron content compared to other Magnesium Sources.

Magnesium Fumarate

The Magnesium salt of Fumaric acid. Magnesium Fumarate is usually used alongside other Magnesium sources or herbs as a calming supplement.

Magnesium Glycinate

The Magnesium salt of Glycine. Magnesium Glycinate is also known as magnesium diglycinate and magnesium bisglycinate.

Magnesium Malate

The Magnesium salt of Malic acid. Magnesium Malate is highly absorb-able and bio-available to the horse, Magrestore in the USA is the only equine supplement to offer Magnesium Malate.

Magnesium Oxide

Also known as Magnesia, Magnesium Oxide is a white solid mineral that occurs naturally in metamorphic rocks. Magnesium Oxide is one of the most popular forms of equine Magnesium supplement all over the world.

Magnesium Pidolate

The Magnesium salt of Pidolic acid, Magnesium Pidolate is most commonly used for equine magnesium supplementation in Australia.

Magnesium Sulphate

A chemical compound and a salt more commonly known as Epsom Salts, it is commonly used in horses as a saline solution, or as a Laxative because a generous amount of Magnesium Sulphate draws water into the bowel and causes diarrhoea, because of this it is not suitable for daily use.

That’s A Lot Of Magnesium! How Do I Know What Type Is Best To Pick For My Horse?

When it comes to choosing the best form of Magnesium it is important to look for a chelated Magnesium, most of the forms of Magnesium above can be chelated- chelated means the Magnesium is bound to an organic compound like oil for example. When the Magnesium is bound to an organic compound it enables more efficient transport across the intestinal wall so it can be utilised throughout the body more effectively. It is also important when choosing a Magnesium form to choose one that’s suitable for daily use, Magnesium Sulphate for example would not be a good choice for daily use due to it’s laxative effects. When PSSM, MFM, & RER owners were asked what form of Magnesium they used, Magnesium Oxide came out as the most popular choice.

How Much Magnesium Does A PSSM Horse Need?

This can vary from horse to horse, and upon how deficient they are in Magnesium. A PSSM1 horse on a sand paddock is much more likely to be Magnesium deficient than a PSSM2 horse on a lush grass paddock, if you are unsure of how much Magnesium your horse needs then it’s a good idea to consult with your equine nutritionist.

Where Can I Purchase Magnesium From?

We have made it easy for you by compiling a list of Magnesium supplements available to buy in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and USA; it will make purchasing Magnesium for your horse a piece of cake!

For more information on Magnesium & It’s Benefits For PSSM Horses check out our YouTube video with examples of affected PSSM horses by clicking this link