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Zinc: Getting to the Facts.

Zinc is a trace mineral element, which means it is required in smaller quantities than major minerals, i.e. at levels of mg/kg, in the diet.  Zinc is an antioxidant and commonly linked with skin and immune system health, however it has a biological function on many tissues.  Most regions in the UK have depleted levels of Zinc in the soil, which then produces grazing and hay/haylage that is likewise low in Zinc. The Zinc levels in forage consumed can be marginal when compared to NRC daily intake recommendations.  Zinc is absorbed along the entire gut but the small intestine is the most important site. The Zinc content of horse hoof horn varies (keratinization) with low Zinc concentrations being associated with decreased horn strength and hardness (Coenen & Spitzlei 1996a).  Zinc also plays an important role in insulin production, blood clotting and wound healing.  It is involved in energy metabolism, nerve function, bone development and health.  Ciancaglini et al 1990 reported that Zinc deficiency can cause a decrease in the synthesis of an enzyme involved in bone development. 

A Zinc to Copper dietary ratio of 3-4:1 is recommended.

The Healthy Horse Company Zinc is highly absorbable source providing 15% Elemental Zinc.

Copyright© Sally Tobin 2020.


Ciancaglini, P., J.M. Pizauro, C. Curti, A.C Tedesco and F.A. Leon. 1990. Effect of membrain moiety and magnesium ions on the inhibition of matrix induced alkaline phosphatase by zinc ions. Int. J. Biochem., 2:747. 

Coenan, M., Spitzlei, S., 1996a. Investigation in the composition of hoof horn in dependence on age, breed and quality. Pferdeheilkunde (2nd European Conference on Horse Nutrition) 12, 279-283.

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