Horses need a balanced diet and regular exercise to stay healthy, but what about supplements? MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally occurring compound that provides many health benefits for horses. In this article, we discuss the potential benefits of MSM and what to look for and consider when choosing supplements.
MSM can deliver numerous health benefits, including boosting joint mobility and metabolism and upping the production of keratin and antioxidants in the horse's body.
MSM is naturally found in many foods, but supplements are often necessary since horse feed loses MSM during processing.
For comprehensive support, MSM supplements like in-fusion msm are frequently used in combination with other horse supplements, such as in-stride Hoof Supplement, in-fusion HA and in-sideout Pre & Probiotic Nutriceutical & Gut Health Supplement.
What Is MSM?
MSM is a chemical found in humans, animals and some types of plants. It's also naturally occurring in various foods, including roughage like alfalfa, grains, vegetables and fruit. However, MSM is often degraded or lost during feed processing, which means not all feed supplies the necessary levels of this critical compound.
MSM delivers a significant amount of easily absorbed bioavailable sulphur to horses, humans and animals. This element's significance can not be overstated since it's one of the most plentiful substances found in horses' bodies.
What Does MSM Do For Horses?
MSM is rich in sulphur. Sulphur is a must for horses, as it aids in forming connective tissue and cellular regeneration. It is present in every cell and enables the formation of other essential compounds within the horse's body.
A healthy horse requires regular sulphur intake – no exceptions! There are many potential benefits to MSM supplementation.
MSM horse supplements can:
Improve Joint Function and Flexibility
Many vets recommend MSM as a joint supplement. It can reduce joint inflammation, improve muscle contractions and increase a horse's range of motion. Horses with healthy joints that move freely are generally more comfortable and perform better. They also have a decreased likelihood of injury due to poor flexibility.
While MSM has many additional benefits, it's primarily used for horses with joint pain. Since MSM boosts connective tissue health and joint flexibility, it's one of the best supplements for equine arthritis and other joint issues.
Image courtesy of Oakhill Vets
Enhance the Immune System
MSM is thought to heighten a horse's immune system by increasing glutathione levels and decreasing inflammation. A robust immune system helps the horse's body fight off infections and viruses. MSM can also enhance circulation and nerve function, which is necessary for overall health.
Horses with strong natural immunity have the opportunity to enjoy exceptional health with minimal assistance from veterinarians. And a robust immune system is essential during stressful times like competition, travel, and changing seasons.
Increase the Horse's Metabolism
MSM may boost the horse's metabolism and facilitate digestion, enabling the horse to absorb more nutrients. MSM can relieve inflammation in the digestive tract and may even lessen the effects of allergic reactions.
When a horse has healthy energy levels thanks to good nutrition, it is better able to engage in training and perform at its best.
Improve Skin, Hair, and Hoof Health
Keratin is what makes skin, hair and hoofs strong and durable, and MSM supports keratin formation. Horses with poor hoof health can benefit from MSM because it helps strengthen the hooves, making them less susceptible to cracking and infection.
Horses supplemented with MSM should also have healthy skin and a beautiful coat.
Keep Tissues Healthy
MSM is vital to the formation of connective tissue, and it's necessary to keep connective tissues functioning correctly.
Stronger connective tissues mean fewer injuries to tendons and ligaments since they can handle more stress and strain.
An excellent supplement for heavily worked horses, MSM facilitates quick recovery after exercise. How? Glutathione is an essential intracellular antioxidant, and MSM plays a crucial role in its production.
Glutathione protects cells from oxidative damage, especially during times of stress or illness, allowing them to recover quicker after physical exertion.
MSM is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a normal response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can be damaging.
MSM lessens inflammation in various areas of the horse's body and normalises the inflammatory response.
Promote Easier Breathing
Animals struggling to breathe may need MSM. It can reduce inflammation in the respiratory system, making breathing easier. Less inflammation means unrestricted airways and possibly some relief from allergies.
By creating an analgesic effect, MSM can contribute to the comfort of active and senior horses, making them more mobile and enhancing their quality of life and performance.
Although we are still determining why this works, the high level of dietary sulphur in MSM is a likely answer.
Signs Your Horse May Benefit from MSM Supplementation
Horse owners should look for signs that their equine companions may benefit from MSM supplementation.
If your horse shows any of the below signs, a supplement may be needed.
Signs of joint issues include an uneven stride, gait changes and stiffness. In some cases, horses may also exhibit lameness or reluctance to move. When prompted to move, horses in pain may act out of character, reacting aggressively or with extreme caution.
MSM is included in many joint supplements for a reason; it helps relieve swelling, enables mobility and flexibility and accelerates the healing of tissue injuries.
Coat or Hoof Problems
In addition to supplying joint support, horse MSM supports hoof health, coat lustre and condition, all thanks to its keratin-boosting properties. If a horse's coat is dull and/or its hooves are dry or cracking, then the horse may benefit from MSM.
A dedicated hoof supplement, like in-stride Hoof Health, may also work wonders for horses with brittle or damaged hooves.
Fatigue or Weakness
Horses exhibiting signs of fatigue may need MSM. MSM facilitates energy production and helps protect muscle tissues from oxidative damage.
Additionally, it stimulates a strong metabolism and strengthens nerve cell connectivity, encouraging healthy energy levels.
MSM for Horses in Competition
Performance horses have a lot to gain from MSM since it can help them maintain peak conditions during training and competitions.
The nutrient stimulates muscle recovery, controls inflammation and alleviates pain. It also acts as a joint supplement and bolsters hoof health and the horse's metabolism.
Many performance horses benefit from MSM due to the stress placed on their bodies, including their joints.
How to Add MSM to a Horse's Diet
MSM is an easy supplement to incorporate into a horse's diet. In most cases, horse owners can simply sprinkle MSM directly onto the horse's feed or mix it into its water.
MSM can also be blended into other supplements, such as joint and hoof care additives, digestive aids or calming formulas.
How Much MSM Is Appropriate for Your Horse's Body Type?
Read the dosage instructions carefully on the supplements you choose, and make sure to adjust the amount based on weight.
For horses doing strenuous work or those with MSM-deficient diets, larger doses of MSM may be required than recommended on the packaging.
Is it Safe to Give a Horse a Higher Dosage of Supplements than Recommended?
Giving a horse more than what is prescribed on the supplement packaging is generally not recommended. The dosage recommendation is based on your horse's body weight and what is considered appropriate for an animal of that size. That said, there are cases where a horse may need a higher dosage, as we mention above.
Consult your vet for advice about what is best for your horse's body type and condition if you believe your horse requires a larger than the prescribed dosage.
Potential Toxicity and Side Effects
MSM is generally considered safe for horses, and there are few known side effects. In fact, MSM is known as one of the least toxic substances in biology. However, some studies suggest that too much MSM may cause stomach upset or diarrhea. If your horse is on long-term MSM supplementation, have a vet check in regularly to make sure the dosage is correct.
Also, please keep in mind that methylsulfonylmethane should be administered with caution to some horses. Horses taking medications that aid clotting or those who have a clotting disorder should not receive this supplement without first consulting a veterinarian for appropriate monitoring.
If your horse has diabetes or any other health issue that causes hyperglycemia, then it should not take MSM. Additionally, those with a history of urinary tract stones and/or allergies to shellfish or its components should stay away from this supplement.
in-fusion msm (methylsulfonylmethane) is an ultra-pure and highly bioavailable form of sulphur that exists naturally in feedstuffs. It's been proven that due to the drying and processing of feed, MSM content can be substantially decreased or altogether eliminated; therefore, supplementation is typically necessary to reap its benefits.
This MSM supplement offers all the vast health benefits that we've discussed. in-fusion MSM has the potential to up the production of keratin and antioxidants, which are essential for a healthy coat and hoof health. And this product supports a healthy metabolism and joint health while facilitating faster recovery after exercise.
Other Helpful Horse Supplements
MSM is often used in combination with other supplements that boost health and performance. Below, we discuss a few horse supplements commonly paired with MSM.
Horse owners can maximise hoof health with in-stride, a concentrated nutritional hoof supplement.
Specifically formulated to bolster hoof growth and hardness while simultaneously promoting healthier skin and hair, hoof supplements can help equip equines achieve better performance and avoid infection.
in-fusion ha is a hyaluronic acid supplement designed to promote joint health in horses and canines. This Sodium Hyaluronate liquid formula helps to maintain healthy cartilage and lubricates joints for optimal mobility.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally-occurring substance found throughout the body. It helps keep connective tissue lubricated and hydrated, providing structure and cushioning to joints, tendons, ligaments and skin.
Hyaluronic acid also plays a vital role in wound healing by aiding cell proliferation and tissue regeneration. As such, hyaluronic acid supplements can be highly beneficial for horses suffering from joint pain, injury or arthritis.
in-sideout contains a unique combination of natural and holistic ingredients, including pre & probiotics, that ensure optimal immune and intestinal health for your equine companion.
Not only does gut health assist with nutrient absorption, but it also helps maintain a balanced metabolism and reduces your horse's risk of illness. This holistic supplement can prevent ulcers and influence an animal's behaviour and overall energy levels, among other things.
FAQs About MSM for Horses
There's a lot to know about equine nutrition and the numerous uses of MSM.
Here are some commonly asked questions about MSM for horses.
How Long Can a Horse Take Supplements Containing MSM?
Most supplements are safe for horses to take long-term, including MSM, but if you have concerns about long-term use, talk to your vet about the appropriate dosage and length of supplementation.
Each animal has its own needs, and what works well for one horse may be too much or too little for another.
What's the Best Method for Administering MSM?
MSM additives can be given in powder, liquid or pellet form. Powders and liquids often make dosage adjustments easy, and some horses are more willing to eat them. Pellets, on the other hand, are pre-measured and tend to be less messy.
Each form has advantages and disadvantages. It may take some experimentation to see what type of horse supplements your horse accepts most readily.
Can Horse Owners Give Horse Supplements to a Healthy Horse?
Yes, MSM and other horse supplements benefit some healthy horses. MSM promotes good joint function, metabolism and skin and hair health. It also decreases inflammation for better overall health.
That said, supplementation is typically recommended only for horses with specific dietary needs or deficiencies. For example, working horses may need more supplemental assistance than retired horses or those used for recreational riding. And aged horses may require higher levels of certain nutrients and more immune support than younger horses.
Is MSM Right for My Horse?
The answer to this question depends on your horse's specific needs. MSM is often helpful if a horse has joint pain or arthritis, skin, coat, hoof or digestive issues. It can provide numerous benefits to a horse's overall health. However, we recommended speaking with a vet or equine nutritionist to determine the right supplements for your horse.
As mentioned above, senior horses and performance animals may benefit the most from MSM supplements, as they often have increased nutritional needs. However, horses' conditions and needs vary.
Maximise Your Horse's Potential with MSM
Incorporating supplements into a horse's feed has plenty of benefits. MSM can potentially improve mobility, coat health and hoof strength while reducing inflammation and promoting easier breathing.
Adding MSM to an equine diet is a simple and affordable way to enhance many horses' quality of life and overall happiness.
By Dr. Guangda Xue (Danny), BSc, MRes, PhD
Animal scientist specialised in gut health development and inflammation management