Nutrition for Breeding: The birds, the bees & vitamin E

Our friends at Kentucky Performance Products explain why a natural vitamin E supplement helps support fertility in your breeding stallion.

From the KPP Blog:

Don’t wait until you are in the middle of breeding season to support optimal fertility in your breeding stallion. Subfertility and infertility in stallions are usually caused by abnormal sperm production or function.

One major source of these problems is oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which are potentially damaging byproducts of the body’s metabolism. Studies have implicated free radicals in numerous equine disease states, including arthritis, connective tissue disorders, aging, infection, and inflammation. More recent studies indicate that free radicals might damage spermatozoa, rendering them incapable of fertilizing eggs.

Because equine spermatozoa membranes are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, they are extremely vulnerable to damage caused by free radicals. How does this affect stallions? Under everyday conditions, a stallion’s antioxidant defense mechanism can sufficiently fend off free radical attacks on reproductive tissues, keeping immature and mature spermatozoa safe. During stressful periods, however, the body’s normal defenses are compromised and are unlikely to be strong enough to thwart free radical damage, leading to oxidative stress.

Breeding season is invariably a stressful time for most stallions, both physically and psychologically. As the pressures of the breeding season escalate, fertility often plummets due to oxidative stress. To counteract the effects of oxidative stress, fortification of the antioxidant defense is vital. One way to do this is by supplementing breeding stallions with a natural vitamin E such as Elevate.

Vitamin E is the most powerful antioxidant in the body. When a stallion maintains optimal levels of circulating vitamin E, he is better able to handle the stressful effects of breeding season. Spermatozoa that are being cooled or frozen and shipped are also under stress. In these circumstances research has shown that stallions supplemented with vitamin E produce sperm that withstand freezing and cooling better.

Not all vitamin E is the same. The natural vitamin E in Elevate is more highly bioavailable than synthetic vitamin E and is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Nutritionists recommend supplementing stallions with 3,000 to 5,000 IU of natural vitamin E daily. Vitamin E should be started 30 days prior to the beginning of the breeding season for stallions with access to fresh pasture. Stallions that are grazing on dormant winter pastures should begin supplementation when green grass goes dormant. If no pasture is available, year-round supplementation is suggested.

Q U I C K T I P:

The reproductive terms subfertile and infertile are not synonyms. Subfertility is defined as reduced fertility, and infertility implies sterility.

Article written by KPP staff.

Copyright (C) 2012 Kentucky Performance Products, LLC.   All rights reserved.

Article sponsored by Elevate Maintenance Powder; an affordable, easy way to provide essential natural vitamin E, when longer-term vitamin E supplementation is needed.

When health issues arise, always seek the advice of a licensed veterinarian who can help you choose the correct course of action for your horse. Supplements are intended to maintain healthy systems and support recovery and healing. They are not intended to treat or cure illness or injury.

About Kentucky Performance Products, LLC:

Since 1998, Kentucky Performance Products has simplified a horse owner’s search for research-proven nutritional supplements that meet the challenges facing modern horses. KPP supplements target specific nutritional needs and are formulated to complement today’s feeds, thus safeguarding against over-supplementation. Each product is scientifically formulated and made with high-quality ingredients at certified manufacturing facilities. Kentucky Performance Products is proud to offer a quality assurance promise backed by a money-back guarantee. Kentucky Performance Products brings you supplements you can count on because the horse that matters to you, matters to us.

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