Why Use a Joint Supplement? By Kentucky Performance Products

If you’ve ever wondered how using a joint supplement can help your horse, here are some explanations.

Photo courtesy of Kentucky Performance Products

In healthy joints, the ends of the bones are coated with a thin layer of friction-reducing tissue known as articular cartilage. The articular cartilage contains synovial fluid, a thick liquid that serves two primary functions: (1) as a source of nutrients for the articular cartilage, and (2) as a lubricant and shock absorber for the bones that form a joint. Lameness can result when damage occurs to any joint tissue, whether it involves the bones, articular cartilages, or synovial membranes.

The components of Joint Armor provide dual-action support to joints by supplying the building blocks used for creation of healthy cartilage matrix, and supporting regeneration of cartilage when damage occurs from trauma and normal wear and tear.

Four important ingredients keep joints healthy

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are nutrients utilized in the maintenance of normal joint function. Glucosamine is used as a substrate for certain components of the cartilage matrix, while chondroitin sulfate plays an important role in controlling the enzymes associated with inflammation and tissue destruction. Numerous studies have documented the benefits of combining these two ingredients to maintain joint health.

Studies using equine cartilage explants (small pieces of actual living tissue) have shown these ingredients complement each other in inhibiting the production of inflammatory cells. Interestingly, when these ingredients were used independently of each other, they did not show similar benefits (Orth et al., 2002; Schlueter et al., 2004; DeChant et al., 2005).

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been evaluated in several field studies. In one study (Hanson et al., 2001), a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 14 horses with progressive forelimb lameness showed significant improvement (evaluated by lameness specialists using standardized lameness scores) when administered a treatment of glucosamine and chondroitin for a 28-day treatment period when compared to the control group. In a more recent study (Rodgers, 2006), administration of glucosmaine and chondroitin significantly decreased the necessity and frequency of intra-articular therapeutic injections of the hock joints in working show hunters and jumpers.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is an integral component of synovial fluid and articular cartilage and is responsible for lubrication of the joint surfaces. While glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate work mainly on the cartilage, HA is more beneficial to the joint fluid. In a study conducted by Bergin and coworkers (2006), oral HA was effective in reducing synovial effusion (an abnormal collection of fluid) following arthroscopic surgery for removal of osteochondritis disseceans lesions in joints.

Manganese Sulfate

Manganese is an important component of the cartilage matrix and is essential for growth of healthy connective tissue.

Scientifically formulated to help you keep your horse sounder, longer

Joint Armor is a scientifically formulated combination of hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and manganese sulfate, ingredients which help to maintain and support cartilage structure and optimal joint function.

Scientific references:

Bergin, B.J., Pierce, S.W., Bramlage, L.R., & Stromberg, A. 2006. Oral hyaluronan gel reduces post-operative tarsocrural effusion in the yearling Thoroughbred. Equine Vet. J. 38(4):375-378.

DeChant, J.E., Baxter, G.M., Frisbie, D.D., Trotter, G.W., & McIlwraith, C.W. 2005. Effects of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate, alone and in combination, on normal and interleukin-1 conditioned equine articular cartilage explant metabolism. Equine Vet. J. 37(3):227-231.

Hanson, R.R., Hammad, T.A., & Brawner, W.R. 2001. Oral treatment with a nutraceutical (Cosequin) for ameliorating signs of navicular syndrome in horses. Veterinary Therapeutics II (2):148-159.

Orth, M.W., Peters, T.L., & Hawkins, J.N. 2002. Inhibition of articular cartilage degradation by glucosamine-HCl and chondroitin sulfate. Equine Vet. J. Suppl. (34):224-229

Rodgers, M.R. 2006. Effects of oral glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplementation on frequency of intra-articular therapy of the horse tarsus. Intern. J. Appl. Res. Vet. Med. 4(2):155-161.

Schlueter, A.E., & Orth, M.W. 2004. Further studies on the ability of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to regulate catabolic mediators in vitro. Equine Vet. J. 36(7):634-636.

About Kentucky Performance Products, LLC:


Performance horses are susceptible to exercise-induced muscle damage. Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, limits the damage caused by everyday oxidative stress. It maintains healthy muscle and nerve functions, and supports a strong immune system in horses of all ages. Elevate was developed to provide a highly bioavailable source of natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate) to horses.

Check out this KPP article: Vitamin E and the Performance Horse – A Winning Combination.

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