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Magnesium: The critical mineral that keeps horses calm and relaxed

When a horse gets excited, its body uses magnesium to calm down and relax. Magnesium plays an important role in nerve and muscle function. Horses deficient in this vital mineral often show signs of nervousness, wariness, excitability, jumpiness, tight sore backs (not related to saddle fit), muscle tremors, and hypersensitive skin – our products can help.

Magnesium Supplements by Performance Equine Nutrition



A vital mineral for performance horses


Magnesium Oil

Absorbs rapidly into your horse’s muscles and circulatory system
magbath by performance equine nutrition


Use during times of heavy work or stress.

Signs that your horse may be magnesium deficient

  • Very tight, sore back not related to activity, fitness level or saddle fit
  • Horse never really relaxes
  • Cranky about being brushed or palpated especially over the back on either side of the spine
  • Cranky about being blanketed
  • History of tying up
  • Muscle tremors or all over trembling not related to outside temperature
  • Requires long periods of lunging before being able to focus on work
  • Does not tolerate work well and works up, not down
  • Bucks shortly after workout begins, seems fine at first then bucks or balks
  • Would be described as ‘thin skinned’ or hypersensitive to touch
  • Chiropractic adjustments, massage and body work do not have lasting effects
  • Has difficulty getting round or picking his back up under saddle, moves hollow
  • Difficulty focusing on work, poor work ethic
  • Can’t be still, repetitive movement, weaving, pacing, head bobbing

Your horse may show multiple signs, either continuously, or only during times of stress or competition when magnesium requirements are highest.

What contributes to magnesium deficiency?

  • Stress, and stress hormones, adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol (Cortisol is released by the adrenal glands – it is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response to stress)
  • Adrenaline, which burns through magnesium
  • Physical exertion, sweat, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances
  • Diuretics (Lasix given on the track routinely, and to speed event horses/barrel horses)
  • Excessive sodium and/or calcium supplementation, or a calcium rich diet
  • Imbalances in calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

How much magnesium is needed daily?

If your horse is showing signs of deficiency, it can take up to 4 servings daily of MagRestore™ until symptoms start to dissipate. Typically, improvements are seen within ten days. Maintenance doses, after that, vary. In general, 1 to 2  servings of MagRestore™ should be given daily. We recommend a trans-dermal application (through the skin), as it’s the most efficient way to increase magnesium levels. Some horses benefit from both oral and trans-dermal application. If a horse is exhibiting signs of a magnesium shortfall such as muscle tremors, tight muscles or has a history of tying up, we recommend the magnesium bath combined with oral supplementation. A horse in heavy training may require a much higher daily dosage – often double that of a non-working horse. If your horse develops loose manure, cut the amount you are feeding in half, or supply magnesium throughout the day in smaller portions. You can increase the absorption or bio-availability when you offer it in smaller increments with more frequency. Please note: magnesium toxicity is extremely rare, however, horses with impaired kidney function should not be supplemented with magnesium without the supervision of your vet.

Why feed Magnesium to horses?

Magnesium plays an important part in nerve and muscle function, and horses deficient in this important element can show signs of nervousness, wariness, excitability, jumpy,  tight sore backs not related to saddle fit, muscle tremors and skin is hypersensitive. Magnesium deficient horses are likely to have a poor tolerance to work, fatigue quickly and are prone to tying up. They also build up lactic acid more readily. Magnesium deficient horses often have behavioral problems due to muscle cramping and a poor tolerance for work. They fatigue quickly and have poor recovery from hard workouts. Magnesium can play an important role in the reducing equine obesity, and can lessen the risk of laminitis in prone animals during periods of strong spring grass growth.

Magnesium and the athlete – What the experts say


Research of a human’s athletic muscle endurance and total work capacity shows rapid decline when there is a nutritional deficiency of key minerals like zinc and magnesium. “Magnesium is essential to a diet for athletes under a lot of stress, or those who want to experience the ultimate rush,” says Dr. James Thor, National Director of Extreme Sports Medicine. “One reason, is that if you are working out in a gym, or have continual stress, excessive amounts of lactic acid in the muscle have been linked to higher levels of anxiety.”  Dr. Thor adds, “Large amounts of magnesium are lost when a person is under stress. When magnesium chloride is applied to the muscles topically, it promotes the release of lactic acid from the muscle tissue.” A combination of heat and magnesium chloride increases circulation and waste removal, and this principle can be applied during breaks in competition, as well as after a game in deeply relaxing baths similar to Epsom salt baths, but much stronger.

A magnesium chloride bath helps draw inflammation out of the muscles and joints. Transdermal magnesium chloride mineral therapy enhances recovery from athletic activity or injuries. Dr. Marc Sircus explains, “A whole new world of sports medicine is going to explode onto the scene when athletes and coaches find out that magnesium chloride, from natural sources, is available for topical use.” Sircus adds, “With this new, exciting breakthrough in sports medicine, coaches can now treat injuries, prevent them, and increase athletic performance all at the same time. Magnesium chloride, when applied directly to the skin is transdermally absorbed. Transdermal magnesium chloride mineral therapy is ideal for athletes who need high levels of magnesium.”

Magnesium and Laminitis in horses

Magnesium supplementation has been advised by veterinary surgeons with excellent results.   The supplementation serves not only to re-balance the diet in low magnesium areas or with high grain diets, but also to help in combating fat deposition in overweight animals (cresty necks). In particular, with laminitics, to aid weight loss where necessary, and aids horses with insulin resistance.

MagRestore is veterinarian recommended for horses that have equine shivers, head-shaking syndrome and Lyme disease.

Magnesium deficiency and humans Dr. Steven Johnson says, “The range of pathologies associated with Magnesium deficiency is staggering: hypertension (cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver damage, etc.), peroxynitrite damage (migraine, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.), recurrent bacterial infection due to low levels of nitric oxide in the cavities (sinuses, vagina, middle ear, lungs, throat, etc.), fungal infections due to a depressed immune system, thiamine deactivation (low gastric acid, behavioral disorders, etc.), premenstrual syndrome, calcium deficiency (osteoporosis, mood swings, etc.), tooth cavities, hearing loss, diabetes type II, cramps, muscle weakness, impotence, aggression, fibromas, K deficiency (arrhythmia, hypertension, some forms of cancer), Iron accumulation, etc.”

Magnesium is essential in regulating central nervous system excitability. Magnesium-deficiency may also cause aggressive behavior, depression, or suicide. “Magnesium calms the brain and people do not need to become severely deficient in magnesium for the brain to become hyperactive,” says Johnson. This article (also published in PubMed) helps expand on the benefits of MagnesiumSRT.

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