TRM® Nutrition | Equine Health
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Electrolytes & horse – A necessity not a luxury!
Electrolytes are charged particles, which when dissolved in water or body fluids produce positive (cations) and negative (anions) ions. These ions have a crucial role in maintaining normal health and functioning of the body in a horse.
They ensure smooth working of enzymatic pathways, nervous, cardiac, musculo-skeletal and even digestive system, apart from also helping maintain osmotic pressure and fluid balance. As a result, a balanced homeostasis (body’s ability to maintain a stable internal environment) is achieved.
The 5 major ions required by a growing and an adult horse include sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl–), calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+).
Functions of the major ions:
- Sodium (Na+)
Most abundant extracellular ion, maintains blood pressure and nerve impulse, replenishes negative sodium levels due to sweating while exercising, working and in conditions like diarrhoea.
- Potassium (K+)
Present as intracellular ion, maintains nerve impulses, cardiac health and in conjunction with Na+ ensures osmotic and acid-base balance.
- Chloride (Cl–)
Most significant extracellular anion, helps maintain isotonicity and co-exists with sodium to maintain fluid balance.
- Calcium (Ca2+)
Present as extracellular ion, regulates membrane potential (neuromuscular) which is crucial for muscle contraction and relaxation including the cardiac muscles.
- Magnesium (Mg2+)
Second most abundant intracellular cation, works as co-factor of various enzymatic activities in numerous metabolic pathways, phosphate transfers, muscle contractility and neuronal transmission.