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The addition of a digestible organic calcium to may increase bone density and possibly reduce injuries, especially for young racehorses during the heavy training they undergo while their skeleton is still maturing.

 Organic calcium was the subject of a clinical trial at West Texas A&M University. The results of this study were released in June, 2007 at a nutrition conference in Baltimore, MD.

An additional study performed with young and older horses showed an  increase in calcium digestibility versus inorganic sources like calcium carbonate. 58% of all thoroughbred racehorses* and 70% of all 2-year-olds* in training suffer skeletal injuries that cause a stoppage of training to some defined level. Some of these are career-ending injuries.

“Replacing inorganic calcium, such as calcium carbonate, with the organic calcium produced  two extraordinary findings. Calcium digestibility increased . It also increased bone density in young exercised equines, giving legitimate hope to reduce the rate of bone loss during remodeling,” said Alexis Atwood, who conducted the research while a graduate student at West Texas A&M University.

“Moreover, if fed from birth as a preventative measure, may assist the skeleton in withstanding the great stress during periods of increased activity prior to serious training beginning." Atwood earned her graduate degree in animal science at West Texas A&M.

“Based on the research supporting  organic calcium  we have the potential to increase the likelihood of soundness not only in racing thoroughbreds and quarter horses, but other performance horses such as cutters, reiners, barrel horses, 3-day eventers, show jumpers, dressage horses, and endurance horses.”

The Harsh Reality of Bone Stress and Injury

The statistics are startling - 58%* of all young race horses suffer bone injuries and over 70%* of all 2-year-olds experience bucked shins. It is just that simple. Young racehorses are at greatest risk of sustaining a career-ending injury early in their training, when their bones are developmentally immature and extremely vulnerable to injury.

A young horse’s skeleton is most fragile when his workload is most demanding. That’s because bone mineral density in horses reaches an all-time low about 50 to 60 days after training begins, when most trainers are introducing intense work. The high rate of injury observed in young horses is likely due to the initiation of this intense and demanding work at a time when bone density is lowest. 

The equine skeleton is not fully mature until a horse is 4 to 6 years of age, when bone density, strength, and size peak. Until then, equine bone is in a continual state of turnover and remodeling. Research shows that the organic calcium  significantly increases bone mineral density. 

According to former West Texas A & M University equine nutrition specialist, Alexis Atwood, “Biochemical and radiographic data indicate that replacing inorganic sources of calcium in horses’ diets with the organic calcium had a significant positive effect on bone density. Many racehorses begin training as early as 18 months of age, when their bones are developmentally immature and extremely vulnerable to injury. Bone density, strength, and size typically peak at around 5 to 6 years. Bone mineral density in horses reaches an all-time low 50-60 days following initiation of training, when most trainers introduce speed work. The high rate of injury observed in young horses is likely due to the initiation of intense training at a time when bone density is lowest. 

Research References

*58% of racehorses will suffer a bone-related injury. (1) 
*70% of 2-year-old t-bred's will experience bucked shins, a major cost of time lost from training and racing. (2)

  1. Jones, W.E. 1989. Racetrack breakdown epidemiology. Equine Vet. Data 10:190.  
  2. Norwood, G.L. 1978. The bucked shin complex in Thoroughbreds. In Proc. 24th Conv. Am. Assoc. Equine Pract., St. Louis, MO. Pg 319 Am. Assoc. Equine Pract., Lexington, KY. 


Dr. Edgar Ott, University of Florida

The effect of the Organic Minerals  on body growth and hoof development in horses was studied at the University of Florida. Nine Thoroughbred and six Quarter Horse yearlings were provided with coastal Bermuda grass hay at 1% of body weight and a 12% protein concentrate. One group of yearlings received all trace minerals from only inorganic sources. The other received trace minerals from inorganic sources and zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate and copper proteinate from proteinate sources at 400, 200, and 100 mg/head daily respectively. Mineral levels were constant between the two groups. Linear body measurements and weight gain were taken regularly. Hoof samples were collected by removing a 1.1 cm plug from both fore feet the start and end of the trial.
A .14 cm hole was also drilled in the hoof 1 cm below the coronet band to measure the rate of hoof growth. Measurements were taken at 28-day intervals.
1. Yearlings fed Organic Minerals -proprietary proteinated trace minerals found had a greater rate of hoof growth than those fed only inorganic sources of trace minerals.
2. Height at the hip increased at a greater rate for yearlings fed the Organic Minerals  
Rate of gain for the yearlings averaged 1.7 lbs/day and was not affected by diet. Linear measurements of wither height, heart girth and body length were not affected by diet.
However, increase in hip height was 49% greater for yearlings consuming the diet with Organic Minerals - proteinated trace minerals (2.76 inches versus 1.85 inches, P<.05). Growth rate of the hooves was 4.2% greater for yearlings fed Organic Minerals - proteinated trace minerals - than those receiving trace minerals from only inorganic sources (4.98 cm versus 4.78 cm, P<.05).
No differences in hoof hardness were detected due to source of trace minerals.

                                              INORGANIC    Organic Minerals
Rate of gain             (lbs/d)                1.7 ± .01          1.7 ± .01
Hip height gain         (inches)a             1.85 ± .18        2.76 ± .17
Wither height gain     (inches)              2.81 ± .18        2.50 ± .17
Hoof growth              (cm)a                4.78 ± .06        4.98 ±  .06
a P<.05

What is so important about mineral 
stability and bond strength?
By feeding CalDensity® and getting the industry’s most stable “pre-formed” chelated organic minerals, we increase the probability that these minerals reach the site of absorption in a soluble and available form with greater efficiency of utilization. Stability (keeping the Organic Minerals intact which maintains solubility and availability) is the greatest determinant of the probability of nutritional success (utilization of the nutrient).

Essential trace minerals are not inert but are chemically active during the digestion process. Inorganic minerals disassociate readily when put into solution. These free minerals naturally form complexes or chelates as they travel throughout the digestive tract. Many times, these minerals are incorporated into insoluble or unavailable compounds that render the nutrient unavailable to the animal. If stable chelates are formed, the availability of the nutrient will be preserved for later absorption. 

To review the results of the Chelation Stability QF (Quotiant Formation) studies, please email us at  QF's are the industry stability standard and the comparison studies in 1995-96 and again in 2004-05, featured Organic Zinc vs. six other zinc brands. The results speak for themselves. 

For a better understanding of how minerals are chelated and how Organic Minerals are classified and different, read this: 

Polysaccharides (carbohydrates from Giant Pacific Sea Kelp) forms complexes by surrounding (sequestering) the mineral to form a protected water soluble substance. Upon digestion of the carbohydrate, the metal is released into the digesta of the intestine and is subject to chemical reaction with compounds in the digesta which may or may not enhance potential for absorption. The advantages are that the mineral is sequestered and not available for reaction with vitamins or antibiotics in dry or liquid feeds.
The mineral forms a complex salt or coordination compound with a specific amino acid such as glycine, methionine, histidine, or cysteine. The cation (positively charged mineral) is bound to the amino and carboxyl groups of the amino acid. The advantage is a well defined chemical entity with a fixed ratio of mineral to amino acid.
Organic Minerals - METAL PROTEINATE:
A mineral or metal proteinate is a chelated or complexed compound derived from the interaction of a multivalent cation (metal) with amino acids or protein digest fragments such as soy protein isolate. This chemical binding make these minerals non-reactive with vitamins and antibiotics. It is generally theorized among the scientific community that most minerals must be complexed with amino acids or peptides to facilitate absorption. Providing the animal with minerals already complexed with peptides results in less opportunity for the mineral to react with compounds in the digesta that may decrease the biological availability to the animal and increases the opportunities for absorption.
Chelating agents (ligands) are molecules which possess at least two electron donating groups that are capable of forming a ring structure with metal ions. The normal donor atons are oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur. Of particular interest are the chelating agents that may be present in the digesta of the intestine, including amino acids (glycine, cystine, cysteine, and histidine), peptides, proteins, heterocyclic compounds such as ethylene-diaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), and organic acids (oxalic acid, formic acid, citric acid, acetic acid and especially phytic acid). Natural feeds that have strong chelating properties include dry malt residues and molasses. Binding of minerals to chelating agents does not always increase the biological availability, and in the case of phytic acid, dramatically decreases biological availability of zinc.
Chelate means “to claw or to form a claw”. Chelation is a chemical reaction that forms a ring structure, often with the metal being incorporated as part of a 5 or 6 membered ring structure. It may be defined as an equilibrium reaction between a metal ion and a complexing agent. Chelation involves at least two electrons or electron donating groups, normally involving oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur. This reaction results in a coordinate covalent bond and completion of the electron shell of the central ion.
Ionophores are compounds that facilitate the transport of ions across natural and artificial membranes. They usually find use in mechanisms for transport in biological systems. The most common examples of ionophores are Rumensin and Bovatec.
AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) DEFINITION:
Organic Minerals - METAL PROTEINATE is the product resulting from the chelation of a soluble salt with amino acids and/or partially hydrolyzed protein. It must be declared as an ingredient as the specific metal proteinate: i.e. Copper Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Cobalt Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate or Calcium. (Proposed 1967, Adopted 1970, Amended 1977, Amended 1987.)