This little vitamin is not talked about much in equine nutrition, mainly because we still don’t know exactly what a horse’s dietary requirement is. We also assume a large part of their requirement is fulfilled by the Vitamin B6 produced by the bacteria in their hindgut.
We do know B6 is important for building muscle. I just saw a very recently published paper looking at Vitamin B6 supplementation and muscle development in rabbits. (http://www.publish.csiro.au/AN/AN15807…)
I know a rabbit is very different animal to a horse, but from a gut physiology and nutrition perspective they are actually really similar, so I thought I would take a look to see what the researchers found.
Vitamin B6 supplementation was shown to significantly alter protein metabolism and increase the ratio of fore + hindleg muscle weight to body weight (i.e. supplemented rabbits had more leg muscle). Interesting!
We do track B6 intake in our Pro FeedXL plans … this just reinforces to me though how important a horse’s base diet is when it comes to achieving specific outcomes. For example, if you are wanting your horse to build muscle but you aren’t meeting basic nutrient requirements (like vitamin B6) you could add all the fancy muscle building supplements you like to the diet and they won’t help!
You can’t build muscle unless you get your basics right first! Here at FeedXL, we can help you with that!