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Ingredients in horse joint supplements

Consult with your veterinarian when using a joint supplement. Joint supplements aim to provide building blocks for cartilage and synovial fluid. They are also for reducing inflammation and cartilage break down. Ingredients in joint supplements have different functions. Most oral joint supplements contain varying amounts of the following;

  • Glucosamine

  • Chondroitin sulfate (CS)

  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

  • Minerals


Glucosamine is a building block for cartilage and joint fluid. It can stimulate cartilage building and stop inflammation. Glucosamine is a valid therapeutic approach to manage degenerative joint disease in horses. It also provides an alternative to costly, injectable therapies.

Chondroitin sulfate 

CS stops inflammation and tissue destruction. No studies show its usefulness in horses. Less than 15 percent absorption of CS occurs in humans, dogs and rats.


MSM is a source of useful sulfur and is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects. These effects haven’t been proven yet.


Minerals play a key role in building cartilage.

  • Sulfur plays a part in the biosynthesis of glucosamine and collagen

  • Manganese is key to the synthesis of CS

  • Zinc plays a role in collagen production in cartilage

  • Copper is involved in collagen production

Minerals are often in joint nutriceuticals (nonregulated products) to prevent deficiencies in the diet. Their purity and availability after ingestion is sometimes unknown.

Florien Jenner, DVM formerly with the University of Minnesota

Reviewed in 2018

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