Can Race Horses Teach You Something About Broken Bones & Athletic Injuries?

Broken bones can be deadly for race horses and also for people. Approximately 20% of women will break a hip and one fourth of them will be dead within a year. Half will never again walk independently, and one in five will live permanently in a long-term care facility. The risk of death after a hip fracture is even worse for men.

It’s also worse for race horses because they rarely survive a broken leg. The great race horse, Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby in 2006 and two weeks later broke his leg in the Preakness Stakes. Barbaro had surgery the next day but there were complications, more surgery and a long stay in the intensive care unit. Barbaro never recovered and died eight months later because of the complications from a broken leg.

In spite of these alarming similarities between horses and people, there have been some helpful developments for both. Race track surfaces are being evaluated for texture and evenness. People can also make their homes safer by adding hand rails, getting rid of uneven carpets, and improving lighting for better visibility. More race horses and people are getting their bones evaluated for bone mineral density and for structure. This allows changes in nutrition and training to improve bone health. People can also improve their exercise and diet to maximize their bone health.

One amazing improvement for race horses has been the addition of silicon to their food. Scientists at Texas A&M University conducted a study where one group of horses ate their regular diet while another group of horses had the same diet plus a silicon-rich supplement added to their food. (Nielsen BD, et al. J. Equine Vet Sci) This was continued for a year. Then, the horses were evaluated by people who didn’t know which horses had the extra silicon and which did not. After approximately six months of racing and testing, the differences were compared and analyzed. The horses that had the extra silicon had fewer bone-related injuries. They were also able to run faster and train harder than the horses that had the regular food. Silicon supplemented horses also showed greater bone mineral density.

Research studies in other animals have confirmed that bones can become stronger when silicon is added to the diet. Also, men and women who consume more silicon-rich foods have improved bone density. Green beans and whole grains have some silicon. So does beer from the fermentation of barley and hops. In fact, beer-drinking women have better bone mineral density than women who don’t drink any beer. Some mineral waters also have silicon in addition to other minerals.

This doesn’t mean that silicon is the only important nutrient for bone health, but it does mean that a little extra silicon in your diet may be helpful. Calcium and vitamin D are very important for bone health, but research about silicon and other nutrients is showing that you need more than calcium and vitamin D for optimum bone health. When you can’t get everything you need from foods alone, then it’s time to consider a supplement with more than calcium and vitamin D. This why the Silical® System was developed to provide silicon, calcium, vitamin D and six more nutrients that are important for bone health.

Dr. Charles Price is the Medical Director for the Institute of Better Bone Health, and is rated as one of America’s top doctors. He is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and faculty member of the orthopedic residency program at Orlando Health. He is a Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Florida State University, College of Medicine. Dr. Price has authored or co-authored over 60 scientific research papers. Dr. Price is also a Certified Sports Nutritionist by the American Sports and Fitness Association.

Leave a Reply