Avoid Over Supplementaion of your Race Birds

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Joined: 12/05/2009

When we over supplement a bird, it's system will try and flush out the excess supplementation.

When we over supplement with the water soluble vitamins (mostly the B complex and C) the bird's system uses its water reserves to flush out the excess which may otherwise build up and become toxic. If we give the B complex + C just before the race and do not allow enough time for the bird's system to normalize, then the bird will dehydrate itself in the race crate as it gives up stored water to expel the excess water soluble vitamins.

When we over supplement with the oil based vitamins (A, D, E, and K ), the excess gets stored in fat cells, then when the bird is racing and it's system is breaking down those fat stores into available energy, all the stored oil soluble vitamins in those fat cells are released into the bird's system at the absolute worse time.

While the bird's system is trying to remove muscle waste, lactic acid, ureal buildup and other waste products from the working cells, these fat stored vitamins are also being released into the system and this taxes the liver and kidneys by having to remove these excess supplements along with all the muscle waste and energy conversion waste that takes place during a race.

Vitamins such as A, D, E and K are absorbed and dissolved by fat cells called lipids. Some of these vitamin-storing lipids eventually make their way to the liver or other fat deposits for long-term storage. The body only needs a small amount of fat soluble vitamins, but the excretion process takes much longer. Fat cells literally have to melt away in order to get rid of excessive fat soluble vitamins, and the released vitamins pass slowly through the lymph system.

Unlike water soluble vitamins, it is possible to consume a toxic level of fat soluble vitamins through supplement overdose. Fat soluble vitamins must be stored in the liver until they can be safely metabolized. Obviously, during the great stress of long distance racing is not the advantageous time to safely metabolize and remove these excess oil soluble vitamins. So, it is important to avoid the long term buildup of these oil soluble vitamins if one expects their birds to compete at the highest level on race day.

I think many fanciers overdose their race birds with Macro doses of Oil soluble Vitamins. This is why I am a micro nutrient person. I believe it is better to give smaller doses in greater frequency then one large dose. This is why I recommend giving supplements early in the week so that excesses have a better chance of being processed out of the system prior to the day of the race.

For those who supplement directly, I would give the oil soluble vitamins earliest in the week and not give the B Complex within 12 hours of basketing the birds unless it was a very small amount.

There is also some risk with other supplements, but I have found that a modest amount of amino acids given the day prior to basketing or on the day of basketing (allow at least four hours of fresh clean water prior to taking the birds to the clubhouse) is sufficient time for the birds to normalize their water reserves. However this might be modified if your club does not offer water to the birds, prior to racing, while they are on the truck. I know it is strange, but some clubs do not water the birds prior to release on races less that 300 miles. In that case, the birds may need more that four hours of fresh clean water prior to taking them to the club.

Here is what I wrote on the subject several years ago in the Racing Pigeon Enthusiast Newsletter:

Normally, the primary vitamins are identified as vitamin A, D, E, K, C, and the B complex. Of these, A, D, E, and K are the fat soluble vitamins, while Vitamins C and the B complex are water soluble vitamins. The water soluble vitamins are not stored within the body except in small amounts , whereas the Fat soluble vitamins are commonly stored in special fat storage cells called lipocytes.

Excess Water Soluble vitamins are flushed out of the system through the gastro-intestinal tract. The body uses stored water reserves to flush out these excess Water Soluble vitamins, via the gastro-intestinal tract. This of course can leads to dehydration and stess on the internal organs, specifically stress on the liver and kidneys.

In and of itself, having excess fat soluble vitamins stored in special fat storage cells called lipocytes, is not a bad thing, but on the longer races, after all the easy energy has been "burned up" by the muscles, then fat is broken down to supply energy for muscle exertion. When the fat is broken down, the excess fat soluble vitamins (and other supplements) contained in the fat are then released at the absolute worse possible time, that is during the hardest part of the race.

Not only is the bird dealing with the toxicity of all the muscle waste product from the many hours of long hard flight, but now all these excess vitamins are released into the liver and kidneys when these organs are already working at maximum capacity trying to remove the muscle breakdown product from the body. Under this senario, these vitamins become toxins and instead of helping the bird, they hinder it by interfering with the removal of muscle cell waste production. By slowing down removal of the waste product several things happen, oxygen levels in the blood decrease, toxicity and waste product increases in the blood, body temperature rises, and the muscle function decreases. Not the formula for a successful race result.

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