Supplementation powders are a cornerstone of our captive reptile nutrition. One of the most prominent supplements in our community has been the Repashy Superfoods line. In today’s episode, Allen Repashy, the founder and formulator, comes on and shares with us what got him started in reptiles and how that led to creating a diverse line of nearly 50 specialty supplements and diets.
Supplements changed the reptile keeping hobby. Now we can add calcium to our feeder insects to create strong bones. We can avoid vitamin deficiency. But for every advantage there are dangers. Both D and A are fat soluble and can be overdosed. Vitamins and minerals are meant to be ingested in a certain balance so the formulation must be intelligently approached. The research behind reptile nutrition is spotty at best so no small amount of testing must be done. Thus it is well worth our time to learn about the formulator and strategy behind formulation of our supplements.
Repashy Calcium Plus is a general purpose multi-vitamin supplement. It has moderate levels of vitamin D3 and preformed vitamin A. Within the chameleon community it has been used successfully as an every feeding supplement by some panther chameleon breeders. The most high profile breeder is Kammerflage Kreations. For more information on what has been done, an interview with Ed Kammer can be found here
Though more testing would be appropriate to confirm the suspicion, it appears that this formulation has a balance of vitamins and minerals that produces edema in certain montane chameleon species. These issues seem to clear up with Repashy Calcium Plus LoD. Presumably, this is due to the lower levels of both vitamin D3 and A. But, once again, these are best guesses based on anecdotal testing and more rigorous methods must be applied to speak with certainty.
Repashy Calcium Plus LoD has become a common supplement used as a bi-weekly/monthly "top-off" for husbandry strategies that focus on strong UVB for D3 production. This is often used in chameleon husbandry a few times a month for the presence of preformed vitamin A. Since the chameleon gets their vitamin D3 consistently through daily UVB exposure the D3 inclusion is merely a bonus. We still are careful for a number of montane chameleons, such as Jackson's Chameleon, as they appear to be sensitive to our vitamin D3 and A supplementation. But the LoD formulation appears to sit with them better than the regular Calcium Plus. This shows off the convenience of the Repashy line as it has great flexibility so that you can find a formulation and dusting schedule to match the needs of your specific reptile.
Of course, what supplement line would not have plain calcium? Plain calcium is used as an every feeding base in many caresheets. When selecting a plain calcium, read carefully both the front and the ingredients. Verify if vitamin D3 has been added. Ensure that, if it is present, that you intend to be using that level of D3. The Repashy line contains a number of calcium/vitamin D3 formulations. If you are purchasing for your chameleon and are looking for a plain calcium, ensure that you are buying the one with the green monitor on the front label.