Omega-3s And Inflammation In Athletic Horses - Horse Racing News


Inflammation is part and parcel to building strength and fitness in equine athletes. One key to training, however, is keeping inflammation at controllable levels after exercise so recovery occurs quickly and training continues unhindered. New findings from Kentucky Equine Research (KER) suggest long-chain omega-3s may be useful in managing inflammation in hard-working horses.

Using eight Thoroughbreds in race training, the researchers designed a 28-day study to determine the effect of long-chain omega-3 (EO-3) supplementation and exercise on blood serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) levels and inflammation. The enzyme GGT breaks down glutathione, a potent antioxidant. As levels of GGT rise, less glutathione is available to neutralize free radicals, leaving more cells susceptible to the damaging effects of oxidation.

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“Interest in the effect of omega-3s on inflammation stemmed from consistently high concentrations of the enzyme GGT in blood samples of some racing Thoroughbreds,” said Laura Petroski-Rose, B.V.M.S., a veterinarian with Kentucky Equine Research.

In the study, four of the horses were supplemented daily with 60 mL (2 ounces) of EO-3, while four horses served as controls and received the same feed without EO-3. All horses were fed 13to 15 pounds (6-7 kg) of a commercial racing feed (12 percent protein, 8 percent fat) with free-choice timothy hay. During the study, the horses were galloped three times per week (1-1.5 miles per session) on a racetrack and jogged three times per week (30 minutes per session) on a mechanical exerciser. At the conclusion of the 28 days, the horses performed an exercise test on the racetrack that consisted of a warm-up jog, ten-furlong (2,000-meter) gallop, and a two-furlong (400-meter) breeze. Blood samples were taken before exercise as well as two and four hours post-exercise.

The horses supplemented with EO-3 had significantly lower GGT levels two and four hours post-exercise compared to the control horses. This may have resulted from a reduction in inflammation observed post-exercise in the horses fed EO-3. Read more about the study.

Read more here.

Reprinted courtesy of Kentucky Equine Research. Visit ker.com for the latest in equine nutrition and management, and subscribe to Equinews to receive these articles directly.

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