Interesting findings for the wellbeing of your horse on Omega-3 fatty acids
Scientists at Texas A&M University Have reported:
Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids reduced joint inflammation in both yearlings and older, arthritic horses. Horses fed the omega-3 supplement had lower synovial fluid white blood cell counts than those in the control group. Raised white blood cell counts are indicative of local inflammation, and arthritic horses will typically have a much higher number of white blood cells than non-arthritic horses.
Studies conducted by the Michigan State University concluded:
Horses supplemented with a dietary source of EPA and DHA showed a significant increase in the plasma fatty acid profile. In this study, adding the EPA and DHA forms of omega-3 to the horse’s diet resulted in a longer trot stride length, presumably as a result of the reduced inflammation and decreased joint pain.
For horses suffering from allergies and skin conditions, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help with skin and coat hypersensitivity associated with insect bites and other allergic reactions.
Benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for mares and stallions.
Researchers are studying the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on estrous cycles and pregnancy rates of mares, with a possible connection to reproductive function. In mares, supplementation with fish oil has led to reduced prostaglandin secretion and increased progesterone levels and this may aid embryo survival.
Nutritionists also uncovered interesting results when omega-3 fatty acids were fed to pregnant mares. The mares passed along the fatty acids to their foals in their milk. These foals seemed to have a stronger immune status than foals suckling mares not fed omega-3 fatty acids.
Reproductive specialists obtained encouraging results in studies carried out on stallions – in some stallions there was a significant boost in the number of normally shaped sperm, motility after chilling or thawing frozen semen and a rise in the concentration of spermatozoa in the semen.
Benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for performance horses
The higher energy requirements of performance horses means that we often have to provide them with a hard feed in addition to the forage component of their diet. As mentioned, this means they are often provided with more omega 6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. All horses on high grain, oil or concentrate diets will benefit from the addition of a dedicated omega 3 fatty acid supplement. The addition of fish oil may also have a desirable effect on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in response to exercise.
Performance horses often spend a portion of time out of the paddock and in a stable which can sometimes be a contributing factor in respiratory conditions. Approximately 15% horses are affected by recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) or inflammatory airway disease (IAD). Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation provides an additional benefit to a low dust diet in the management of horses with chronic lower airway disease. Therefore, supplementing with an EPA and DHA supplement may assist in reducing respiratory inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in the flexibility of cell walls. Increased flexibility of the membranes of red blood cells is crucial, especially during exercise when heart rates increase, blood thickens, and packed cell volume rises. Increased elasticity of red blood cells allows easier passage through narrow blood vessels in the lungs and muscles, thereby improving blood supply and oxygen delivery. Promising results in human medicine have led researchers to explore the effects of a combined dose of DHA and EPA on reducing signs of EIPH. Scientists at Kansas State University reported a reduction of EIPH severity (bleeders) in Thoroughbreds after being fed a diet enriched with fish oil for 83 days. Other studies have reported increased red blood cell membrane fluidity during exercise in horses fed a diet enriched with DHA and EPA and this or the anti-inflammatory effect may lead to the reduced severity of EIPH.
3 Fats and Fatty Acids – Nutrient Requirements of Horses
*Read chapter 3 Fats and Fatty Acids: Proper formulation of diets for horses depends on …
Nutrient Requirements of Horses: Sixth Revised Edition (2007)
DOMESTIC & THOROUGHBRED HORSES
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ASTAXANTHIN FOR HORSES
Astaxanthin is the most powerful antioxidant – and antioxidants are an important nutrient to fight against free radical damage.
Astaxanthin has been shown to Reduce oxidative stress and maximize muscle performance resulting in the followings:
- BOOSTS power output and muscle endurance
- LOWERS lactic acid, fatigue and muscle soreness
- REDUCES muscle damage and inflammation
- IMPROVES blood flow and antioxidant status
- PROMOTES muscle fat metabolism during exercise
- MAKES the coat shiny
Besides being great for joint health, eye function and heart health, astaxanthin is also great for brain function, immune system health and slows the aging process.
Astaxanthin also Boosts Performance without Burning-out.
Research conducted in Japan on racehorses (presented to the American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, 2013)
Demonstrated that astaxanthin supplementation after eight weeks provided lower lactate dehydrogenase-5 (an enzyme indicative of muscle damage) levels than the control; the control group (horses not supplemented with astaxanthin) had significantly higher levels of creatine kinase, another enzyme indicative of muscle damage, than the astaxanthin-supplemented group. With an antioxidant such as astaxanthin, we can reduce the oxidative stress in our performance horses while also reducing fatigue and muscle damage.
GOOD FOR EQUINE METABOLIC SYNDROME (EMS)
The powerful antioxidant actions of astaxanthin can suppress the total reactive species of free radicals, and according to a study by Korean and Japanese researchers, “markers of inflammation including inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX2) were suppressed” by astaxanthin.
BENEFICIAL FOR JOINTS
Due to the anti-inflammatory effect of reducing free radicals, astaxanthin can be beneficial for horses and horses with osteoarthritis pain. Research has demonstrated that astaxanthin can suppress certain inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandin E-2, COX-2 enzyme, and the nuclear factor kappa-B (Lee, et all 2003).
We already know that astaxanthin serves a protective role against ultraviolet (UV) light as an adaptive response against oxidative stress. Beyond that, researchers in Israel are studying the substance for thermoregulation and heat injury. As one researcher commented, “Astaxanthin has shown possibly to be protective of injury from heat stress in an animal model.” This could lead to another way to support horses with anhidrosis (non-sweaters). There is more and more evidence that non-sweating is a result of heat stress.