Benefits of oil supplementation seen in young horses during light work

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Young oil-fed horses appear to benefit from reduced training-related increases in the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β. (file picture)

Supplementing the diet of young horses during light work with raw rice bran oil or a flaxseed oil blend may help reduce exercise-related muscle damage and inflammation, suggest Search results.

Both oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, with the potential to reduce post-exercise inflammation and muscle damage.

Kayla Mowry and her fellow researchers, writing in the journal Animalssaid oils such as rice bran and flaxseed are marketed as versatile equine nutritional supplements.

Both contain components that reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, including phytosterols and vitamin E, which contain tocopherols and tocotrienol. Both oils contain essential fatty acids; however, flaxseed oil contains a higher amount of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, than rice bran oil.

Generally, rice bran oil has a low omega-3 to 6 ratio (1:19), while flaxseed oil provides more omega-3 fatty acids at 1:3.

“While there is no published ideal ratio for horses, it has been suggested that providing a diet with a higher ratio of omega-3 to 6 may be more beneficial in helping to reduce inflammation and muscle damage after exercise,” they said.

Additionally, rice bran oil contains γ-oryzanol, a blend of antioxidant compounds that have previously been shown to lower blood lipids and oxidative stress.

In general, they said, dietary fat supplementation increases caloric density, while improving thermoregulation and reducing lactic acid concentrations during intense exercise in horses.

Researchers set out to determine the effects of replacing 25% of concentrated calories with crude rice bran oil or a flaxseed oil blend on plasma concentrations of lactate, glucose, interleukin- 1β, creatine kinase and heart rate after an exercise test in young horses. The animals were all engaged in an introductory ground training program.

Interleukin-1β is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays an important role in mediating inflammatory responses, and production is often stimulated by strenuous exercise. Creatine kinase is an enzyme, with high levels usually indicating recent muscle damage.

Fatty acid profiles, body fat estimates and muscle scores were also determined.

The Sam Houston State University study team hypothesized that horses consuming either oil would have reduced plasma lactate and interleukin-1β levels, reduced plasma activity of creatine kinase and increased plasma omega-3 fatty acids without loss of muscle mass or gain of body fat.

The work focused on 12 healthy quarter horses, all under 20 months old. Four were randomly assigned to the control group, receiving no oil during the 60-day study period, four were supplemented with rice bran oil, and four received a flaxseed oil blend. .

Stabled horses were fed hay and concentrate feed. All eight horses in the treatment groups had 25% of their daily caloric needs met by the oil, which was carefully mixed into the concentrate feed for their meals.

Each horse also took part in a behavior and training course, which consisted of light groundwork 2-3 days a week, with no riding. Activities included lunges and round paddocks at walk, jog and canter, saddle and bare saddle, and desensitization to various objects. The total exercise time each day was about 30 minutes.

Each horse also had 30 minutes of daily participation time.

All horses underwent a stepwise stress test involving an automated walker three weeks before the start of oil supplementation, after 30 days of receiving the oil, and at the end of the experiment on day 60. Samples of blood were drawn.

Researchers said it appeared that consumption of raw rice bran oil or flaxseed oil for 60 days may benefit young, lightly worked horses by reducing program-related increases in interleukin-1β. ‘coaching. It appeared that a flaxseed oil blend could also reduce exercise-induced increases in creatine kinase.

“Additionally, the flaxseed oil blend has the potential to increase plasma omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.”

During the study, body weight increased by a similar amount in all horses, including the control group, indicating normal growth patterns in young horses receiving adequate nutrition.

Similarly, all horses added body fat as well as muscle equally, indicating that replacing concentrated calories with oil had no negative effect on fat and muscle parameters.

“Future research could potentially determine the effects of a blended combination of these oils and see how it compares in young growing horses versus mature performance horses.”

The study team included Kayla Mowry, Timber Thomson-Parker, Cruz Morales, Kalley Fikes, Kyle Stutts, Mark Anderson, Rachelle Smith, and Jessica Suagee-Bedore, all from Sam Houston University; and Jessica Leatherwood, of Texas A&M University.

Mowry, KC; Thomson-Parker, TL; Morales, C.; Fikes, KK; Stutts, KJ; Leatherwood, JL; Anderson, MJ; Smith, RX; Suagee-Bedore, JK Effects of raw rice bran oil and flaxseed oil mixture in young horses engaged in a training program. Animals 2022, 12, 3006. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12213006

The study, published under a Creative Commons Licensecan be read here.

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Richard V. Johnson