Antioxidants, derived from melon extract, has been shown to benefit training horses. These results were presented at the latest French Equine Conference in Paris.
Athletic horses are often subjected to oxidative stress and inflammation, leading to the muscle membrane weakening and degradation of the cartilage matrix in joints. A study was conducted in Canada on a model of joint fatigue in athletic horses in order to investigate the effects of melon superoxide dismutase* (SOD), a source of primary antioxidants (melon SOD*) supplementation on a large array of biomarkers of inflammation and joint damage.
Two groups of 8 horses received either a placebo or a supplementation of vegetal SOD (2600 IU/horse/day; equivalent to 1 g melon SOD/horse/day) during 23 days and were submitted to a standardized exercise test known to induce mild-to-moderate oxidative stress and inflammation, during 2 sessions (pre- and post-supplementation).
The study confirmed that the exercise regimen induced inflammation and oxidative stress in horses’ synovial fluid, as well as degradation of cartilage matrix, which can lead to discomfort and pain, and leakage of muscular enzymes in the plasma, indicative of muscle membrane weakening. The horses that received the melon SOD however helped to maintain muscular and cartilage integrity and decreased oxidative stress and inflammation in training horses.
These results confirm previous findings with melon SOD on muscle cell integrity in athletic horses (Notin et al., 2010; Barbé et al., 2014), while bringing novel findings about the reduction of inflammation and SOD enzyme activation in synovial fluid, associated with maintained cartilage integrity.
*Melon SOD is available from Lallemand Animal Nutrition under trade names MELOFEED and ENZALOX, depending on the territory.
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