Effect of oral antioxidant supplementation on blood antioxidant status in trained thoroughbred horses

Vet J. 2005 Jan;169(1):65-74. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2003.12.012.


The oxidant/antioxidant equilibrium of trained thoroughbred horses (n = 40) was assessed on three occasions during a period of three months under field conditions by blood antioxidant markers analysis, i.e. plasma ascorbic acid (AA), plasma antioxidant capacity of water-soluble components (ACW), whole blood (GSH) and oxidised (GSSG) glutathione, plasma alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene, plasma antioxidant capacity of lipid-soluble components (ACL), red blood cell superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione-peroxidase activity (GPx) and plasma trace-elements, i.e. selenium (Se), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn). A control group of ten horses receiving a placebo and an antioxidant group of 30 horses orally supplemented with an antioxidant mixture were randomly formed. An antioxidant imbalance was observed after three months in the control group, reflected by a significant decrease in GSH, SOD, GPx, Se (P < 0.05) and a significant increase in GSSG (P < 0.05). The antioxidant supplement prevented GPx and Se decrease and significantly increased ACW, alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene and ACL (P < 0.05). Significant sex- or age-related differences were found for AA, ACW, alpha-tocopherol, SOD, GPx and Se, and there were significant correlations between ACW-AA, ACL-alpha-tocopherol, GPx-Se, CPK-Se, CPK-alpha-tocopherol and CPK-Cu. This field study has shown that trained thoroughbred horses undergo significant changes of several blood antioxidant markers and that oral antioxidant supplementation might partially counterbalance these changes by improving the hydrophilic, lipophilic and enzymatic antioxidant blood capacity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / blood
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Horses / blood*
  • Horses / metabolism
  • Male
  • Minerals / blood
  • Minerals / metabolism
  • Random Allocation
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Vitamins / blood
  • Vitamins / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione