Oxidative stress and antioxidant status in intensely exercising horses administered nutraceutical extracts

Equine Vet J Suppl. 2010 Nov:(38):317-22. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00182.x.


Reasons for performing study: Many nutraceuticals are used as equine supplements without their efficacy having been scientifically tested. Black tea, cranberries, orange peel and ginger are a few of those nutraceuticals that warrant further study.

Objective: To test the effects of single doses of black tea, cranberry, orange peel and ginger extract on markers of oxidative stress and antioxidant status following exercise in horses.

Methods: In Study 1, 9 mature, healthy but unfit Standardbred mares were administered 2 l of a control (water), orange peel extract (30 g extract) or decaffeinated black tea extract (28 g extract). In Study 2 the same mares were administered 2 l of a control (water), cranberry extract (30 g extract) or ginger extract (30 g extract). In each study, mares were given the extracts via nasogastric tube 1 h before performing a graded exercise test (GXT), in a randomised crossover design with at least 7 days between GXTs. Blood samples were collected at rest, at fatigue, and 1 and 24 h post exercise and analysed for lipid hydroperoxides (LPO), total glutathione (GSH-T), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), α-tocopherol (TOC), β-carotene (BC) and retinol. Data were statistically analysed using a repeated measures ANOVA.

Results: In Study 1 there was no effect of treatment for LPO, GSH-T, GPx, TOC or BC. Retinol was higher for both tea (P = 0.0006) and water (P = 0.004) than for orange peel. In Study 2 there was no treatment effect for LPO, GPx, GSH-T, RET, BC or TOC.

Conclusions: The results show that a single dose of various nutraceuticals in exercising horses do not produce an effect on either oxidative stress or antioxidant status and further investigation is needed as to whether long-term supplementation would enhance these effects.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Female
  • Horses / blood
  • Horses / physiology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Water