Skip to main content

Vitamin E intake and systemic antioxidant status in competitive endurance horses

  • CA Williams (a1), DS Kronfeld, TM Hess (a1), KE Saker (a2), JE Waldron (a3) and PA Harris (a4)...

The objective was to compare vitamin E content in the total diet of Arabian horses competing in the 80 km Research Ride 2002 to the oxidative stress and antioxidant measures throughout the race. Prior to the race, riders completed a detailed nutritional survey, which was used to calculate vitamin E intake. Blood samples, temperature and heart rate were taken the day before the race, at 27 and 48 km during the race, at race completion or elimination and 3 h after race completion. Plasma lipid hydroperoxides, α-tocopherol (TOC), creatine kinase (CK), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), albumin, red and white blood cell total glutathione and glutathione peroxidase were measured. Data were analyzed by Pearson's correlation in SAS. From the survey, it was estimated that horses consumed 2265±114 IU day−1 of vitamin E. A negative correlation was found between the vitamin E intake and CK (r = −0.23; P = 0.002), and AST (r = −0.22; P = 0.003). A positive correlation was found between the vitamin E intake and plasma TOC (r = 0.15; P = 0.005) at all sample times. This suggests that intensely exercising horses supplemented with vitamin E may not have an improved welfare and performance if they are supplemented vitamin E versus what is naturally found in forages and commercial feeds.

Corresponding author
*Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Cook Campus, 84 Lipman Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901; Email:
Hide All
1McBride, JM and Kraemer, WJ (1999). Free radicals, exercise and antioxidants. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 13: 175183.
2McMeniman, NP and Hintz, HF (1992). Effect of vitamin E status on lipid peroxidation in exercised horses. Equine Veterinary Journal 24: 482484.
3National Research Council, (1989). Nutrient Requirements of Horses, 5th edn. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
4Siciliano, PD, Parker, AL and Lawrence, LM (1996). Effect of dietary vitamin E supplementation on the integrity of skeletal muscle in exercised horses. Journal of Animal Science 75: 15531560.
5Harris, PA (1998). Musculoskeletal disease. In: Reed, SM and Bayly, WM (eds), Equine Internal Medicine. London: W.B. Saunders Company, pp. 375397.
6Williams, CA, Kronfeld, DS, Hess, TM, Saker, KE and Harris, PA (2004). Lipoic acid and vitamin E supplementation to horses diminishes endurance exercise induced oxidative stress, muscle enzyme leakage, and apoptosis. In: Lindner, A (ed.), The Elite Race and Endurance Horse. Oslo, Norway: CESMAS, pp. 105119.
7Deaton, CM and Marlin, DJ (2005). Reactive oxygen species and antioxidants–a war of nutrition. The Veterinary Journal 169: 79.
8de Moffarts, B, Kirschvink, N, Art, T, Pincemail, J and Lekeux, P (2005). Effect of oral antioxidant supplementation on blood antioxidant status in trained Thoroughbred horses. The Veterinary Journal 169: 6574.
9Mackay-Smith, M, Bentham, B, Cohen, M, Nelson, T, Ridgway, K and Steere, J (1999). Veterinary Guidelines for Judging AREC Endurance Competitions. Auburn, CA: The American Endurance Ride Conference, pp. 1042.
10Williams, CA, Kronfeld, DS, Hess, TM, Waldron, JN, Crandell, KM, Saker, KE, Hoffman, RM and Harris, PA (2004). Antioxidant supplementation and subsequent oxidative stress of horses competing in a 80-km endurance race. Journal of Animal Science 82: 588594.
11Valberg, S, Jonsson, L, Lindholm, A and Holmgren, N (1993). Muscle histopathology and plasma aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase and myoglobin changes with exercise in horses with recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis. Equine Veterinary Journal 25: 1116.
12Hargreaves, BJ, Kronfeld, DS, Holland, JL, Gay, LA, Cooper, WL, Sklan, DJ and Harris, PA (2001). Bioavailability and kinetics of natural and synthetic forms of vitamin E in Thoroughbred horses. Equine Nutrition and Physiology Symposium Proceedings 17: 127128.
13Williams, CA, Kronfeld, DS, Hess, TM, Saker, KE, Waldron, JE, Crandell, KM and Harris, PA (2005). Comparison of oxidative stress and antioxidant status in endurance horses in three 80 km races. Equine and Comparative Exercise Physiology (in press).
14Dysmsza, HA and Park, J (1975). Excess dietary vitamin E in rats. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 34: 912.
15Abdo, KM, Rao, G and Montgomery, CA (1986). Thirteen-week toxicity study of d-α-tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E) in Fischer 344 rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology 24: 10431050.
16Corrigan, JJ and Marcus, FI (1974). Coagulopathy association with vitamin E ingestion. Journal of the American Medical Association 230: 13001301.
17Kusin, JA, Reddy, V and Sivakumar, B (1974). Vitamin E supplements and the absorption of a massive dose of vitamin E. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 27: 774776.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Equine and Comparative Exercise Physiology
  • ISSN: 1478-0615
  • EISSN: 1479-070X
  • URL: /core/journals/equine-and-comparative-exercise-physiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Abstract views

Total abstract views: 101 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.