Reasons for performing study: Intense physical exercise produces an excess of reactive oxygen species which can disturb the antioxidant/oxidant balance of the horse in training. Several classes of antioxidant dietary compounds have been suggested to provide health benefits and there is evidence that consumption of these products leads to a reduction in the expression of various pro-inflammatory and/or oxidative stress biomarkers. The recent development of a new galenic system allows the oral delivery of the antioxidant enzyme: superoxide dismutase (SOD). This has been developed from a specific melon variety with a particularly high SOD activity.
Objectives: To study the influence of an oral supplementation with an encapsulated melon rich in SOD on muscular and antioxidant balance variables in a population of Standardbreds in training.
Methods: Twenty-four Standardbreds in training were paired by age, sex and training level. They were randomly split into 2 groups: SOD group (520 iu/day) and placebo group. At the beginning of the study (T0) and after 30 days (T30) and 60 days (T60) of supplementation, physiological response during a standardised exercise test, plasma muscular enzymes at rest and post exercise (creatine kinase), oxidative stress markers (erythrocyte SOD) and blood resistance to haemolysis (KRL test) were assessed. Analysis of variance of time, treatment and interaction time x treatment was calculated.
Results: Between T0 and T60, in contrast with placebo group, a significant increase in the plasma resistance to haemolysis in the SOD group was observed and it was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the SOD group than in the placebo group on T60. Between T0 and T60, resting CK remained constant in SOD group whereas a significant increase in plasma CK in the placebo group was observed. On T60, the CK level was significantly lower (P<0.05) in SOD group than in the placebo group.
Conclusions: These results suggest that oral SOD supplementation might increase blood resistance to haemolysis and reduce the increase in muscular membrane permeability induced by training.