Feeding Antioxidants – The Benefits

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Here we explore feeding antioxidants and the benefits of feeding them to our horses.

What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are dietary components that combat oxidation.
What is oxidation?
Oxidation is where oxygen causes damage to cells and organs, or disrupt biochemical reactions. Oxidative reagents include:
  • Free radicals – hydroxy molecules that are highly reactive, and especially damaging to cellular structures including cell membranes.
  • Oxidative enzymes – these include NOX, superoxide etc. Generation of these lead to oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress contributes to pro-inflammatory factors, causing numerous negative effects such as joint damage, laminitic inflammation and many others.
Inflammatory cues, such as immune response, physiological stress and allergies promote oxidative stress, suppressing antioxidative cues.
Inefficient metabolism releases oxidative reagents.
Where do we get antioxidants?
There are a range of antioxidants from plant sources:
  • Fat soluble vitamins, such as A, C & E have a role in mopping free radicals and impacts on the fat layer beneath the skin of horses.
  • Polyphenols have a role in antioxidation by supporting the generation of antioxidative enzymes and reducing the generation of oxidative enzymes and oxidative stress.
  • Bioactive peptides these are short chains of amino acids derived from feed protein. Certain sequences have gastroprotective attributes.

They particularly useful as an antioxidant within the mucosal gut barrier and supports optimal function of gut microbiome.

How does feeding antioxidants benefit the horse?
Oxidation has a negative effect on feed and the horse. In feed oxidation causes feed spoilage and the loss of omega fatty acids.
In the horse oxidation is intrinsically connected with inflammation and oxidative stress a result of slight inefficiencies in normal biochemical function, aging, exercise and stressful situations, such as new environments, fright/flight and transport etc.
The inclusion of antioxidants helps protect the integrity of feed and supports the viability of bioactive ingredients such as:
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – supports the natural role of inflammation/anti-inflammatory cues.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids – supports the cardiovascular system
  • Omega -9 fatty acids – supports muscle activity etc.

It also helps reduce oxidative stress by mopping up free radicals and supporting antioxidative enzymes. In turn it helps to suppress pro-oxidative enzymes and interacts with inflammatory cycle contributing to overall health and wellbeing.

Why feed Cooked Linseed?
Cooked Linseed has undergone gentle heat/moisture treatment to avoid disruption of bioactive components. These components include antioxidant vitamins which have a role in supporting skin and coat health, helping to reduce NOX, a strong pro-oxidant, while vitamin C offers a general antioxidant.
Cooked Linseed also contains bioactive peptides, which reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS), flavonoids, resinol and herbacetin compounds, as well as phenolics, caffeic acid, ferulic acid and coumaric acid that all act as antioxidants.
All of this helps maintain the correct oxidative status throughout the body and acts as an antioxidant for the horse keeping them in the best of health.
The high levels of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids in Cooked Linseed help to aid skin and coat condition, whilst the high quality protein supports muscle activity and topline.
By Dr Tom Shurlock, Consultant Nutritionist.

Learn more about our feeds Speedi-Beet, Fibre-Beet and Cooked Linseed.

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