Exercise causes an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species, which can result in oxidant/antioxidant disequilibrium. Deficiency of antioxidants can further alter this balance in favor of pro-oxidation. Selenium (Se) is one of many antioxidant catalysts, as a component of the glutathione peroxidase enzymes. Soils and forages vary widely in Se concentration and a deficient diet can lead to sub-clinical or clinical deficiency in horses. Endurance horses are prone to oxidative stress during long periods of aerobic exercise and their performance could be affected by Se status. This study investigated the blood Se concentration in a group of endurance horses (n=56) residing and competing in California, a state containing several regions that tend to produce Se-deficient forages. The rate of Se deficiency in this group of horses was low, with only one horse being slightly below the reference range. Higher blood Se concentrations were not associated with improved performance in terms of ride time. There was no significant difference in Se concentration between horses that completed the ride and those that were disqualified, although blood Se concentrations were significantly higher in horses that received oral Se supplementation. An increase in blood Se concentration was observed following exercise and this warrants further study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology