Could a Supplement Ease the Effects of Tying Up?

Japanese researchers recently tested a supplement designed to alleviate both tying-up episodes and the muscle damage, with positive results.
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Tying-up, or exertional rhabdomyolysis, is a frustrating problem that sport and racehorse trainers try diligently to prevent. Fortunately, there's some good news: Japanese researchers recently tested a supplement designed to alleviate both tying-up episodes and the muscle damage, with positive results.

Fumio Sato, DVM, PhD, of the Japan Racing Association's (JRA) Hidaka Training and Research Center, presented the study results at the 2013 American Association of Equine Practitioners' Convention, held Dec. 7-11 in Nashville, Tenn.

Tying-up is a term used to describe a variety of muscle disorders in equine athletes. Affected horses develop varying degrees of muscle cramping or muscle soreness after exercise, with the more severe cases accompanied by elevated respiratory and heart rates, dark urine, and reluctance to move or stand.

The supplement researchers tested in the current study included astaxanthin and L-carnitine, Sato explained. The former, he said, has strong antioxidant effects, while the latter has been shown to enhance fatty acid oxidation (a process the body uses for normal energy production and immune function)

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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