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Fish Oil Reduces Inflammatory Joint Compounds in HorsesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · September 14, 2011

Elevating omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in mammalian diets has been shown to decrease inflammatory processes in the joint.  Researchers from Colorado State University investigated the intra-articular production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a potent inflammatory compound, following 90 days of oral supplementation with two different types of omega-3 fatty acids.

Twenty-one mature mares with no history of joint disease or recent lameness were separated into three groups. One group was fed the basal diet and a commercial fish oil rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) at a rate of 69 mg/kg body weight, a second group was fed alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) via a flaxseed supplement at a rate of 68.6 mg/kg body weight, and a third group served as the control. Following 90 days of supplementation, synovial fluid was removed from a carpal joint of each horse, and PGE2 levels were measured. There was a trend for fish oil-supplemented horses to have lower PGE2 in their joints compared to control horses. PGE2 concentrations have been reported to be higher in the joints of horses with existing osteoarthritis compared to levels in normal, healthy joints.

This study was presented at the 2011 Equine Science Society Symposium in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The proceedings from this symposium are available from the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.