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Green Tea for Racehorses?

Quercetin, a flavonoid widely distributed in nature (apples, onions, green tea, etc) has previously been shown to increase energy expenditure in rats, but only for short periods (fewer than 8 weeks). Effects of quercetin on exercise tolerance in mice have been associated with increased Mitochondrial biogenesis. In mice, an oral quercetin dose of 12.5 to 25 mg/kg increased gene expression of mitochondrial biomarkers and improved exercise endurance. A paper released in the Journal on Comparative Physiology has shown that a dose of Quercetin has been shown to alter markers of athletic performance. Six healthy, unfit Standardbred mares were assigned to one of two treatments (quercetin or water)

Are we reaching locomotory limits?

I came across another interesting paper on locomotory limits in humans and other species, including the horse that I thought was timely given the questions of why the current crop of three year olds in North America seem to be quite slow when compared to horses of the past. The study looked at maximal speeds in horses, dogs and humans using datasets on the 10 best performers covering more than a century of races. The study firstly found that running speed in horses was heritable (h = 0.438, P = 0.01), suggesting the involvement of genetic factors in determining maximal speed. This is similar to other such studies on horses. They also noted that the maximal speed progression in humans is more

The Biomechanics Gene

A new paper out on Nature this week is very interesting and has some wide implications for the harness horse and also humans. Lead by a group of Swedish scientists, they have identified a genetic variant that influences gait in vertebrates, which has significant implications for breeders of trotting horses and may also lead to greater understanding of human paralysis. The report , which appeared in the journal Nature and can be found here, closely studied the Icelandic Horse, a breed that famously likes to pace and is noted for its smooth stride. Building on earlier work on lab mice, a team led by Leif Andersson at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences compa

A test for Overtraining?

Quite an interesting paper was released today on glucose metabolism rate and peripheral insulin sensitivity of horses undergoing training. You can take a look by clicking the link here, but basically they too 12 standardbred horses and broke them into two groups. They trained them on a treadmill and with one group they ramped up the intensity to stimulate overtraining in the horse and the other group they left training as normal. The first group saw mean glucose metabolism rate and mean glucose metabolism rate-to-plasma insulin concentration ratio changes that the control group did not have which might lead investigators towards a simple test that would indicate if a horse was overtrained or