For performance horses like racehorses and show jumpers, recovery after intense exercise is crucial. A quick recovery allows them to train and compete at their peak repeatedly. One supplement that can help horses recover faster is carnitine.
What is Carnitine?
Carnitine is a naturally occurring nutrient that plays an important role in energy production. It is synthesized in the liver and kidneys from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Carnitine helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, the "powerhouses" of cells. This allows the fatty acids to be broken down into energy through a process called beta-oxidation.
Without adequate carnitine, fatty acids cannot effectively be used as fuel. This results in less energy production and a buildup of metabolic waste products. Supplementing with extra carnitine allows more fatty acids to be utilized for energy production.
Benefits of Carnitine for Performance Horses
Here are some of the top ways carnitine supplementation can benefit equine athletes:
Speeds recovery following exercise - Carnitine reduces muscle soreness and damage caused by intense exercise. This allows horses to bounce back quicker after races, competitions, or strenuous training sessions.
Increases stamina - By providing an efficient fuel source, carnitine can improve aerobic capacity and delay fatigue. This helps performance horses complete their maximal effort over a longer period.
Improves muscle function - Carnitine plays a key role in muscle contraction. Supplementing helps maintain muscle strength and coordination in hard-working horses.
Increases fat burning - During low to moderate intensity exercise, carnitine enables horses to burn a greater ratio of fat. This spares glycogen stores for when all-out effort is required.
Decreases buildup of lactic acid - Intense exercise causes lactic acid buildup which contributes to fatigue. Carnitine speeds the removal of lactic acid so it doesn't accumulate as rapidly.
Supports weight management - By facilitating fat burning, carnitine may help optimize body condition and prevent unwanted weight gain in idle horses.
For performance horses, veterinarians generally recommend supplementing with 10-15 grams of carnitine per day. This level has been shown to positively influence exercise recovery without adverse effects. It's best given as a powder added to the horse's normal grain ration and divided between feedings.
Always consult your veterinarian before supplementing to ensure proper dosage for your horse's individual needs and current fitness level. With the right amount of carnitine, performance horses can work harder, avoid burnout, and recover faster. This key nutrient provides a legal, natural way to help equine athletes perform at their peak.
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