Effects of two different dietary sources of long chain omega-3, highly unsaturated fatty acids on incorporation into the plasma, red blood cell, and skeletal muscle in horses.J Anim Sci. 2012 Sep; 90(9):3023-31.JA
The objective of this study was to examine the effects of different sources of dietary omega-3 (n-3) fatty acid supplementation on plasma, red blood cell, and skeletal muscle fatty acid compositions in horses. Twenty-one mares were blocked by age, BW, and BCS and assigned to 1 of 3 dietary treatments with 7 mares per treatment. Dietary treatments were: 1) control or no fatty acid supplement (CON), 2) 38 g of n-3 long chain, highly unsaturated fatty acid (LCHUFA) supplement/d provided by algae and fish oil (MARINE) containing alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and 3) 38 g of n-3 LCHUFA supplement/d provided by a flaxseed meal (FLAX) containing ALA. Each supplement was added to a basal diet consisting of hay and barley and was fed for 90 d. Blood samples and muscle middle gluteal biopsies were taken at d 0, 30, 60 and 90 of supplementation. Plasma, red blood cell and skeletal muscle fatty acid profiles were determined via gas chromatography. Plasma linoleic acid (LA) and ALA were at least 10 and 60% less (P < 0.01), respectively, in the MARINE compared with the FLAX and CON groups. Plasma EPA and DHA were only detected in the MARINE group, and EPA increased 40% (P < 0.001) from d 30 to 60, and DHA 19% (P < 0.01) from d 30 to 90. Red blood cell LA and ALA were not different among treatments. Red blood cell EPA and DHA were only detected in the MARINE group, where EPA increased 38% (P < 0.01) from d 30 to 60, and DHA increased 56% (P < 0.001) between d 30 and 90. Skeletal muscle LA was at least 17% less (P < 0.001) in the MARINE group compared with the other treatments. Skeletal muscle ALA was 15% less (P = 0.03) in the MARINE group compared with FLAX and CON groups. Skeletal muscle EPA was at least 25% greater (P < 0.001) in MARINE group compared with other treatments and increased (P < 0.001) by 71% from d 30 to 60. Skeletal muscle DHA was at least 57% greater (P < 0.001) in the MARINE group compared with other groups and increased (P < 0.001) by 40% between d 30 and 90. As far as the authors are aware, this is the first study to demonstrate that dietary fatty acid supplementation will affect muscle fatty acid composition in horses. Incorporation of n-3 LCHUFA into blood and muscle depends directly on dietary supply of specific fatty acids.