Horses can easily lose 3-5L of sweat during a training or exercise session under warm conditions. This is an important process of evaporative cooling but it also involves losses of electrolytes, proteins and amino acids.
- The need for replenishment of electrolytes due to losses in sweat has been known for many years and is well catered for in good husbandry.
- The major protein in sweat is latherin which helps “wet the hair” and facilitate cooling.
Our research has shown that a small group of amino acids appear in sweat at more than three times the concentrations that they occur in the blood plasma, whilst other amino acids are drastically reduced.
- We do not yet understand why this happens and we can only speculate that vital functions are associated with losses of amino acids in sweat, because the body would not want to waste such valuable resources.
Computer modelling of protein ingestion, amino acid utilisation and excretion has revealed that certain amino acids are utilised and excreted at disproportionately faster rates than other amino acids. Therefore:
When the horse is in regular training and competition, these amino acids are likely to be in greater demand as a resource.
- It is likely that the horse’s body cannot always keep up with demand during high intensity training routines – especially in warmer climates.
We have thus developed a new strategy:
- Replenish these sweat facilitated losses of amino acids as soon as possible after exercise.
- A formulation was developed based on the scientific research and is now available as BoostAA™ from our industry partner HorsePower Pty Ltd.
This strategy was tried with several Standardbred horses and improvements in condition and performance were easily observable after 3 weeks and very obvious after 7 weeks as shown in the photos.
Dunstan, R. H., Sparkes, D. L., Dascombe, B. J., Evans, C. A., Macdonald, M. M., Crompton, M., . . . Gottries, J., Roberts, T. K. (2015). Sweat facilitated losses of amino acids in Standardbred horses and the application of supplementation strategies to maintain condition during training. Comparative Exercise Physiology, 11(4), 201-212. doi:10.3920/CEP150027