Nutritional Support for the Competition Horse

Nutritional Support for the Competition Horse
Guest Article: By Dr Tom Shurlock of The Golden Paste Company

Nutritional Support for the competition horse is a key area that needs to be considered when training and competing. Feed alone may not be sufficient enough to provide and replace key nutrients needed by the equine athlete and it is for this reason we turn to supplements as a way to reimburse and minimise impact on the body.

Here, Dr Tom Shurlock of the Golden Paste Company talks about how training and competition can affect the equine’s body and answers some frequently asked questions about TumerAid, the Brands leading supplement.

Guest Article: By Dr Tom Shurlock of The Golden Paste Company
**Sponsored Content**
Dr T.Shurlock, The Golden Paste Company
Dr T.Shurlock, The Golden Paste Company

The defining characteristic of the competition horse is its ability to perform to its full potential; however, this brings a range of nutritional challenges that can be met with correct nutrition and the use of bioactives. Whether we are feeding for power, speed or endurance – where energy profiles may need to be adjusted – or to support protein metabolism, we need to be aware of the metabolic damage caused by hard exercise.

No system is 100% efficient and the impact of exercise on muscle and joints, at the very least, releases oxidative challenges; in the case of joints this leads to the breakdown of cartilage, and for muscle poor recovery rates, both directly and in its interaction with pro-inflammatory factors.


When muscle is exercised, the protein goes into a cycle of solubilisation and reconstitution – in short, the muscle dissolves and reforms. However, due to inherent inefficiencies, there is a loss of some of the amino acids from the muscle matrix, and a release of inflammatory cues. These cues stimulate further protein breakdown, the release of oxidative free radicals and energy starvation, characterised by the generation of lactic acid.

Specific amino acids are involved in the regeneration of muscular protein, especially arginine and the branch chain amino acids. Although there should be plenty in a normal diet, it may be sensible to supplement with a protein source rich in these components. Recovery, fuelled by an increase in blood flow, supports muscle mass and a reduction in plasma amino acids, as the muscle is reconstituted, along with collagen generation. A third phase is the replenishment of glycogenic energy sources and this can be supported by those super fibres that yield higher than average levels of propionate from hindgut fermentation.

The inflammatory process releases cytokines that generate PGE2, a substance that can be ameliorated by certain unsaturated fatty acids, and by terpenes – essential oils. A combination between these and the antioxidative effect of plant bioactives, the polyphenols, can bring about rapid recovery from the negative effects of hard exercise. Curcumin, a polyphenol found in turmeric, has been shown to reduce the onset of muscle soreness in humans, and reduce oxidative markers in exercising horses.

Additional to this there is a direct impact on inflammatory cues and oxidative damage in degrading cartilage and so reducing the efficiency of joint function. As with protein regeneration, an improved blood supply, flushing away negative by-products, enables the inflow of antioxidative factors and the release of anti-inflammatory cues. This reduces specific components, such as metalloproteases, that breaks down collagen leading to damage to the cartilage coating the bones of the articular joints. Plant bioactives, such as the essential oils and polyphenols can help support the natural recovery from protein degradation and the wear and tear of joint activity and so should be considered alongside a protein/energy profile suitable for each horse’s activity.

Introducing dietary supplementation with a protein source, such as linseed, which is rich in the amino acids required for muscle protein, a super fibre such as Speedi-Beet which produces good quantities of the glycogenic energy source propionate, and a bioactive supplement such as TurmerAid™ is the best way to support the nutrition of a competition horse. TurmerAid™ is based on turmeric, with yucca saponins and omega-3 oils to improve its absorption, and black pepper and apple cider vinegar to prolong its efficacy, TurmerAid can help support both muscle recovery and joint function.

Q – Should I feed TurmerAid all year round?

A – TurmerAid has been developed as a support to help optimise normal metabolic processes. Both inflammation and oxidation are stress factors that are the result of normal life. Whenever the body detects an input it regards as alien, its first line of response is to release a raft of inflammatory factors. Within these are specific cues which combat specific threats, such as immunological or allergic response, physical damage or pain, or even chronic obesity. At the same time inefficiencies in metabolism, possibly exacerbated by inflammatory stress, release oxidative factors. As there are continuous stress factors – even ageing is an inflammatory stimulant – seasonal, behavioural, external and internal, feeding a product like TurmerAid all year will support wellbeing and joint health.

GPC TurmerAID Product 62510
GPC TurmerAID – Product image

Q – Why do I need to feed TurmerAid twice daily?

A – There are two research articles that are used to demonstrate the importance of feeding black pepper alongside turmeric. It has been misreported that piperine improves the bioavailability of turmeric by 2000%. What piperine actually does is help reduce curcumin (one of the 200 bioactives) degradation and so prolongs its period of activity. Even so, its natural degradation is a matter of hours and so constant topping up is needed. It is the ability of the body to continuously degrade curcumin that ensures toxicity is never a problem.

Adding TurmerAid to feed
Adding TurmerAid to feed

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