Adding Omega-3s To A Mare’s Diet May Improve Fertility - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Adding Omega-3s To A Mare’s Diet May Improve Fertility

Adding Omega-3s to a mare's diet during late gestation may shrink the uterus more quickly after foaling, making them more likely to conceive during their foal heat, The Horse reports. Foal heat occurs between days five and 12 after foaling.  

Dr. Julia Rizzo de Medeiros Ferreira of the Department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Production at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and a team of researchers used 18 embryo recipient mares pregnant with Paint Horse foals for their study on omega-3s. The mares were a mix of breeds, were kept outside, and fed a concentrate. 

The team supplemented half of the mares with less than one ounce of microalgae that was rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acid, 90 days before the mare's expected foaling date. The mares were taken off the supplement seven days after their first ovulation post-foaling. 

The team ultrasounded each mare's ovaries and uterus on days 3, 7, 11 and 15 days after foaling and days 4 and 6 after ovulation. Post foaling, the team took uterine lining samples on days seven and 11, and four days post-ovulation.

They found that each mare's uterus became smaller after foaling, but the uterine horns of mare's supplemented with omega-3s were consistently smaller than the horns of non-supplemented mares. They also found that mares supplemented with microalgae rich in DHA had uteri that were lighter in color, which might indicate that the supplemented mares had less estradiol, a hormone associated with uterine inflammation. 

The team concludes that omega-3s have potential for use in mare diets, but that more research is needed.

Read more at The Horse.

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