Aust firms hold high hopes for blood-boosting supplements

A weanling colt fed the new supplement from ENA, pictured on June 6.
A weanling colt fed the new Phosphagenics supplement, pictured on June 6. The same colt 13 days later, on June 19. The same colt 13 days later, on June 19.

Two Australian companies say a study has shown two supplements significantly boost thoroughbreds’ red blood cells and haemoglobin levels within a fortnight of receiving the products.

They say the potential for the products to lead to global change in supplementation of racehorses seems clear, adding that all formulations tested fall within the guidelines of daily oral supplementation and do not contravene any of the Rules of Racing.

Interest in the products had already come from 10 countries.

Research will now be aimed at registering the two supplements for thoroughbred breeding and thoroughbred racehorses.

Biotechnology company Phosphagenics this month reached an arrangement with Equine Nutrition Australia to commercialize products using Phosphagenics’ technology.

The first product will combine the essential trace mineral selenium with Phosphagenics’ delivery technology, with the aim of providing superior absorption of the mineral for horses.

The second supplement is designed to boost the red blood cell count (haemoglobin) in racehorses, thereby increasing the oxygen-bearing capacity to enhance stamina.

Increasing the number of red blood cells improves the oxygen supply to muscles and lifts the potential oxygen uptake.

The companies said December 2011 trials involving 18 racehorses at a stable on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria delivered encouraging results.

It said the results showed one formulation produced excellent increases of red blood cells and haemoglobin after only seven days of supplementation, with an improvement of up to 9 per cent, and even higher levels after 14 days of supplementation (up to 13 per cent).

The trials had three control arms, including another blood-building product, against which the formulation containing showed significant improvement, the companies said.

They said late-stage trials were about to commence in stables on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and will involve up to 40 horses.

These trials are designed to provide the required good clinical practice data for the application for registration of these supplements by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

Phosphagenics chief executive Dr Esra Ogru said the collaboration with Equine Nutrition Australia represented a substantial market opportunity.

Equine Nutrition Australia managing director Rob Neely said supplementing feed with antioxidants, trace minerals, vitamins and essential amino acids had been shown to promote muscle and tissue repair and growth.

He said selenium was regarded as playing a critical role in maintaining muscle integrity and cell membrane integrity, as well as supporting immune function. Improving red blood cell counts could result in greater stamina and delay lactic acid build up.

Neely said expressions of interest in the products had already come from 10 countries and pre licencing discussions were under way for global distribution in 2013.




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