Genetic research prompts launch of CoQ10 nutrigenomic supplement for distance horses

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British bred racehorse Enable. [file image] © Racingfotos.com
The first nutrigenomic supplement for horses containing the compound Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has been formulated by an Irish company.

Nutrigenomics is a branch of nutritional genomics, and is the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression.

Irish equine science company Plusvital launched EnerGene-Q10 this week. It follows the publication of research showing that the genetic background of a horse has a significant influence on the production of CoQ10 in horse muscle cells.

The research revealed that Thoroughbred horses that are T:T (stayers, suited to exercise requiring stamina) genetic types, as identified by the Plusvital Speed Gene Test, produced significantly lower cellular levels of CoQ10 than the other (C:C and C:T) genetic types, but that these levels can be restored with supplementation. C:C genotype are sprinters, while C:T are suited to exercise requiring speed and stamina.

CoQ10 is a key nutrient required for the generation of energy in the mitochondria of the muscle that is particularly important for sustained exercise. Increased levels of CoQ10 may result in more efficient energy production, delayed onset of fatigue during exercise, an improved response to exercise training and enhanced recovery following intense exercise.

Pictured at the launch for EnerGene-Q10, from left, Plusvital sales director Ciara Watt; UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science and Plusvital CSO Professor Emmeline Hill; and thoroughbred trainer Henry de Bromhead, with Poker Party.
Pictured at the launch for EnerGene-Q10, from left, Plusvital sales director Ciara Watt; UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science and Plusvital CSO Professor Emmeline Hill; and thoroughbred trainer Henry de Bromhead, with Poker Party. © Tadhg Ryan

In follow-up field trials, the scientists at University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin found that CoQ10 concentration in the muscle increased by 40% following nine weeks of oral supplementation. The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Collaborating scientist Professor Richard Porter, School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin said: “Mitochondrial function is clearly an important variable in equine performance. Our research has shown that efficiency in mitochondrial function has a genetic basis in the horse and that this information can now be applied in practice.”

Nutrigenomics combines the studies of nutrition and genomics to investigate a horse’s nutritional requirements based on their genetic make-up. This follows the increasingly common view that a “one size fits all” nutritional approach may not yield the best outcome and that each horse often has a slightly different nutrient requirement regardless of similarities between breed, training regime, age, and other factors.

Ireland’s multiple Grade One-winning racehorse trainer, Henry de Bromhead said:“CoQ10 is of growing interest as a supplement in human health and we look forward to seeing the fruits of Plusvital’s research particularly in our T:T horses.”

EnerGene-Q10 is available at Holmestead Saddlery, Ireland, and Farm and Stable, UK and will be soon available through Plusvital’s global distribution network.

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