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Equine Vet J. 2010 Apr;42(3):274-81. doi: 10.2746/042516409X479603.

Nutritional aspects of post exercise skeletal muscle glycogen synthesis in horses: a comparative review.

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Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada.


Carbohydrate (CHO) stored in the form of skeletal muscle glycogen is the main energy source for glycolytic and oxidative ATP production during vigorous exercise in mammals. In man, horse and dog both short-term high intensity and prolonged submaximal exercise deplete muscle glycogen. In horses, however, muscle glycogen synthesis is 2-3-fold slower than in man and rat, even when a diet high in soluble CHO is fed. There appear to be significant differences in CHO and glycogen metabolism between horses and other mammals, and it is becoming increasingly clear that many conclusions drawn from human exercise physiology do not apply to horses. This review aims to provide a comprehensive, comparative summary of the research on muscle glycogen synthesis in horse, man and rodent. Species differences in CHO uptake and utilisation are examined and the issues with feeding high soluble CHO diets to horses are discussed. Alternative feeding strategies, including protein and long and short chain fatty acid supplementation and the importance of rehydration, are explored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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