Omegas and Gastric Health

Omegas and Gastric Health

Omegas and Gastric Health

Long-chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA) Supplementation Increases Levels in Red Blood Cells and Reduces the Prevalence and Severity of Squamous Gastric Ulcers in Exercised Thoroughbreds

Pagan, J.D., A.A. Hauss, E.C. Pagan, J.L. Simmons, and B.M. Waldridge. 2022.  Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. In press.


Hugely exciting new research has been published by Kentucky Equine Research to show that supplementation with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs (including the Omega 3’s EPA and DHA) increases levels in red blood cells and reduces the prevalence and severity of squamous gastric ulcers in exercised thoroughbreds.


In brief, thirteen fit thoroughbred racehorses in training were used. They were evaluated by gastroscopy for squamous ulcer score, gastric PH, and blood fatty acid composition prior to and after 3 months of supplementation.

The horses were supplemented with a corn/flaxseed oil blend of short chain polyunsaturated fatty acids ALA and LA or a fish oil blend of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids GLA, DGLA, AA, EPA and DHA.

Those that received the long chain PUFAs showed increased red blood cell levels of GLA, DGLA, AA, EPA and DHA and reduced severe ulcer prevalence.

Short chain PUFA supplementation did not show raises in red blood cell levels and severe ulcer incidence was not different.

To summarise, this study shows that supplementation with the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids was positively associated with prevention or resolution of severe squamous gastric ulceration, unlike supplementation with just short chain polyunsaturated fats.

This is a very exciting new research project as Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome is prevalent in performance horses and racehorses and is a concern for owners, riders and trainers.

To read all about the study click below:-