The body’s circulation system is responsible for sending blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Increased blood flow is a significant benefit that allows the vascular highways to deliver oxygen and nutrients more efficiently, helping to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. When blood flow is reduced, the body’s ability to heal and repair is diminished.
Benefits of increased circulation:
- improved oxygenation of the tissues
- removal of toxins and metabolic waste
- enhanced healing process
- reduced inflammation and oxidative stress
- can help older horses move with less stiffness particularly in cold weather
- helps horses with osteoarthritis (OA) move more comfortably
The role of nitric oxide
Nitric oxide is a key signaling molecule in the body, and a powerful vasodilator—a substance that widens blood vessels. The endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels, uses nitric oxide to signal the surrounding smooth muscles to relax, thus resulting in increased blood flow. The amino acid arginine is a substrate for nitric oxide production. Specific foods such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, oranges, and nutritional yeast provide high amounts of arginine for nitric oxide production.
Recent research: Indian gooseberry and circulation
One of the widely used in plants in Ayurvedic medicine is amla, also known as Indian gooseberry. It has been used on animals and humans for thousands of year. Eight recently published studies on a specific, patented extract from Indian gooseberry called Capros® have demonstrated this plant’s remarkable ability to increase nitric oxide production by 54%, and increase the super-antioxidant glutathione by 50%. Glutathione is known as the “mother of all antioxidants.” It supports the regulation of cell growth and division, protects DNA from oxidative stress, helps with amino acid transport in and out of the cell, and supports the humoral immune function.
Glutathione is also important in the production of ATP. Lower amounts of glutathione in the cells can slow down ATP production, resulting in fatigue. Furthermore, the recovery phase of training requires glutathione to mop up the free radicals (oxidation). The free radicals can create inflammation unless regulated by potent antioxidants such as glutathione.
Vascular dysfunction in metabolic horses
Research has also shown that Capros® reduced levels of inflammatory biomarkers, and improved endothelial function. This is important because a study published September 29, 2016 (“Vascular Dysfunction in Horses with Endocrinopathic Laminitis”) showed that endothelial dysfunction associated with hormonal conditions such as metabolic syndrome or Cushing’s disease affects the laminar vessels and facial skin arteries of the horse. By improving endothelial function with relaxation via nitric oxide, there is increased blood flow and circulation.
When horses exercise, nitric oxide is released, which increases blood flow to the heart, lungs, skeletal muscles and nervous system. Nitric oxide is a short lived molecule, so the longer it circulates the greater the benefits it provides.
Supplementing horses with foods and plants that increase nitric oxide can improve daily training and performance by reducing muscle fatigue, removing lactic acid, increasing oxygenation of muscles, and delivering more nutrients to the cells. Because nitric oxide plays an important role in healing via increased circulation, repair of muscles and connective tissues can be enhanced.
Nitric oxide can modulate the release of various inflammatory mediators: leukocytes, macrophages, mast cells, endothelial cells and platelets. In relaxing the blood vessels, more nutrients are delivered to the area of the body that needs them. This is especially important for ligament and tendon injuries, muscle and joint injuries and support.
Hoof and heart
As the heart beats, blood is sent throughout the body. The heart is the key organ of the circulatory system. The feet are also responsible for pumping blood up and back to the heart. Inflammation in the foot, will reduce the amount of circulation returning to the rest of the body and the heart.
Nitric oxide helps recirculation by relaxing the smooth muscles, allowing for more blood flow. This is especially important to maintain healthy feet, and to help with foot issues such as navicular syndrome, bursa inflammation, bruising and laminitis.
Increasing circulation in the body is beneficial for joints, particularly those affected by osteoarthritis. When nitric oxide levels are increased in the body, this helps to remove damaging waste products and reduce inflammation, while also supporting muscles and connective tissues.
Older horses in wintertime can benefit from supplementation that supports circulation, as often these horses aren’t moving around as much as in the summer. They can also benefit from the warming aspects of increased circulation, keeping them more comfortable and supple.
The ideal whole food circulation supplement
BioStar is the first equine supplement company to incorporate the nitric oxide enhancing extract Capros® in a formula called Circuvate EQ. Blended with other nitric oxide supporting ingredients like pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, along with organic orange and ginger, this supplement an important component in maintaining better blood flow and healthy, sound horses.