Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Committee Chair

Holly S. Spooner.


Resveratrol, a naturally occurring phytocompound is known to exert numerous health benefits including improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, along with decreased tissue damage due to reactive oxygen species (ROS). This compound is incorporated in a multitude of supplements targeted to performance horses, yet no research in an athletic equine model has been completed to date. Therefore, this study was performed to test the hypothesis that resveratrol supplementation would improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, while reducing oxidant damage in an exercising model. Six, healthy, fit aged (10.5+/-1.5yr, ~500kg) Quarter Horse geldings were assigned to three treatment groups in a Latin Square random crossover design with one week between crossovers. Horses either received no supplementation (control, C) or one of two treatments (T); low dose (L, 2.5g of trans-resveratrol) and high dose (H, 5g of trans-resveratrol) administered on a daily basis for 14 days. Body weights (BW), blood samples, and muscle biopsies were collected on day 0 and day 14 of each supplementation period. All horses were moderately exercised 3 times a week for 60 minutes with an average heart rate of 90 bpm. A frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIGT) was conducted on day 10 of supplementation during each treatment period. Feed intake data was collected daily. Samples from day 0 and 14 were analyzed for thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), while FSIGT samples were analyzed for plasma insulin and glucose. The null hypothesis was rejected when P<0.05, and trends were identified when P < 0.10. Minimal model analysis of FSIGT, along with evaluation of baseline inulin and glucose concentrations, and area under the glucose and insulin curve showed no effect of resveratrol supplementation (P > 0.05). Plasma TBARS was unaffected by resveratrol supplementation (P > 0.05) within this model. Body weight did not change due to T, yet contrast between C and T displayed trends toward increased feed intake as % BW of both hay and concentrate (P < 0.10). In conclusion, resveratrol supplementation in the moderately exercised horse does not improve insulin sensitivity or glucose tolerance, or overall lipid peroxidation. Increased feed intake displayed by T over C may have a potential application for a high performance animal. These observations display a need to further evaluate the effects of resveratrol in other equine models, and a more in depth assessment of resveratrol within the athletic horse.