by Hana Dockalova, Daria Baholet, Andrej Batik, Ladislav Zeman, Pavel Horky
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) provides several possible benefits for horses, namely anti–inflammatory, antioxidant effects, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective effects. Silybin exerts also pronounced effects on energy metabolism, that could be useful for sport horses. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of milk thistle seed cakes (in the form of a granulated mixture with barley) on blood biochemical parameters (total protein, albumin, bilirubin, urea, creatinine, ALT, AST, ALP, GGT, LDH, the total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, TAG, BHB, NEFA, creatine kinase, lactate, glucose, glutathione peroxidase, total antioxidant capacity, cortisol, calcium, and phosphorus) to monitor the differences between the experimental (milk thistle in feed) and control horses after exposure of the monitored horses to heavy physical exercise (combined driving) total number of horses was 12 Czech Warmblood breed horses. The digestibility of silymarin (and its individual flavonolignans) and basic nutrients are also monitored in this study. Statistically significant differences (P < .05) were found mainly in plasma cortisol and NEFA levels. The results of this study confirmed the results of our previous studies. These results suggest that the feeding of milk thistle seed cakes has a possible positive effect on horse health and energy metabolism.