Theriogenology2005; 63(5); 1519-1527; doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2004.07.010

Effect of feeding a DHA-enriched nutriceutical on the quality of fresh, cooled and frozen stallion semen.

Abstract: Eight stallions were used in 2 x 2 crossover study to determine if feeding a nutriceutical rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) would improve semen quality. Stallions were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups (n = 4 per group). Stallions were fed their normal diet (control) or their normal diet top-dressed with 250 g of a DHA-enriched nutriceutical. Feeding trials lasted for 14 week, after which a 14-week washout period was allowed and the treatment groups were reversed for another 14 week feeding trial. Feeding the nutriceutical resulted in a three-fold increase in semen DHA levels and 50% increase in the ratio of DHA to DPA in semen. Sperm motion characteristics in fresh semen were unaffected by treatment. After 24 h of cooled semen storage in an Equitainer, total and progressive motility did not differ between treatment groups, but sperm from stallions fed the nutriceutical exhibited higher velocity and straighter projectory (P < 0.05). After 48 h of cooled storage, increases in the percentages of sperm exhibiting total motility (P = 0.07), progressive motility (P = 0.06) and rapid motility (P = 0.04), were observed when stallions were being fed the nutriceutical. For a subset of four stallions, whose progressive sperm motility was <40% after 24 h of cooled storage when fed the control diet, feeding the nutriceutical resulted in improvements in mean progressive motility of sperm after 24 h (P = 0.10) and 48 h (P = 0.03) of storage. Feeding the nutriceutical resulted in similar improvements in motion characteristics being observed in frozen-thawed semen. While it appears that feeding the nutriceutical may improve the motion characteristics of cool-stored stallion semen, it may be most beneficial for stallions of marginal fertility whose sperm do not tolerate the rigors of cooling and storage. The nutriceutical also appeared to improve the freezability of semen. More dramatic improvements in semen quality may be observed if modifications in the main fat content of the diet are incorporated with the DHA supplement.
Publication Date: 2005-02-24 PubMed ID: 15725455DOI: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2004.07.010Google Scholar: Lookup
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  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial


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The research study investigates the impact of DHA-rich nutriceutical diet on the quality of fresh, cooled, and frozen stallion semen. The findings suggest that the nutriceutical may improve the motion characteristics of stored stallion semen and is especially beneficial for stallions of marginal fertility.

Research Methodology

  • The study involved a 2 x 2 crossover design where eight stallions were divided into two treatment groups with 4 stallions each.
  • Each group was fed a specific diet. One was given a regular diet (control group) while the other was given a DHA-enriched nutriceutical along with their regular diet.
  • The diet plans were carried out over a 14-week feeding trial period, followed by a 14-week washout period, after which the treatment groups were switched and the trials conducted again.

Findings of the Study

  • The diet supplemented with the DHA-enriched nutriceutical led to a three-fold increase in semen DHA levels and a 50% increase in the ratio of DHA to DPA level in semen.
  • While no differences were observed in sperm motion characteristics in fresh semen, the researchers found improvements in the velocity and trajectory of sperm from stallions fed the nutriceutical after 24 hours of cool storage.
  • After 48 hours of storage, the semen samples showed increases in total, progressive, and rapid motility in the group fed nutriceutical.
  • For a specific subset of stallions with progressive sperm motility of less than 40% after 24 hours of storage on a controlled diet, the DHA nutriceutical led to significant improvements in sperm motility.

Conclusions and Implications

  • The study concludes that feeding stallions with a DHA-enriched nutriceutical could potentially improve the motion characteristics of cooled and stored semen.
  • This could be particularly beneficial for stallions with marginal fertility rates, whose sperm quality drops significantly during the process of cooling and storage.
  • Further improvements could potentially be achieved by modifying the main fat content of the diet, along with Nutriceutical supplementation.
  • The nutriceutical seemed to improve not only the quality of sperm but also its freezability, thus indicating potential benefits in cryopreservation techniques.

Cite This Article

Brinsko SP, Varner DD, Love CC, Blanchard TL, Day BC, Wilson ME. (2005). Effect of feeding a DHA-enriched nutriceutical on the quality of fresh, cooled and frozen stallion semen. Theriogenology, 63(5), 1519-1527.


ISSN: 0093-691X
NlmUniqueID: 0421510
Country: United States
Language: English
Volume: 63
Issue: 5
Pages: 1519-1527

Researcher Affiliations

Brinsko, Steven P
  • Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475, USA.
Varner, Dickson D
    Love, Charles C
      Blanchard, Terry L
        Day, Brian C
          Wilson, Mark E

            MeSH Terms

            • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
            • Animals
            • Cold Temperature
            • Cryopreservation / veterinary
            • Diet
            • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage
            • Docosahexaenoic Acids / analysis
            • Food, Fortified
            • Horses
            • Male
            • Semen / chemistry
            • Semen / physiology
            • Semen Preservation / methods
            • Semen Preservation / veterinary
            • Sperm Motility


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