Acta veterinaria Scandinavica2008; 50(1); 45; doi: 10.1186/1751-0147-50-45

The effect of methyl sulphonyl methane supplementation on biomarkers of oxidative stress in sport horses following jumping exercise.

Abstract: Exercise induces changes in several organs and tissues, and this process might be due to oxidative damage caused by free radicals and inflammatory mediators. Methyl Sulphonyl Methane, better known as MSM, is a naturally occurring sulphur compound with well-known antioxidant properties. On the other hand, Vitamin C is important in limiting free radical damage in the aqueous phase of the cell, and cellular vitamin C status may be linked to the mechanisms involved in quenching cellular reactive oxygen species. The aim of this study was to determine if supplementation with MSM and vitamin C could alleviate exercise-induced oxidative stress in horses undergoing jumping competition. Methods: Twenty four jumping horses involved in competition were used. Horses were given the following three treatment diets: control (without supplementation), MSM 8 mg/kg, and combined supplements (MSM 8 mg/kg + Vit-C 5 mg/kg). EDTA blood samples were collected before exercise, upon arrived to the schooling area (control), and each week after last show. Nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, lipid hydroperoxides and the antioxidant enzymes, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione transferase and glutathione reductase, plasma levels were determined. Results: Competition induced a significant increase in lipid peroxidation, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. By contrary, reduced glutathione as well as antioxidant enzyme activities, were decreased. MSM administration significantly ameliorated all these exercise-related changes, and this effect was potentiated by Vit C reaching values in some of the parameters similar to those found before competition. Conclusions: These results suggest that jumping exercise could induce harmful effects on horses, probably due to an increase in oxidative damage and proinflammatory molecules. In addition, we have demonstrated that MSM could exert some protective effect on oxidative and inflammatory exercise-induced injury.
Publication Date: 2008-11-07 PubMed ID: 18992134PubMed Central: PMC2586020DOI: 10.1186/1751-0147-50-45Google Scholar: Lookup
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  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial


This research summary has been generated with artificial intelligence and may contain errors and omissions. Refer to the original study to confirm details provided. Submit correction.

This study investigates how Methyl Sulphonyl Methane (MSM) and vitamin C supplements could reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress in competitive jumping horses. The findings suggest that these supplements are beneficial in minimizing the harmful effects of oxidative damage and pro-inflammatory molecules which result from strenuous exercise.

Design and Methodology

The research involved 24 jumping horses and was organized to measure the levels of oxidative stress in their bodies. Oxidative stress often follows rigorous physical activities, resulting from multiplication of free radicals and harmful inflammatory conditions. The horses were provided with three different dietary treatments:

  • A control diet without any supplementation
  • A diet supplemented with 8 mg/kg MSM
  • A diet supplemented with both MSM (8 mg/kg) and Vitamin C (5 mg/kg)

Blood samples from the horses were taken at different points: before exercise, upon arrival at the competition area, and each week after the last show. These samples were then tested for nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, lipid hydroperoxides, and antioxidant enzymes including glutathione peroxidase, glutathione transferase, and glutathione reductase.


The results showed that intensive exercise from competition led to a significant increase in lipid peroxidation, nitric oxide, and carbon monoxide in the horses. Conversely, the amounts of reduced glutathione and antioxidant enzyme activity were reduced. However, administration of MSM significantly improved all these changes induced by exercise. This effect was even stronger when MSM was combined with vitamin C, leading to values in some of the parameters comparable to those found before the competition.


The study concludes that strenuous jumping exercise may have negative effects on horses due to an increase in oxidative damage and pro-inflammatory molecules. This potentially harmful impact can be mitigated by the administration of MSM and vitamin C, with MSM demonstrating protective benefits against oxidative and inflammatory injuries caused by exercise. This research suggests that supplementing horses’ diets with MSM and vitamin C could help preserve their optimal health during and after their participation in physically demanding activities like jumping competitions.

Cite This Article

Marau00f1u00f3n G, Muu00f1oz-Escassi B, Manley W, Garcu00eda C, Cayado P, de la Muela MS, Olu00e1barri B, Leu00f3n R, Vara E. (2008). The effect of methyl sulphonyl methane supplementation on biomarkers of oxidative stress in sport horses following jumping exercise. Acta Vet Scand, 50(1), 45.


ISSN: 1751-0147
NlmUniqueID: 0370400
Country: England
Language: English
Volume: 50
Issue: 1
Pages: 45

Researcher Affiliations

Marau00f1u00f3n, Gonzalo
  • Horsepital SL, Madrid, Spain.
Muu00f1oz-Escassi, Bu00e1rbara
    Manley, William
      Garcu00eda, Cruz
        Cayado, Patricia
          de la Muela, Mercedes Su00e1nchez
            Olu00e1barri, Begou00f1a
              Leu00f3n, Rosa
                Vara, Elena

                  MeSH Terms

                  • Animals
                  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
                  • Dietary Supplements
                  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology
                  • Female
                  • Horses / blood
                  • Horses / physiology
                  • Male
                  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
                  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology
                  • Sulfones / pharmacology


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