The Effect of Nutrition on Reproduction & Fertility

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in fertility and reproduction, impacting both mares and stallions. In addition to a well-balanced diet, supplementation with specific nutrients can improve fertility, reproductive success and pregnancy outcomes.

Nutritional Solutions to Support Your Patients

See our recommended Platinum Protocols for common equine conditions and injuries.

Condition Products Protocol
Fertility - Mares
  • Platinum Performance® Equine
Administer 1-2 scoops of Platinum Performance® Equine BID.
Fertility - Stallion
(Poor Semen Quality)
  • Platinum Performance® Equine
  • Platinum Potency®
Administer 1-3 scoops of Platinum Performance® Equine BID or TID during breeding season. Administer 2 level scoops or 1 full syringe of Platinum Potency® BID.
Fertility - Stallion
(Poor Sperm Motility)
  • Platinum Performance® Equine
  • Platinum Motility Plus®
Administer 1-3 scoops of Platinum Performance® Equine BID or TID during breeding season and 1 rounded scoop of Platinum Motility Plus® BID.

SID = 1 time daily, BID = 2 times daily, TID = 3 times daily.​

The Science Explained

The Effect of Vitamin E on NAD and EDM

The Effect of Nutrition on Equine Fertility and Reproductive Health

The Role of Supplementation in Reproductive Health

Supplementing the Mare for Better Fertility

The Benefit of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Mare Fertility

  • Omega-3 fatty acids can have a significant effect on mare fertility, impacting both the mare's ability to conceive and the health of the foal.
  • Ovulation is increased in rats consuming a high omega-3 fatty acid diet but is decreased when the diet contains an excess of omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Increased concentrations of markers associated with chronic inflammation are purported to be predictors of female infertility and spontaneous loss of pregnancy.

The Role of Antioxidants in Mare Fertility

  • Oxidative damage could play a role in low fertility rates due to excessive production of free radicals and/or insufficient defenses against oxidative stress.
  • There is increasing evidence for connections between oxidative stress, low oocyte quality and poor fertility rates.
  • Women with unexplained infertility have higher levels of reactive oxygen species in peritoneal fluid, which bathes the uterus, fallopian tubes and the ovaries, as compared to fertile women.
  • Studies have documented significantly lower concentrations of both enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants in follicular fluid of cigarette smokers when compared with women who do not smoke and that these reduced concentrations of antioxidants often coincide with poor fertilization success rates
  • Dietary supplementation of mice with the antioxidants, vitamins C and E, resulted in improvements in both the quantity and quality of retrieved oocytes when compared to those of unsupplemented older mice.

Supplementing the Stallion for Improved Semen Quality and Motility

The quality of a stallion's semen plays a major role in fertility and reproduction, and depends on the dietary intake and incorporation of key nutrients:

The Benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

Helps increase membrane fluidity, which is believed to aid in motility and fusion, and helps maintain membrane integrity and protect against cellular damage initiated by stresses such as cooling or cryopreservation.

The Role of Antioxidants

  • Although required for fertilization, excess free radicals can induce oxidative damage to lipid membranes and DNA and have a negative impact on fertility.
  • It has been suggested that dietary intake of antioxidants and their incorporation into the lipid membrane provides better protection against oxidative damage than the addition of antioxidants directly to semen.

The Effect of Carnitine on Stallion Fertility

Carnitine is critical for fertility, as it controls many sperm metabolic functions such as maturation and energy metabolism. Carnitine intake has been linked to improved sperm quality, and supplementation of carnitine to stallions with suboptimal fertility characteristics can result in an increase in progressive motility and morphologically normal sperm.

The Science Behind the Supplements

In a study performed by researchers at Texas A&M University, semen quality was evaluated in 8 stallions receiving a DHA-enriched supplement for 14 weeks.

  • At the end of the study, it was determined that DHA supplementation protected against some of the damaging effects generally seen with cooling or freezing.
  • The authors suggested that even greater benefits may have been detected had the background diet been more flax-based with a better omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid profile.

Researchers at Colorado State University's Equine Reproduction Lab studied mares, ranging from 6 to 25 years old (average = 20 yrs), most of which with histories of suboptimal fertility.

  • At the start of the study, the mares consumed a hay diet supplemented with a commercial complete feed. Eggs were harvested from the mares and implanted into recipient mares, either as fertilized eggs (embryos) after assisted fertilization in vitro or as unfertilized eggs, after which the recipient mare was inseminated. Pregnancy rates were approximately 23% per transfer.
  • Mares were then fed a mostly hay diet supplemented* for 8 to 16 weeks. Eggs were once again harvested from supplemented mares and transferred to recipient mares. This time the pregnancy rates in the recipient mares significantly increased to 51%, which was a 129% increase.
  • Among supplemented mares, circulating concentrations of blood protein carbonyls - a measure of oxidized systemic proteins - decreased significantly, suggesting that an improvement in the balance between the production and elimination of free radicals occurred. This improved oxidative state may have contributed to healthier eggs with a greater likelihood of successful fertilization and development.

*Platinum Performance® Equine formula

White Papers

Feeding the Mare for Fertility and Reproduction

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Feeding the Stallion for Fertility and Reproduction

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