Effect of a Nutritional Supplement Containing DMG on the Racing Standardbred | Equine Clinical Research

Reprinted with permission of publisher

Effect of a Nutritional Supplement Containing N,N-Dimethylglycine (DMG)
on the Racing Standardbred

Steve B. Levine, D.V.M.; Grant D. Myhre, D.V.M.; Guy L. Smith, D.V.M.; James G. Burns, D.V.M.
Rochester Equine Clinic, P.O. Box 2113, Ten Rod Road, Rochester, New Hampshire 03867
Hollis Erb, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Department of Preventive Medicine, N.Y. State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853

The effects of including a nutritional supplement containing N,N-Dimethylglycine (DMG), Spur-15 (Spur-DMG) in the diet of 10 racing Standardbreds are discussed. Results of this study indicate that Spur-15 is responsible for a lower blood lactic acid level following training. Horses were found to be more "aggressive", to have better appetites and attitudes and to recover faster from racing and training than the control group studied. Tables are included.


A project was carried out to observe the effects of a nutritional supplement containing N,N-Dimethylglycine (DMG), (Spur-15 : United States Animal Laboratories, marketed as Spur-DMG) on certain blood parameters and performances of the racing Standardbred. Previous research has shown that DMG can increase oxygen utilization and thereby decrease lactic acid levels in animals under extreme stress.1 Using human subjects, research conducted at the Institute of Human Fitness in Escondido, California revealed a 27.6% increase in exhaustion time in trained athletes in treadmill tests, when compared with a placebo.2 DMG has further been shown to enhance the body's immune response, both by increasing antibody production and lymphocyte generation.3 Our experiment was designed to view the effects of this supplement on certain objective and subjective parameters in the Standardbred race horse.

Materials and Methods

Twenty racing Standardbreds, aged 3 to 8 years (7 stallions, 8 geldings, 5 mares), were used in this project. They were randomly divided into a control group and an equal group to receive the Spur-15. Blood samples were drawn on all horses the morning that supplementation was to begin. The test group then began to receive the Spur-15 twice daily in the normal grain ration. Rations were identical except for the Spur-15. Blood tests were taken on all horses the following day, after a training session. Two weeks later blood samples were again taken on the group receiving Spur-15. The next day these horses were again tested following training. On Day 34 of the protocol all horses were again tested and then tested the following morning after training. The horses in the experimental group received 1.5 packets of Spur-15 twice daily in their grain throughout the project. All the horses were raced and trained normally through this experiment. Complete blood counts were done on all blood samples, as well as creatinine phosphokinase, lactic acid, calcium, cholesterol, glucose, BUN, uric acid, creatinine, total bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, LDH and SGOT. At the end of the protocol, the trainers were asked for subjective evaluations of their horses condition in terms of racing fitness, attitude, general health and recovery from illness or injury.


Lactic acid levels were of greatest interest in this project. As earlier stated, DMG has been shown experimentally to reduce lactic acid levels in animals and man under stress. Inspection of all data revealed no significant differences between control and treatment horses except for lactic acid levels. Results of lactic acid determinations following training (i.e., Day 2 and 35) were significantly lower (P > 0.022 and 0.062 respectively) in the treatment groups than in the controls (Table 1).

Results of Lactic Acid Determinations (Meq/l)

Day Treatment Control
1 0.27" 0.14 0.33" 0.09
2 0.45" 0.18 3.51" 4.23
15 0.53" 0.16
16 0.68" 0.17
34 0.45" 0.16 0.36" 0.12
35 0.52" 0.23 2.64" 2.88


Spur-15 is a nutritional supplement comprised of an equimolar mixture of N,N-Dimethylglycine (DMG) and calcium gluconate, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, iron-proteinate, copper gluconate and manganese ascorbate in an alfalfa base. The concentration of each ingredient per package is shown in Table 2.

Table 2
Spur-15 (Spur-DMG) Packet Contents
N,N-Dimethylglycine 400 mg
Calcium Gluconate 600 mg
Vitamin A (Fish Liver Oil) 25,000 IU
Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopherol Succinate) 500 IU
Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 250 IU
Iron (Proteinate) 5 mg
Copper (Gluconate) 1.5 mg
Manganese (Ascorbate) 5 mg

DMG is an accessory food factor now generally known as a biologically active non-fuel nutrient. There are two groups of these nonfuel nutrients; vitamins and metabolic enhancers, of which DMG is a member. This group contains intermediary metabolites of endogenous origin. They are synthesized in vivo and appear to be necessary to maintain the organism's optimum performance or "health." Included in this group of metabolic enhancers are:

  • intermediary nitrogen containing metabolites (ie., DMG, choline, glycine and adenosine),
  • sterols,
  • intermediary metabolites of carbohydrate origin,
  • proteins and peptides.

The identification of DMG is recent (1977) and many mammalian enzyme systems have already been shown to utilize or produce it. The metabolic role of DMG in these reactions is as a supplier of one-carbon units.

The results of this trial indicate that Spur-15, included in the diet of the racing Standardbred, is responsible for a lower blood lactic acid level following training. On a subjective level these horses were found by their trainers to be more"aggressive", to have better appetites and attitudes and to recover faster from racing and training than the controls.


1. Meduski JW, Meduski JD, Hymen S, Kily A, Kim S, Thein A, Yoshimoto R: Decrease of Lactic Acid Concentration in Blood of Animals Given N,N-Dimethylglycine. Presented at 1980 Pacific Slope Biochemical Conference. July 7-9, 1980. University of California, San Diego.
2. Barnes L.: B15: The Politics of ergogenicity. The Physician and Sports Medicine 7(11). Nov. 1979.
3. Graber CD, Goust JM, Glassman AD, Kendsll R, Woodholl CB: Immunomodulaling Properties of Dimethylglycine in Humans. The Journal of Infectious Diseases 143(1), Jan. 1981.