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View Full Version : Carolina Gold now a banned substance



Janet
Feb. 22, 2012, 05:22 PM
email from USEF


Important Information Regarding the Use of the Prohibited Substance GABA – Ingredient in Commercial Product “Carolina Gold”

From the USEF Communications Department
Lexington, KY - Tasked with protecting the welfare of equine athletes and ensuring the balance of competition, the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program consistently monitors new products and product claims. From time-to-time products appear on the equine supplement market making claims of their effects on the performance of horses in competition.

Recently, reports of the use of a product called "Carolina Gold" have been brought to the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program. One of the principal constituents of this product is gama aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

While initially not considered a forbidden substance, the use of GABA as a "calming supplement" does violate the spirit and intent of the Equine Drugs and Medications Rule. During recent research and administration trials involving "Carolina Gold," many adverse reactions were documented. The nature of these reactions has prompted immediate action from the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program.

Effective immediately, "Carolina Gold" or any other product containing GABA is considered a forbidden substance under USEF rules. Further, because there are no recognized medical uses for this substance, the use of a Medication Report Form to report its administration is not applicable.

The detection of GABA is being actively pursued by the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program and will be implemented without delay or notice. No further announcements will be forthcoming regarding the use of “Carolina Gold” or GABA. All positive findings will be forwarded to the USEF Hearing Committee. Trainers and veterinarians involved in the sale or use of this substance may be subject to fines and/or suspensions.


The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation® is to provide leadership
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the pursuit
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.

sarcam02
Feb. 22, 2012, 05:40 PM
YAY! Go USEF

fxhillfarm
Feb. 22, 2012, 05:42 PM
What medications have Carolina Gold in them??

joiedevie99
Feb. 22, 2012, 05:43 PM
Wedgewood compounds it: http://www.wedgewoodpetrx.com/items/carolina-gold-injection-solution.html

fxhillfarm
Feb. 22, 2012, 05:57 PM
That is the only thing I could find when I googled it. Just making sure it's not hiding in a supplement somewhere. Thanks!

Janet
Feb. 22, 2012, 06:20 PM
What medications have Carolina Gold in them??
Carolina Gold is the NAME it is sold under, apparently as an injectable..

The specific banned ingredient is GABA - gama aminobutyric acid .

ACP
Feb. 22, 2012, 07:24 PM
Got the email too, had never heard of the stuff. What is GABA supposed to do?

Lieslot
Feb. 22, 2012, 07:42 PM
I was always in the understanding GABA was yet again another one of those supplements with no proof behind it (that it actually reaches the brain) and that it did very little in a sense of calming a horse.
Is it different or more effective as an injectable in that case? Those in the knowing?

You have it in powdered formulation too, here's an example.
http://www.depaoloequineconcepts.com/product/tranquility.aspx


What is GABA supposed to do?
http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/what-does-gaba-do-in-the-brain-558386.html

ACP
Feb. 22, 2012, 07:47 PM
An "inhibitory neurotransmitter" does what? Calm a horse? I would assume that is the reason it is banned.

The USEF's position on stuff like that is: [1] you can't use any calming agent, if it works and/or masks something; and [2] you can't use any agent, EVEN IF IT DOESN'T DO A THING, if you think it does something.

Laurierace
Feb. 22, 2012, 07:51 PM
I actually had really good results with it on race horses. I was under the impression that it was just tryptophan.

Lieslot
Feb. 22, 2012, 07:53 PM
Isn't Passionflower thought to raise GABA levels in the brain?

S A McKee
Feb. 22, 2012, 08:03 PM
This thread is so like 20 minutes ago LMAO

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=335519&page=3

Here is the original thread where Janet argued about 'intent'

Kestrel
Feb. 22, 2012, 11:49 PM
All of my information is human-based, and I don't know if equine physiology differs.

GABA is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that inhibits nerve impulses. It is secreted by neurons. It affects muscle tone as well as other enzymatic processes in the body. In humans it is thought to not be able to cross the blood-brain barrier, but it does affect other systems. It is sold as a calming agent, but in humans, those claims have not been substantiated. It is given with care to human patients.

JackieBlue
Feb. 23, 2012, 01:35 PM
That is the only thing I could find when I googled it. Just making sure it's not hiding in a supplement somewhere. Thanks!

Amino acids (and neurotransmitters) won't survive the acidity of the stomach. The main function of the digestive system is to degrade nutrients, which include amino acids, into usable energy and metabolic precursors. IOW, if GABA is in an oral supplement (and it is sold in oral formulations) it won't BE GABA for very long. I'm not familiar with precursors and how GABA synthesis is regulated, so I don't know if feeding something particular can increase endogenous GABA, but common sense tells me that unless it's injected, it's not conserved.

JackieBlue
Feb. 23, 2012, 01:44 PM
An "inhibitory neurotransmitter" does what? Calm a horse? I would assume that is the reason it is banned.

The USEF's position on stuff like that is: [1] you can't use any calming agent, if it works and/or masks something; and [2] you can't use any agent, EVEN IF IT DOESN'T DO A THING, if you think it does something.


Yes, inhibitory neurotransmitters have a "calming effect", they block certain signals originating in the brain from getting to their intended target. This results in slowed reaction times, mood changes, relaxation, drowsiness, anxiety relief, etc... And it's all over Ocala and Wellington based on the number of clients asking us for scripts. Don't know about other areas.

Lieslot
Feb. 23, 2012, 01:45 PM
Is passionflower legal in that case?

Scientists believe passionflower works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA lowers the activity of some brain cells, making you feel more relaxed.

Read more: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/passionflower-000267.htm#ixzz1nES283xG

And how about L-theanine, a derivative of Green Tea (in supplements like the latest cosequin & recovery eq), isn't l-theanine supposed to be involved in the formation of GABA in the brain?
L-theanine is thought to pass the blood brain barrier better.
Again potentially an unsubstantiated claim, but if you ban one, then you need to ban the other one too.

Isn't glutamine (in ulcer sups) thought to increase GABA?
Is oral l-glutamine banned?

The glutamine cycle in the brain is simple and elegant. Glutamine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Neurons take up glutamine and convert it to glutamate or GABA (through the additional step of decarboxylating the glutamate).

Oral L-glutamine increases GABA levels in striatal tissue and extracellular fluid
http://www.fasebj.org/content/21/4/1227

Just wondering however, not a chemist, so not into the intricities of those substances.

Kestrel
Feb. 23, 2012, 03:35 PM
Carolina Gold is apparently also available in an injectable form, so no breakdown in the GI tract.

Kestrel
Feb. 23, 2012, 03:45 PM
I'm not sure what the benefit of injecting GABA would be, since it not supposed to cross the blood-brain barrier and it's actions are on neurons in the brain. It would be detectable in blood if injected, but not if you could give a precursor that increased GABA production in the brain. Anyone know how it functions in the peripheral nervous system vs the CNS?

Lieslot
Feb. 23, 2012, 04:09 PM
Do you mean uses as neuropathic pain relief?

No doesn't do much, gabapentin, structurally related but does not affect gaba, is used instead.
I have a horse on gabapentin, would have been nice if I could have used GABA instead.

GABA orally will not pass the blood brain barrier, but it's questionable if at larger doses IM or IV it may pass the BBB, that's how I understand it.

flyracing
Feb. 23, 2012, 04:10 PM
I'm curious to know what side effects they found in their "trials". I didn't even know USEF did safety tests on supplements.

I can't contribute to the discussion of GABA since I have never heard of it.

JackieBlue
Feb. 23, 2012, 04:37 PM
I'm not sure what the benefit of injecting GABA would be, since it not supposed to cross the blood-brain barrier and it's actions are on neurons in the brain. It would be detectable in blood if injected, but not if you could give a precursor that increased GABA production in the brain. Anyone know how it functions in the peripheral nervous system vs the CNS?

When injected it produces marked sedation. Perhaps you read that it's inert when administered orally?

fxhillfarm
Feb. 23, 2012, 08:08 PM
GABA is the brain's major inhibitory transmitter (naturally). There are drugs, which we refer to as GABA-mimetic in medicine, which do exactly like the name says, mimic the actions of natural GABA. These include drugs classified as Benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Ativan, and Versed. When given in appropriate doses to people they are used for sedation or to decrease anxiety. Hope this gives you an idea of what it will do it we give GABA to horses. As far as oral doses passing the BBB, it is my understanding that it depends on the pKa of the drug, so if a drug company can make a compound that is un-ionized, then it will be absorbed in the gut. Hope that helps.
-Kara

SnarkyRider
Feb. 23, 2012, 08:28 PM
Here's a good article on GABA - http://sidelinesnews.com/blogs/injectingperspective/uh-oh.html

Apparently even though it's now banned there's no way to accurately test for it...

kayfry
Feb. 24, 2012, 09:25 AM
If I'm not mistaken, GABA is also an ingredient in the oral product Pro Focus. Does anyone know if this is the case? If so, this and any other oral products containing GABA are now similarly banned by the USEF, in theory, though the same situation of not being able to test for it (yet) would apply. Just wondering. Also wondering if anyone with pharmaceutical knowledge can address the question of sedation of horses with this injectable form (Carolina Gold) vs. an oral product like Pro Focus.

fxhillfarm
Feb. 24, 2012, 10:54 AM
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053077009004054
The link above is a study that was published in 2010. Patients were given Oral GABA or a placebo after cardiac surgery. The patients who got the oral GABA were in significantly less pain and needed less morphine.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22203366
This study was done in 2011 and looked at the brain waves of humans who took oral GABA versus placebo and there was significantly decreased brain waves in people who took oral GABA.

There does not seem to be any good studies that show exactly how much GABA crosses the blood brain barrier, and it is mentioned that GABA is a large molecule so it has difficulty crossing, but there is recent research that shows it does have effects.

I suggest that you do not give anything that has GABA as an ingredient, whether it is oral or IV… especially when they figure out how to test for it.

JackieBlue
Feb. 24, 2012, 11:00 AM
There is no strong evidence supporting claims that GABA reaches the brain when given orally, but it is absolutely known to have sedative properties when administered by injection. A very simplified version of how GABA works in the brain:

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that it disrupts nerve impulses. This directly produces a calming effect. On a very basic level it can be seen as the body's natural chill pill, or organic valium, if you will.

Someone mentioned glutamate in this or the other thread as being related to GABA. Well, it is, and it's not. GABA is synthesized from glutamate, but they have opposite effects in the CNS. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter, kind of like our own natural cuppa' Joe.

So, lots of GABA in our neurons, along with hungry GABA receptors at the synapses results in calming in 2 ways - the GABA's direct calming influence and the blocking of glutamate's firing signals.

Neither GABA nor glutamate has been proven to do much of anything when administered orally and it's a stretch (to say the least) to assume that increased GI absorption of either compound will result in CNS changes. IOW, just as it's unlikely for fed GABA to sedate a horse, it's also highly unlikely that feeding glutamate will step up GABA production in the CNS.

We're discussing GABA as if it's the latest and greatest (okay, maybe not so great) new thing. But it's not. We've been mokeying around with GABA in our horses' brains for decades. Magnesium binds to GABA receptors and increases GABA's effects, Taurine protects against glutamate over stimulation (think of how you feel when you've had too much coffee - that's due in part to glutamate over stimulation and GABA deficiency), Serotonin, another neurotransmitter enhances GABA effects and tryptophan is a serotonin precursor. Vitamin B6 is a coenzyme involved in GABA synthesis and theanine, which is in all the new green tea supps., increases glutamate transport and GABA levels. Valerian increases the effect of GABA on its receptors and the entire benzodiazepine family of drugs acts on GABA receptors in one way or another, enhancing the inhibitory effects of GABA on neurons.

I'm sure it's just a matter of time until someone finds another way to influence neurotransmitter activities in the interest of "enhancing a horse's calm".

violethorse
Aug. 27, 2012, 05:45 PM
Waiting for the USEF to issue the penalties to those whose horses have tested positive for GABA....any day now. The August hearings should have taken place. The sooner the announcements are made public the better for the sport. Maybe an end to the sleepy hunters and a return to real horse training. There are lots of rumors about who, what, and when but an official ruling will go a long way to restoring some faith in the USEF for cleaning up the sport.

deltawave
Aug. 27, 2012, 06:55 PM
An "inhibitory neurotransmitter" does what? Calm a horse? I would assume that is the reason it is banned.

The USEF's position on stuff like that is: [1] you can't use any calming agent, if it works and/or masks something; and [2] you can't use any agent, EVEN IF IT DOESN'T DO A THING, if you think it does something.

It was banned because it violated the intent of the rules and adverse effects have been reported in animals undergoing testing of these products. It was not banned because it actually does anything, because ingesting GABA pretty much gets you a mess of semi-digested amino acids and bits of polysaccharide. :lol: Injecting it is another story, and bloody frightening, if you ask me. :eek:

The lengths people will go to to avoid choosing suitable horses and training them appropriately. :sigh:

But maybe if horses that showed some animation, liveliness, and initiative were pinned higher, the need for doped-up animals would disappear. That intervention would cost NOTHING! :lol:

pds
Jan. 10, 2013, 12:04 PM
Is this product listed on Gamboa's clinic website Carolina Gold just renamed?

EASY GOLD
http://drgamboavetsupplies.com/shop/article_21368/Easy-Gold-EG%2C-100-ml-bottle..html?sessid=aXWnYbNZshJSeIlRwKf9up88E643ik UHuzCUwLoSH4kh8gr8YYYRueW2t7WFdDKm&shop_param=cid%3D17%26aid%3D21368%26

gumshoe
Jan. 10, 2013, 12:13 PM
There is some funky stuff on that website.


Is this product listed on Gamboa's clinic website Carolina Gold just renamed?

EASY GOLD
http://drgamboavetsupplies.com/shop/article_21368/Easy-Gold-EG%2C-100-ml-bottle..html?sessid=aXWnYbNZshJSeIlRwKf9up88E643ik UHuzCUwLoSH4kh8gr8YYYRueW2t7WFdDKm&shop_param=cid%3D17%26aid%3D21368%26

pds
Jan. 10, 2013, 01:23 PM
I don't know why he is still allowed to practice veterinary medicine. :confused: