We spend time, energy and money on researching and selecting the supplement to properly support our horses health in all the right ways. Whether looking for a supplement to specifically assist a health issue or alignment, or looking for overall health maintenance, it is important to understand how the ingredients contribute to this.
Understanding elements like omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic) are important in order to comprehend if these ingredients are helping overall health or targeted alignments your horse is experiencing.
Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s
Omega-3’s have different sources. ALA is commonly found in vegetable oils such as flaxseed, flaxseed oils, chia seeds, leafy green vegetables, pasture, and hay. Whereas EPA and DHA are found in fish, algae, and seaweed. The Omega- 3 family includes short chain alpha-linolenic acid (derived from plants) and the ‘long chain’ eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish oil. Alpha-linolenic acid is the only form of Omega- 3 present in a horse’s natural diet. The Omega-6 fatty acids predominantly come from products such as: corn, canola, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oils.
How Omega-3 and Omega-6 Work Together
Omega-3 fatty acids are important elements of all cell membranes and their main purpose is to produce eicosanoids ( inflammatory responses), prostaglandins (smooth muscle contraction and inflammation), and thromboxanes ( blood clot formation). Moreover, they are also important in maintaining cell membrane structure and function, as well as central nervous system development, immune function,and support fertility in both mares and stallions. As a team of fatty acids the proper ratio is necessary to support pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory arbitrators.
Inflammation is natural and the body’s first line of defence against injury, infections and toxins and in this distressed state cells release chemicals to alert the immune system that help is required and healing needs to begin. If an ongoing signal of inflammation continues research has shown major equine health concerns in horses through laminitis, obesity and insulin resistance, equine asthma and allergies and arthritis. A proactive way to promote health and long-term wellness is through the supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids.
The Benefits of Omega- 3 and Omega -6
An abundance of benefits have been shown from Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA including cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory support, brain and nerve function, heart rates and recovery in horses, airway conditions and fertility support (ovaries and semen) in both mares and stallions.
Understanding ingredients, and how they provide health support and work together with other elements provides us with the correct information to make informed decisions around horse health and wellness.
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