Fish oil: a source of EPA and DHA
Flaxseed oil: a source of alpha-linolenic acid
Total omega-3 fatty acids: 10,780 mg per oz
Eicosapentaenoic (EPA): 3,210 mg per oz
Docosahexaenoic (DHA): 2,320 mg per oz
Why omega fatty acids are important:
Omega fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids because they cannot be synthesized in the body and must be provided in the diet. Omega fatty acids are split into two categories: omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Both are necessary to the well-being of the horse; however, it is the amount of both of these acids relative to each other that is most important for overall health. Functioning at the cellular level, omega fatty acids impact the cell membrane, thereby influencing every system in the body. When properly balanced, the two types of fatty acids work in concert to keep your horse healthy.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are metabolized by cells in the body and used in the synthesis of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. The primary function of these prostaglandins is the regulation of essential body functions such as blood clotting, blood pressure, immune and inflammatory response. Prostaglandins produced from the omega-6 series typically have a pro-inflammatory response and increase blood clotting, whereas those produced from the omega-3 series tend to have the opposite effect by mitigating the inflammatory response and decreasing blood clotting. Both the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids compete for the same enzymes in the production of these prostaglandins, so it is the ratio of the omega-6 to omega-3 that has the greatest influence over inflammatory response and other vital body functions. When an abundance of omega-6 acids are consumed relative to the amount of omega-3, cells increase the production of prostaglandins from the omega-6 series, leading to an increase in inflammation, which, over time, leads to multiple health problems.
Why supplying multiple sources of omega-3 fatty acids is important:
Alpha-linolenic acid is the most common omega-3 fatty acid and is found in plants. While horses generally obtain alpha-linolenic acid by eating grass and hay, flaxseed and linseed oil are the most concentrated sources of this nutrient.
The omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA have also been identified as beneficial to the horse. These are longer-chain fatty acids and are generally found in fish oils. Shorter chain acids, like alpha-linolenic acid, can be converted into the longer chain EPA and DHA; however, this process is very inefficient, hence the need to provide them in the diet.
Why use Contribute?
Balancing the omega 6 to 3 fatty acid ratio in your horse’s diet will help maintain your horse’s good health. Contribute offers you an affordable way to include both beneficial plant and marine sources of omega-3 fatty acids into the diet.