Omega-3 is a family of fat molecules. You've probably heard about a few of the most important types, including EPA, DHA and ALA. But how do the omega-3 fats work? And why is it so important for our horses to get enough? These articles help break it down:
The Fatty Acid Imbalance in Modern Horses & What to Do About It
A research article dating back to 1968 detailed studies that pointed out even then, that healthy range-fed cattle had from two to six times more beneficial omega-3 EPA/DHA in tissue samples than animals fed with "modern" manufactured feeds. Since then, numerous published reports continue to document the same findings.
Why Fat from Fish Is PHAT for Your Horse
The kinds of fat usually referred to as essential are those nutrients which the body itself does NOT produce, and which must be supplied through the diet. The two most significant of these are omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Both use enzymes to produce important hormone-like substances which are vital for several different regulatory mechanisms throughout the body. Omega-6 and omega-3 also are major components of all cell membranes; they help to keep the membranes strong, fluid and pliable.
Fish Oil: The Perfect Energy Source for Horses
Serious equine conditions such as founder, laminitis and colic may be connected to the feeding of processed grains and use of corn oil as an energy source.
This is particularly problematic for performance and work horses when grass and hay cannot always supply all the energy the horses need for work.
When it comes to omega-3, where you (and your horse) get it from can a big difference for the benefits you see and your pocketbook:
Flax Is Good, Fish Is Best
As you probably know, one of the more established supplements for horses these days is flax, and even some health-minded people are eating it as well. That's not a bad thing. However, changing from flax to fish oil will offer far greater benefits for you, your horse, and probably even your wallet.
Why Flax Is Less Efficient than Fish Oil, Even for Horses
Wellpride’s omega-3 is largely EPA (4.5 g) and DHA (3.0 g) while all of flax oil’s omega-3 is of the ALA variety, which is not usable in that form. The body will attempt to convert that ALA into usable EPA and DHA, but will only succeed with 2 to 5% of it.
In the end, ounce-for-ounce, Wellpride is 12 to 32 times more powerful than flax oil in aiding joints, brain, fertility and so on.