Would you like to make your aches and pains go away? Improve or protect your horse’s movement? Reduce the incidence of serious ailments and issues such as ulcers, colic, pulmonary bleeding and low fertility? Enjoy better focus for both you and your horse?
As a doctor, I will be the first to tell you that there is no supplement that can promise you all these benefits without fail. However, as an American who practiced medicine for 20 years in Norway, I will tell you that, globally, doctors consider a proper balance of omega fatty acids to be utterly foundational in the creation of these systemic and enduring improvements to your health.
There are many omegas, but the two families you need to be concerned with are omega-3 and omega-6. Both contain Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), meaning they’re critical for good health, and must be ingested in the diet. The quantity consumed of these two EFAs is not nearly so important as the balance between the two.
Take a look at many of the modern supplements and foods you give your family, both four-legged and two-. How many promise “a healthy balance of omega 3, 6 and 9”? These manufacturers are counting on the fact that consumers are too busy to research what this really means.
Fact is, our basic diets are unhealthily weighted toward omega-6. When you add an “omega-balanced” supplement, you’ve done nothing to correct the imbalance. Much like a teeter-totter, an imbalance to one side must be corrected with a weight on the other. This is why we tell people to remember “the devil in six”… it’s an easy way to remind yourself that supplementing omega-6 is not a good idea.
All cereal grains, including corn, oats, wheat, and bran are rich in omega-6s. Canola and soy products are somewhat more balanced, but still heavy on the –6. Grass and hay contain omega-3, but not much of it. Flax and walnuts are two plant-based sources rich in omega-3 (ALA only) and fatty fish and breast milk are very rich in omega-3 (full-spectrum, including EPA and DHA).
Modern Diet, Historical Omegas
Pre-domestication, horses ate a wide variety of grasses and herbs, with only seasonally sporadic consumption of grains. We can’t know what their exact omega-6:omega-3 ratio was but it likely ranged from 1:1 to 4:1.
Once domesticated, we know that hard-working horses were fed bulk grains to increase caloric intake. Sometime later, horsemen noticed that feeding corn oil put a pretty shine on the coat, and was a great source of energy that didn’t make horses hyper. These horsemen unknowingly upset the omega balance even more, and began a tradition that persists today… feeding corn and vegetable oils as a low-cost way to increase calories and sheen.
We humans also had a much different diet before the 20th century, again with an omega ratio of 1:1 to perhaps 4:1. We developed our civilizations on or near water, and fresh fish was a constant presence in our diet. There were no prepared foods laden with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (a particularly damaging omega-6) and corn by-products. Instead, we ate what is now known as organic foods – simply-raised and simply-prepared vegetables, fish and meats, with home-baked breads and whole grains providing a healthy amount and type of omega-6.
Today, it is estimated that 85% of Americans are significantly deficient in omega-3, with –6 to –3 ratios of 17:1 to 30:1. Conservatively speaking, that means we’re 4x or more off the figure we should be; metaphorically, we’re going 80 mph in a 20 mph zone, weighing 500 pounds when we should weigh 125, or putting four horses on an acre that can support one. When things are this far out of whack, bad things start to happen.
Add Omega-3 to Restore Natural Function
To understand why so many malfunctions happen without sufficient omega-3, you first must understand the variety of roles it plays in the body. First, scientific studies strongly indicate omega-3 to improve human brain function, whether for helping an autistic child, increasing the IQ of a baby in utero by four to six points, or focusing the energy and memory of a harried adult. Anecdotally, we’re seeing similar benefits for race and sport horses, with trainer reports coming back as “much easier to handle,” “more focused on work,” and “cribbing was remarkably reduced.”
Next, omega-3 operates in a yin-yang fashion with omega-6 to control inflammation response in the body. When an injury is sustained, omega-6 causes inflammation to heal the offended tissues. When the healing is nearing completion, omega-3 mediates the anti-inflammatory response to deflate and sooth the area. With too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3, the body’s natural healing process is sent into overdrive, entering a state of chronic inflammation, usually a non-specific low-grade type that many of us don’t notice, or mistake for normal wear and tear.
Further, with enough omega-3 in the body, it will begin to function much like Bute for our horses or Aleve® for us. Known globally in medicine as “nature’s best anti-inflammatory,” omega-3 operates on the same chemical pathways as NSAIDs, calming inflammation and soothing pain. In proper doses, omega-3 from fish oil has even been shown to prevent the degradation of joint cartilage. These are aspects to think about even if your performance horse doesn’t get grain: adding omega-3 might still make the easy-keeper sport horse more fluid and protected.
Finally, omega-3 is also used to maintain and repair cellular walls. When omega-6 is used instead, the walls become less permeable and less flexible, which in turn reduces the flow of nutrients and waste. Each cell is then thrown into a state of “starvation-constipation.” We all know how bad digestive problems feel. Imagine each of your cells feeling that way, and you begin to see how elemental the omega balance is for good health.
Wellpride is a physician-owned company based in metro Sarasota, Florida. Founded by Bo Martinsen, MD, a native Norwegian, and Anne-Marie Chalmers, MD, an American who has studied and lived in Norway, Wellpride and its sister company Ambo Health imports purified top-quality Norwegian fish oil for the equine and human markets, respectively.
Both Omega Cure, the human product, and Wellpride, the equine product, offer pure, natural, liquid EPA/DHA omega-3 support, carefully purified to remove all heavy metals and toxins, with a light fruity taste added. To ensure freshness, Omega Cure and Wellpride are sold directly to consumers by monthly home delivery, either by phone sales or through http://www.omega-cure.com
This article was written by: Anne-Marie Chalmers, MD
---------------------- It's easy! Just copy code below and paste into your webpage --------------------
<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/1-omega-fatty-acids-wellpride-devil-4-07.html">The Devil in Six</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com