By Dr Tom Shurlock, Consultant Nutritionist.
Linseed oil has long been a popular supplement for equines. The rapid improvement in shine indicates, to the owner, better skin and coat condition. However, the benefit of the oil goes beyond this. Linseed oil provides a high level of omega fatty acids, mainly ω-3 but also 6 and 9. All of which provide extra benefits: insulin sensitivity, the immune system, allergenic responses and inflammatory cycles all interact with omega-3, whilst the cardiovascular system is supported by omega-6 and omega-9 helps in muscular activity.
Linseed oil is also a good energy source – slow release – aids the digestion and absorption of key nutrients, and is a precursor of eicosanoids, key regulators in metabolism.
It would seem that it would be difficult to surpass this impressive range of characteristics. But Cooked Linseed can do just that; containing 37% oil, feeding Cooked Linseed can contribute to all the above actions but has many extra benefits.
Cooked Linseed is a conditioning feed. It has been heat treated to reduce antinutritive factors and nutritive degradation. This improves the digestibility of itself but more importantly can improve the digestibility of protein and fibre in forage-based diets.
It provides a quality protein whose amino acid profile is great for skeletal muscle development; it contains those components that support muscle recovery and regeneration after exercise, whilst short chains of amino acids – bioactive peptides – support the blood system and help maintain blood pressure. Equally these peptides can act as antioxidants helping to mop up free radicals.
Overall the protein contribution of Cooked Linseed can help optimise the physiological and metabolic processes essential for good muscle tone, exercise and recovery, both skeletal muscle and the vascular support of those units.
Alongside the oil and protein characteristics, the fibre in Cooked Linseed is also worth considering. Along with the super fibres, linseed has a high proportion of soluble fibre. Within this fraction are the pectins that support and stimulate the production of mucilage linings to the gastrointestinal tract.
The profile of fibre – the different carbohydrates as cellulose, hemicellulose etc. – gives an excellent range of slow-release energy, the fermentation products released in the hindgut, with relatively high levels of propionate and butyrate. The former can be used by the body to generate glucose, essential for many functions, without involving insulin and its sensitivity, and the latter is both an energy source and an absorption regulator for the hindgut cells.
Finally, both Cooked Linseed and linseed oil have a range of functional nutrients, more being present in the whole seed. Vitamins C and E (as ϒ-tocopherol), and a number of phenolic antioxidants, phytosterols, flavonoids and lignans, compounds that support metabolic and structural systems.
Linseed oil is an excellent product to supply slow-release energy, but also provide the omega fatty acids that contribute to skin and coat condition, general well-being and regulatory mechanisms.
The additional benefits of feeding Cooked Linseed in improving condition, musculature, gut function and digestion, as well as benefits associated with a wide range of bioactives, all contribute to an excellent conditioning feed.
Learn more about Cooked Linseed.