Flax seed

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Flax seed

This is a discussion on Flax seed within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Horse nutrition whole flaxseed crude protein
  • How to soak flax meal

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    10-28-2013, 11:34 AM
Flax seed

I thought I read somewhere on here that flax seed was good on a horses coat, mane and tail? My horses mane and tail is a little coarse and dry, would flax help soften it up some and put some shine to it?
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    10-28-2013, 01:32 PM
Super Moderator
I think it is good for coat, mane and tail and hooves. Certainly my horses do well on it.
    10-28-2013, 01:35 PM
You can add it to the diet. If raw flax seed it must be cooked. The high heat destroys the arsenates. If you buy powdered flax seed it has already been exposed to high temps.
    10-28-2013, 02:16 PM
I've been reading about it today, but I have read it can be fed whole or ground, and to avoid soaking it as that can bring the toxic chemicals together (where as stomach juices, saliva break them apart.) And soaking/cooking it also removes some of the benefits of it.

Flax Seed

Is Flax Seed Safe to Use in Horses? | SmartPak Equine Blog

Triple Crown Flax Seed Benefits: Better Horse Feed | Triple Crown Nutrition

Granted, I'm looking for some actual medical research on it but all I could find was the below, and hell if I understand half of it.
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) supplementation associated with reduced skin test lesional area in horses with Culicoides hypersensitivity
    10-28-2013, 02:25 PM
Green Broke
I usually feed whole, uncooked seeds to my horse. Cooking/heating would destroy the omega-3 fatty acids, which is the reason I feed them to my horse to begin with! I did buy a bag of OmegaMax out of curiosity and am planning on going back to the whole seeds when I'm done, as my horse is sifting it out of his feed and not eating it unless I put some mash on top of it (and then he licks his dish clean!)
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    10-28-2013, 02:30 PM
Now that' I'm randomly looking around the web, I pulled the below from Rutgers
Ask the Expert -- Supplements

Is flax seed toxic to horses?

Q: I have fed flax seed in the past: cooked whole seeds, then ground raw flax meal. I have always gotten 25 -50 lb bags. The last time I picked up a bag, I noticed that the label stated, “Not to be fed to horses intended for food. Not for human consumption.” What is the story? Is it toxic raw or ground? Is it worth feeding?

A: I know many people who do swear by flax seed, however, I do not have any personal experience using it. The raw seeds contain cyanogenic glycoside compounds which, when the seeds are ground, and especially if moistened, will release cyanide! However, this really is not a concern, since the enzymes needed to cause the cyanide release are inactivated by boiling and gastric acids. So, as long as you don't add water before feeding the flax meal, it should not be a problem. If the meal is processed in any way it is also probably totally safe. Read the label again to see if there are other substances added. If not, the warning is probably due to the minuscule risk of cyanide poisoning. But it shouldn’t hurt in small enough quantities.

The presence of cyanogenic glycosides in the diet is significant only in relation to dose and the nutritional status of the consumer. Flax seed meal contains two cyanogenic glycosides, linustatin and neolinustatin. Many foods are slightly cyanogenic (e.g. Wheat and barley!), probably as an evolutionary adaptation to discourage herbivory, and our body and our horses have a limited capacity to detoxify low concentrations of cyanide through addition of sulphur (from amino acids). Thus, if the dietary levels of sulphur-containing amino acids are high, the body can resist a low intake of cyanide, but if the diet is low in protein overall, then we see toxicity.

It has been determined that up to 50g high-alpha-linolenic acid flaxseed is palatable, safe and may be nutritionally beneficial in humans by raising n-3 fatty acids in plasma and erythrocytes and by decreasing post-prandial glucose responses. (Cunnane S, et al, (University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada) Br J Nutr, 69:443, 1993)

    10-28-2013, 02:39 PM
Super Moderator
This is an interesting article Flax Seed
    10-29-2013, 07:49 PM
Green Broke
I fed it to my gelding for awhile and he did great on it. Had a nice soft and shiney coat. I bought triple crowns omega max. It's stabilized for a longer shelf life and already ground up. I recently took my guy off of it though as I needed to cut back on his supplements. But his coat looked amazing when he was on it.
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    10-29-2013, 08:01 PM
Green Broke
Out of curiosity, I asked a Triple Crown rep if it was safe to feed OmegaMax in a mash, and specifically if the stabilization process destroyed the cyanogenic compounds, and got the answer that she didn't know if the cyanogenic compounds were destroyed in the process, but that the actual content was low enough that it wasn't a concern in the amounts that OmegaMax is instructed to be fed on the bag (1/2 to 1 lb daily)

I feed much less than that amount (about 2.5 ounces per day) so I may try putting it in mash until I finish off the bag...
    10-29-2013, 08:04 PM
Green Broke
What kinda mash? I mixed it with my gelding grain and supplements with water so it was mash like. I never had an issue

I was feeding a half pound a day. I tried feeding less and the shine definitely disappeared from his coat.
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