There are many different products on the market, some seem quite similar. I was recently asked about the difference between ground stabilized flax seed versus flaxseed oil.
Question: Is there a difference in ground stabilized flax seed versus flaxseed oil in nutritional benefits for the horse?
Answer: Flaxseed oil, also called linseed oil, is of great nutritional benefit to horses as it is a natural source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil is produced by pressing the seeds of the flax plant and has very high oil content.
The omega 3:6 balance in flaxseed oil is 4:1, which is the same ratio as in fresh pasture grass. This natural balance of omega oils is different in preserved forages such as hay, where omega 6 oil levels predominate. In stabled horses supplementing with flaxseed oil helps redress the omega 3:6 imbalance associated with reduced pasture turnout. Omega 3 essential fatty acid functions in controlling inflammatory conditions, maintaining joint health and coat health.
Ground stabilized flax seed is produced by milling the seeds of the flaxseed plant, as such it contains all parts of the seeds and therefore is high in both oil and fibre content. The omega 3:6 balance is maintained in ground flax seed, however there is relatively less oil in this product compared to pure linseed or Kentucky Karron Oil. Unless stabilized, the oils in ground flax seed go rancid quite rapidly. Stabilised ground flax seed has a shelf life of approximately six months.
Foran Equine produce a high quality linseed oil emulsion, Kentucky Karron Oil. Emulsification improves the shelf life and palatability of the linseed oil, and also improves the bioavailability of both the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. This means that more is absorbed and used within the body. Kentucky Karron Oil has a shelf life of 18 months.