camelina Oil for Horses

Camelina Oil For Horses

Last updated on March 22nd, 2023 at 03:08 am

Camelina Oil For Horses

Other equestrians at the barn may have been buzzing about adding oil to your horse’s diet, and this is an effective approach that can have more than a few different benefits. There are also many different oils out there that you can choose from. Some are certainly more beneficial for your equine partners than others. One of the better oil options out there is camelina oil.

Read on to learn more about what camelina oil is, as well as how it can benefit your horse, and how much of it you should implement into your horse’s diet for these sorts of effects! 

What Is Camelina Oil?

The oil that we know as camelina oil comes from the seeds of the camelina sativa plant, and it is extracted from these seeds. The camelina sativa plant is also known as false flax. The oil contains between 35% to 40% of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, for short. ALA is one of the essential Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to be healthy and good for the body, as they are anti-inflammatory and decrease the activation of the immune system.

However, when it comes to your horse, ALA needs to first be converted to DHA, also called docosahexaenoic acid, or EPA, which is also known as eicosapentaenoic acid, to be able to be active in your horse’s body. Below, we will go over some more of the characteristics of the oil we know as camelina oil. 

camelina Oil for Horses

Characteristics of Camelina Oil

As we mentioned above, camelina oil is extracted from the Camelina sativa oil seeds. The plant is classified as part of the Brassicaceae family, the family that is also home to plants such as flax, cabbage, and mustard plants, to name a few.

The Camelina sativa plant can be found as a native plant of Central Asia and Northern Europe, too. It is grown in other areas where it is not a native plant, such as the United States, Canada, and other parts of Europe. It dates back more than 3000 years as a food source as well as being a source of oil for oil lamps. 

Vitamin E Content

One of the naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients in camelina oil is vitamin E. This vitamin functions to protect the fatty acids from issues like oxidation and it also improves the shelf life of the oil or product. When it comes to the volume of vitamin E in camelina oil, 100 ml of oil will contain 150 IU, or international units, of naturally occurring vitamin E.

This amount is higher than the vitamin E levels in flax oil or most other plant oils. It also means that camelina oil is less likely to be susceptible to peroxidation—- or to be put simply, to going rancid. Camelina oil has a low amount of vitamin E, but it is still high when compared to the content of other plant oils. 

Fatty Acid Profile

There are different fats or fatty acids in camelina oil. These include saturated fat at 7.9%, oleic acid (or Omega 9) at 16.7%, eicosenoic acid at 16.1%, linoleic acid (or Omega 6) at 16.9%, and linolenic acid (or Omega 3) at 38.1%. Therefore, the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio in camelina oil is 2:2:1. It is important for an oil to have a good balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which camelina oil clearly does! 

Additional Active Ingredients

There are some other important active ingredients in camelina oil, too. The fatty acid profile of this oil is mostly ALA. However, there are other fatty acid molecules with great health effects. For example, oxylipins are a group of different lipid mediators that can be found in fungi, plants, and animals. These molecules can be thanked for some of the health benefits of flax. The oxylipins in camelina oil can also be attributed to some of the health benefits of this particular oil, too!

Benefits of Camelina Oil For Horses

There are plenty of different oils out there, so why should you choose camelina oil over the others? Camelina oil possesses many different health benefits, with some being more aesthetic benefits for your horse, and others being more practical and functional. Think, for example, of a shiny coat versus healthy joints. We will go over some of the commonly touted benefits of camelina oil below, so read on to determine if camelina oil is right for you and your horse.

Joint Health

The first benefit of camelina oil that we will be discussing is joint health. Fatty acids like the Omega fatty acids that are found in camelina oil are used to increase joint health and have anti-inflammatory properties. These anti-inflammatory properties can help to prevent or treat the inflammation that can occur in a horse’s joints, especially as they begin to age and their joints deteriorate. Many aging horses or working horses experience issues with their joints, as the friction between bones increases and there is less to cushion the joint— leading to the aforementioned inflammation.

Studies have also shown that when the cartilage is agitated and inflamed, high levels of ALA can inhibit the resulting inflammation.

Skin Health

Next, we have the benefit of skin health. Many oils can be attributed to healthy skin, and for some breeds, this is something that is especially needed as a supplement because they are prone to more skin issues like allergies and inflammation, among others. Omega 3 fatty acids, as found in camelina oil, can be seen to have an effect in skin allergies like the ones resulting from the biting midge known as Culcoides. Just as some humans have skin issues that can be treated with oils and fatty acids, horses can be similarly affected— and treated! 

Coat Health 

Of course, we all want a horse with a healthy coat, if not just for our horse’s wellbeing, but for shows and competitions, too. Oils such as camelina oil have been found to affect the appearance and health of a horse’s coat. The Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in camelina oil, for instance, help to support sebum production. Sebum is the name for a mix of cholesterol and fats that coats the horse’s hair and skin— sebum is also what gives the horse’s coat its shine and its luster. By supporting sebum production, these fatty acids also help to support a healthy coat and provide defense against irritants. 

Weight Gain

Many oils are utilized to help facilitate healthy weight gain, and camelina oil has this benefit as well. Instead of adding more food to your horse’s daily intake, you can add an oil such as camelina oil to add calories to their diet without increasing the volume of food that your horse is expected to consume. Not only can this be cost effective, but it can be good for horses that have trouble with weight gain or do not have big appetites, therefore meaning that they have trouble maintaining their healthy weight. 

Does My Horse Need Camelina Oil?

There are some characteristics of a horse that make it a good candidate for camelina oil, and then there are some characteristics that make horses poor candidates for camelina oil, too. For instance, if your horse already struggles with obesity or easily gains weight, then addition of oil— any oil— into their diet is usually not a wise move. However, if you have a horse that has a low appetite and struggles with being able to maintain a healthy weight, or struggles to gain weight when required, then camelina oil can be a good way to support your equine partner in this.

In addition, horses that deal with skin allergies and skin sensitivities, or need help keeping their coat shiny and healthy, can also benefit from camelina oil. It is another way to support these aspects of your horse without getting a specific skin or coat supplement. Horses with arthritis or joint pain can also benefit from the addition of camelina oil into their diet, especially older or working horses. 

How Much Camelina Oil Should I Give My Horse?

Once you have determined if camelina oil will be beneficial to your horse and for its specific needs, you will then need to make sure you are giving them the proper amount of the oil so that they can soak up the benefits! The general rule of thumb for adding camelia oil to your horse’s diet is to measure out 100 ml for every 100 kg of mass of the horse. When you are adding the oil to your horse’s food, it is usually recommended that you just drizzle the oil straight over their grain or feed. It’s important to avoid overdoing it with the oil, though, because too much oil can lead to too much weight gain, as well as digestive issues. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of camelina oil for horses?

You may see other equestrians, or even your vet, recommending the addition of camelina oil as a supplement to your horse’s diet. Why is this? Camelina oil is an oil that is taken from the seeds of a plant known as the camelina sativa plant, or false flax, as it is also known as. It is typically added to your horse’s diet as an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement, and this is used to help aid in weight gain, as well as in supporting joint health and coat quality. 

How much camelina oil should I give my horse?

When you decide to add camelina oil to your horse’s diet, it should be used as a top dressing on your horse’s grain. You can also take the camelina oil and simply drizzle it right on top of the horse’s feed.

The quantity of camelina oil that you drizzle on top of this grain or feed is also important— you do not want to overdo it, as too much oil can cause certain issues with your horse like too much weight gain. A daily dose of about 30 to 50 ml, either once or twice a day, is all you will need to add to your horse’s food to make sure that they still get all of the amazing benefits of the camelina oil!

The exact dosage will depend upon the weight and mass of your horse, as with doses of medicine or supplements. Another rule of thumb with oils is to administer about 100 ml for every 100 kg that your horse weighs. You should consult with your vet for the best dose for your horse’s individual needs. 

What is the best oil to put in horse feed?

There are so many different oils out there that you can add to your horse’s food so that they can reap the benefits, such as weight gain, extra sugar-free calories, or increased coat and skin health. Linseed oil is thought to be one of the best options for your horse because linseed oil is known to have high Omega 3 levels, as well as being easily palatable for your horse.

Canola oil is another one of the best oils for your horse because it contains a very good balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, unlike some oils that do not have as good of a ratio or balance between the two. 

Is camelina oil good for horses with ulcers?

One of the oils that is used for horses with ulcers is hemp seed oil, as it contains GLA. Camelina oil does not contain GLA, though, so it cannot be used as a substitute for hemp seed oil to treat ulcers in your horse. However, camelina oil can be added to the diet of a horse in conjunction with hemp seed oil so that it can give the horse increased antioxidant support. It is important for an oil to be able to help reduce the amount of stomach acid in the horse to deal with ulcers.