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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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ground flax vs boiled... I'm confused!

Hi there Juliet! Hoping you can give me some clarification - as the more I investigate, the more I become confused! I have always given my horses cold-pressed flax seed oil, the very stuff I give myself, that I purchase from the health store. Now that our equine family has grown,I am finding the flax oil to be costly. In New Zealand, where I am originally from, alot of people feed their horses ground flax seeds. Some tack and feed stores, as well as (human) health stores, sell bags of prepground falax seed.
Over here in Canada, where I now live, the local vet told me that it would poisen my horse, and should only be fed after boiling the seeds in water for no less than 4 hours.
Besides being totally time consuming, I can't help but think that would render the finished product somewhat nutritionally useless, as flax oil is so heat sensitive (must be kept refrigerated and used within 6 weeks of opening bottle).
I can understand that one would not want to feed their horse anything other than freshly ground flax seeds, as the delicate oils would probably be rancid, and I am guessing also toxic at that stage. How long is ground flax considered stable for? I was thinking of grinding and using right away (within 1/2 hr max), but I also heard somewhere that it becomes toxic when wet. I wet my horses feed, so their suppliments stick, but the inside of a horse is wet is it not?!
Finally, there seem to be 'stabilised' ground flax products on the market (both for humans and animals). How is this done, and which way preferable?
Sorry about the long question, I appreciate your time, Zoe.

Where are you from? Originally New Zealand, now living in the interior of BC, Canada

How did you locate this forum? Through the 'Natural Horse People' website

Re: ground flax vs boiled... I'm confused!

Hi Zoe!

Thanks for writing about this very relevant topic. Flaxseeds should not be soaked or boiled because of the reasons you mentioned -- the fatty acids that they contain can easily be destroyed by moisture and heat. The result would be rancidity, which in lay terms, results in free radicals. Free radicals are highly destructive molecules that can cause tissue damage throughout the body. So, why would anyone feed them to a horse?

Now, if you grind the flaxseeds yourself, you run into the problem of calcium to phosphorus ratios. Flaxseed meal is naturally inverted when it comes to these minerals, meaning it has more phosphorus than calcium. This is not a good thing. So, it is best to purchase a commercial flaxseed preparation that has added calcium to correct this problem.

Nutra Flax is a product I offer because it contains the proper calcium to phosphorus ratio. Plus, it is stabilized. They use a microlysing process that does not rupture the cell wall, thereby keeping the vulnerable fat protected. The shelf life is 6 months. And, I can ship it to Canada (additional shipping). So, if you have an interest, let me know.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO