Oil Type Influences Red Blood Cells

The Latest Research On Omega 3 Oil Compared to Omega 6 Oil For Horses

In a recent landmark study (1), two oil types were compared:
— One oil type High in Omega 3 (57%) and one oil type Low in Omega 3 (8%)
— A 40 horse test population (20 mares and 20 stallions) received 25mL per 100 kg BW/day (500kg horse = 125mL Oil/day)
— After 60 days, blood was collected for biochemistry and haematology testing.

The Blood Results Showed The High Omega 3 Oil:

  • Enhanced Blood Parameters: Horses fed High Omega 3 Oil showed improved blood parameters, indicating potential benefits for various bodily functions.
  • Positive Influence on Red Blood Cells: High Omega 3 Oil positively affected the horse’s red blood cell indicators, suggesting improved oxygen transport and overall well-being.
  • Improved Lipid Profiles: High Omega 3 Oil contributed to better lipid profiles in horses, promoting overall cardiovascular health.
  • Increased Antioxidant Mechanisms: High Omega 3 Oil demonstrated a positive impact on the horse’s antioxidant mechanisms, protecting against oxidative stress, which leads to quicker recovery times.
  • Lowered Plasma Glucose Levels: High Omega 3 Oil was associated with lower plasma glucose levels, which is beneficial for managing the horse’s blood sugar, leading to better behaviour.

Overall the High Omega 3 Group showed a more beneficial effect by stimulating antioxidant defence mechanisms of horses and reducing the severity of oxidative stress. This leads to quicker recovery after performance.
High Omega 3 Group also showed improved lipid profile and haematological parameters of the blood.

The study concluded that replacing a High Omega 6 Oil with a High Omega 3 Oil is recommended for performance horses based on these findings.

Which Oil To Choose? – Not All Oils Are Created Equal

Omega 3 Levels

  • Omega 3 cannot be made by the horse. Horses on a hay reliant diet can be deficient due to the lower levels compared to fresh pasture.
  • Supplementing with a First Cold Pressed Omega 3 Oil ensures their intake but it also has great health and performance benefits.
  • Low Omega 3 intake can cause an increased inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation can have a negative impact on performance.

Not all Flaxseed Oils for horses are created equal. CEN Oil is unique as it is a First Cold Pressed Flaxseed Oil meaning it is better quality than linseed oil or other cold pressed flaxseed oils that are made from multiple pressings and higher heat. Be aware of no added heat oils or single pressed as these have been prepared at temperatures above 80°C.

Why is this important? Omega 3 is not heat stable and any heat above room temperature in the extraction process can yield high oxidation resulting in unnecessary free radicals adding to the antioxidant demands in recovery.

CEN Oil – First Cold Pressed Flaxseed Oil meaning it is food grade, the highest quality, best tasting, contains the most nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins of any of the oil classifications.

By Bryan Meggitt (BMedSc. PGCrtMedSc.)
Blood Scientist and Co-founder of CEN Horse Nutrition


  1. Sembratowicz I, Zięba G, Cholewinska E, Czech A. Effect of Dietary Flaxseed Oil Supplementation on the Redox Status, Haematological and Biochemical Parameters of Horses’ Blood. Animals (Basel). 2020 Nov 30;10(12):2244. doi: 10.3390/ani10122244. PMID: 33265987; PMCID: PMC7760300.
  2. Kabutey A, Herák D, Mizera Č. Assessment of Quality and Efficiency of Cold-Pressed Oil from Selected Oilseeds. Foods. 2023 Sep 30;12(19):3636. doi: 10.3390/foods12193636. PMID: 37835289; PMCID: PMC10573014.
  3. Mikołajczak, Natalia & Tańska, Małgorzata. (2022). Effect of initial quality and bioactive compounds content in cold-pressed flaxseed oils on oxidative stability and oxidation products formation during one-month storage with light exposure. NFS Journal. 26. 10.1016/j.nfs.2022.02.001.
  4. Zhang Z, Wei Y, Guan N, Li B, Wang Y. Changes in Chemical Composition of Flaxseed Oil during Thermal-Induced Oxidation and Resultant Effect on DSC Thermal Properties. Molecules. 2022 Oct 21;27(20):7135. doi: 10.3390/molecules27207135. PMID: 36296728; PMCID: PMC9607143.
  5. Al-Madhagy S, Ashmawy NS, Mamdouh A, Eldahshan OA, Farag MA. A comprehensive review of the health benefits of flaxseed oil in relation to its chemical composition and comparison withother omega-3-rich oils. Eur J Med Res. 2023 Jul 18;28(1):240. doi: 10.1186/s40001-023-01203-6. PMID: 37464425; PMCID: PMC10353157.

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