Omega Fats – How are they essential for ourselves, our horses, and our dogs?

We all hear about Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s from our own doctors, commercials, and your own info searches on nutrition and health. It is true that Omegas are very beneficial for you, your horse, and your dog. Whether a performance athlete or a casual hobbyist lifestyle, everyone can gain in health from Omegas. The Omegas are essential, meaning our body does not produce them, thus we must eat food that are high in these fats.

Balance and Benefits

The standard foods for ourselves, horses, and dogs are often have plenty of Omega-6’s –often times too much— and too little of Omega-3’s. This calls for a supplement of Omega-3’s to balance out the Omegas. It’s like “yin” and “yang”, each Omega must be in balance with the other in order for the body to stay balanced. But what are the benefits of the Omegas, especially Omega-3’s? Let’s talk about it! Omega 3’s are fatty acids – easy way = tiny fat particles— that break down into essential pieces for the body. These benefit the body in quite a few ways:

1) Enhance skin, hair and coat health
2) Increase energy efficiency and metabolism
3) Aids absorption or essential vitamins and nutrients
4) Regulates our cells, inflammation, and the immune system
5) Enhances body condition and hunger satisfaction
We all can agree that these are great benefits and we want each and every one of them in our lives and our animals’. I mean, who doesn’t want soft skin, shiny hair, increased energy, powerful metabolism, happy immune system and cells, and of course, the beautiful noteworthy appearance all while satisfying our hunger. Sounds like a win, win to me.
Ok, enough about what it is, let’s talk how it works.

Skin, Hair and Coat health

Omegas help the outer appearance of the body by helping the each and every cell of the body, but specifically the skin cells. The Omegas are important for helping the transportation in and out of the cells. Basically, keeping the traffic flow perfect by not letting things back up and congest the cell or by things not getting in and starving the cell. Happy cells, happy body! The fats also help the water retention of the cells of the skin, hair and coat. Less water loss = moist skin = happy skin. Hydrated skin is more protectant from environmental contaminants and allergens. For hair and coat, each follicle produces the hair and the moisture coating of it. As the hair grows, the hair cells are more hydrated, and the hair strand is coated to help retain the moisture. The skin’s oil glands become balanced with healthy omegas which allows for the proper production of oils on the skin, hair and coat for added protection.


Energy, Metabolism & Hunger

These essential fats are packed with over two times (2x) the energy of a carbohydrate or protein. Feeding these oils can increase the amount of energy without increasing the amount of food being fed. So not only good on your pocketbook, but great for dog’s and horses that no longer must eat larger amounts of food to get their energy. There is a two-fer for this— eating fat is what signals the stomach to begin telling the brain that it is full. The brain sees fat as a satisfaction signal. Now that is a very basic explanation, however, IT’s TRUE! Think of everytime you taste whipped cream, or ice cream, or added heavy cream to your coffee. Its an absolute satisfaction and decrease in hunger that you begin to feel. The same goes for our animals. Supplementing fat to the diet can reduce the amount of food you feed but increase the satisfaction of the meals.
To add to the vast benefits of Omegas, added omega fats to the diet increases how the body processes and uses energy— making the body more energy efficient. Part of this is how it affects our metabolism. These fats are major in the liver—powerhouse of the metabolism and energy, the kidney – the filtration system getting rid of waste, and the muscles— the movers of life.
Let’s take it one step further… without these fats, essential vitamins cannot be absorbed. Vitamin A for eye health and immune system, Vitamin D for bone health, Vitamin E— a powerful antioxidant, and Vitamin K for healing. These vitamins do much more than that, but even if they didn’t, we need each and every one of those!

Inflammation & the Immune System

Omegas are the yin and yang of the immune system and inflammation. Where Omega-3 is a yin, Omega-6 is the yang. Omega-3s are essential in all the previous mentioned benefits, here though is where Omega-3s shine at their brightest. Omega-3s are essential for the “Anti”- inflammatory processes of the body, while Omega-6s are for inflammation. Thus the balance of the Omegas is essential. Omega-3 affects each cell and the processes those cells do by telling the cell to not be overreactive. There are specific enzymes and signal proteins that Omega-3 fats can modify and either tell to produce less of inflammation producers and more of anti-inflammation regulators. The body health comes down to inflammation and the immune system. If these two areas are not taken care of, the whole body gets knocked of balance and health deteriorates.

Ok, Now What?

Omegas have major benefits for the body. We must ensure that we have a good balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3. Common diets today have an abundance of Omega-6 but are lacking in Omega-3s. Supplementing Omega-3s can provide your body and your horse or dog’s body with balance that leads to better skin, hair and coat, enhanced energy and metabolism, decrease hunger but increased body condition, and a proper functioning immune and inflammation system.
It almost seems to good to be true that Omegas can benefit in so many different ways for the body, but it is TRUE! The crazy thing is, there is even more benefits with reproduction that we didn’t even go over here.
So, look out for some of the signs of too low of Omega 3s: dry skin and hair, dull coat, oily scaly skin, hair loss, decreased reproductive efficiency, fetal abnormalities, overreactive allergic reactions or new allergies, loss of body condition and muscle mass, increased hunger and decreased energy. These signs do not always mean its Omega-3s and Omega supplementation should never replace doctor or veterinarian examination. However, the body needs essential fats and Omega 3 supplements can help balance and enhance the body.