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Equine Chia Information
Chia has the substance essential to cell life—a balanced property of giving out (nutrients) and readily taking up (debris). The name Chia is derived from the Aztec word, chian, meaning oily. It is an ancient seed being rediscovered in America with balanced nutritional components. These tiny seeds are highly palatable! Chia is easy to top-dress on feed with a very mild nutty flavor. Horses love it.
Chia is an excellent source of EFA's (essential oils), antioxidants, minerals, protein, soluble (mucilage) fiber and low NSC (non structural carbohydrate).
According to the FDA, Chia seed is considered a "dietary supplement" and its nutritional content complies with the strict regulations required by the organization to qualify as a "healthy food". (Food and Drug Administration, USA)
Chia and Omega Oils
Chia is high in the magic Omega's. Chia seeds contain 32-39% oil. Even more important is the crucial balance of 3 times more Omega 3 than Omega 6 in Chia. Two-thirds of Chia oil is Omega-3 essential fatty acid (polyunsaturated) while only 10% are saturated fatty acid. Because Omega-3 sources are becoming increasingly scarce in the world, we need to turn our attention to Chia.
Fresh green grass, a horse's natural diet, is very low in fat at only 4% to 6%. But horses do require a dietary intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fats because the body can't manufacture them.
Grasses contain anywhere from four to six times as much omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid as they do omega-6 alpha-linoleic acid. This means that a horse would normally take in a much higher level of omega-3s than omega-6s. Unfortunately, omega-3 fats are very fragile. When grass is cut, the omega-3 content is rapidly lost. The omega-6 fatty acids are a bit more resistant to breakdown. Hay, therefore, is lower in omega-3 compared to omega-6 than fresh grass.
The situation just gets worse if you feed vegetable oils, grains, seeds, or high-fat seed meals. These are also high in omega-6 fatty acids. In comparison, Chia oil is 62-64 percent, flaxseed oil is 58 percent, menhaden fish oil is 29 percent.
The only readily available feed ingredient, high in omega-3 fatty acids—without processing—is Chia seed.
Chia and Fibre — Sand Clearing
Chia is hydrophilic (water absorbing); the gelatinous property of the seeds (upon getting wet in the gut) clears sand more effectively than expensive psyllium products. It has the capacity to absorb large amounts of liquid, increasing the volume passing through the digestive tract, stimulating the intestinal transit. This important feature clears sand and debris out of the horse's gut naturally, assists with regulating stool movement, helps prevent sand colic and diverticulitis.
Because Chia is a natural seed, and easily digestible, it can be safely fed daily. This virtually eliminates the need for psyllium products. Chia is high in soluble fiber, providing 27.6 grams of fiber for every 100 grams of seed.
Chia—mucilage gel increases in volume by 12x.
Psyllium—mucilage gel increases in volume by 10x.
Flax—mucilage gel increases in volume by 6x.
Chia is soothing to the gut with a mucilaginous gel, which eases inflammation caused by sand and ulcers. Chia acts as a barrier between the carbohydrates and the enzymes of the stomach. The slower metabolism results in less build-up of acid in the stomach. Horses are prone to ulcers because they constantly produce stomach acid.
Slower Metabolism of Carbohydrates
Chia is a very low NSC (non-structural carbohydrate). Chia forms a mucilaginous gel in the digestive tract and creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. The slower metabolism results in a more even blood-sugar level, a huge advantage for Insulin-Resistant horses.
Enhanced Fluid & Electrolyte Balances
Chia provides greater efficiency in the utilization of body fluids and absorption of nutrients, helping to maintain electrolyte balance. Fluid and electrolyte imbalances occur when large amounts of fluids are lost resulting from diarrhea, colic, fever, ulcers or sweating. Extracellular fluid loss occurs in these conditions. Intercellular fluid then shifts out of cells to compensate, causing abnormal distribution of electrolytes resulting in cellular malfunction.
Chia seeds give extensive hydration. Hydrophilic colloids, (a watery, gelatinous, sticky substance) form the underlying elements of all living cells. Chia has the substance essential to cell life—a balanced property of giving out (nutrients) and readily taking up (debris).
Chia and Protein
Chia Seeds contain all nine essential amino acids for a complete protein. Chia has 19-23% protein content, which is more protein than traditional grains such as wheat (13.7%), rice (6.5%), corn (9.4%), barley (12.5%) and oats (16.9%). Research performed on Chia's digestibility and biological value has proven that Chia is an excellent protein source.
There are no limitations in Chia's amino acid content, therefore, it can be included in the horse diet to improve protein balance by itself or when mixed with other grains.
Chia Vitamins and Minerals
Chia Seed is an ancient wonder food—a whole food source of balanced ratios of vitamins, minerals and Omega oils.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and copper. Chia contains the mineral Boron that facilitates the absorption of Calcium. It has 6 times more Calcium than does milk, according the USDA (2001), Brown (2003), and the Instituto Nacional de Alimentos (2003).
Chia is a rich source of Vitamin B, with a higher niacin content than corn, rice or even soy. Its thiamine and riboflavin content is similar corn and rice.
Chia and Antioxidants
Chia is highly enriched with antioxidants to protect its PUFAs (essential Omega oils) from becoming oxidized and going rancid, to the extent that chia seed can be stored at room temperature until use—which makes it easy to store at the barn. It does not go rancid quickly or lose its nutritional properties. Air pollutants, smoke, herbicides, pesticides and even some rancid fats are examples of free radical-generating elements that horses consume or inhale that cannot be eliminated by the body. These cause cell damage.
Antioxidants are a group of vegetal elements that can block the harmful effects of these so-called "free radicals." The most important antioxidants in Chia are chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid as well as myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonols. These antioxidants have been shown to provide protection to lipids, proteins, and DNA from oxidation, and work to inhibit lipid per oxidation with strong free radical and superoxide scavenging activity. They are more effective than vitamin C and vitamin E in their antioxidant properties (Kweon, Hwang, and Sung, 2001). Top ^
Chia vs. Flax
Flax is not good in large, continuous amounts in the diet. Detailed information is available in a book titled, Chia: Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztec , (University of Arizona Press 2005), written and researched by expert Dr. Wayne Coates, with co-author, agronomist Ricardo Ayerza. Dr. Coates holds a doctorate in Agricultural Engineering from Oklahoma State University.
Many people today have turned to the consumption of flax seeds or flax seed oils for supplementing their diets with omega-3 fatty acids, but there are serious problems with the use of flax seed in the diet. There are some toxins and antinutritional factors found in flax seed.
Flax was never considered a food by any civilization. The hard outer shell makes it indigestible. Flax fiber used for clothing and oil for lighting were made from the stalks and seeds by ancient cultures such as the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Arabs (Cooley, 1899; Gil, 1965p Crawford, 1979; Palagia, 1984; Mayerson, 1997). Flax is mentioned eighty-nine times in the Bible (Moldenke and Moldenke, 1952); as a source of fiber for clothing, not for food.
"In order to safely use flax in animal and human diets the seeds should be detoxified. However, the most efficient processes
require the use of solvents, and even in the best case the seeds cannot be completely detoxified (Madhusudhan et al., 1986; Mazza and Oomah, 1996)."
Chia seed is a much safer, long-term product to improve and maintain healthy horses.
Chemical and Pesticide Free
All of our Chia seed is:
•Certified free from chemicals, pesticides, herbicides etc!
•100% Kosher, Vegan, NON-GMO and Gluten-Free
•3rd party tested prior to importing!
•Inspected by the FDA upon entry to the USA!
•The FDA regards Chia as a food with an established history of safe consumption
Top ^ Healing and Balance
Chia has the substance essential to cell life—a balanced property of giving out (nutrients) and readily taking up (debris).
Chia Seeds offer healing and balance to Equines in several ways. A basic understanding of the joint can ease arthritis pain. Proper feed means making sure to include generous levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. This is important to horses with arthritis because a deficiency of these essential fats, or an over-abundance of the omega-6 fatty acids, can worsen inflammatory reactions.
Moody mares and horses suffering from hormone imbalance can improve with Omega 3 oil, which eases inflammation of the estrus cycle. Horses with ulcers often improve with Chia because of the soothing effect of the gelatinous seed in the gut and the insulin balancing effect of the seed components.
Benefits of Chia Seed
•Promotes a healthy, glossy coat
•Stronger, faster growing hooves
•Helps prevent laminitis and insulin disorders
•Boosts the immune system
•Good for respiratory system
•Calms hot nervous temperaments
•Eases mare cycles and estrus inflammation
•Maintains supple joints and healing in connective tissues
•Assists correct development of nervous system, brain, muscles and skeleton
•Repairs & maintains cellular walls
•Anti-inflammatory — can act like "Bute"
•Aids wound healing
•Supports a healthy heart and blood circulation
•Has anti-allergic properties
•Encourages a strong metabolism
•Chia has no strong flavor, easy to top dress
•Easy to store, keeps up to two years
•Economical — replaces several products in one simple grain
•Horses love it