Stance America Contact Us 855 266 5600 Follow us on Facebook Our Youtube Channel
Choose your country: US UK AU

Products

CoolStance

CoolStance copra is a unique horse feed because it has low Non Structural Carbohydrate (NSC), and yet has a high digestible energy content.
Learn More

PowerStance

PowerStance is a unique powdered coconut oil supplement. PowerStance delivers the secret ingredient from CoolStance as a powder.
Learn More

Other Products

Turmericle

 

Join the Stance Community



Unraveling and Understanding oils

Current literature has well established the benefits of feeding fats and oils to horse’s, since it was recognised that grain could be replaced with oils up to a level of approximately 10-15% in the diet.  The positive effects of feeding oils to horses include: cool energy; shiny coat, mane and tail; calmer behaviour; and a less dusty feed.  Oils are also used effectively for prevention of metabolic disorders including tying up.  It is important to identify that not all oils are the same, and the metabolic effects of oils vary from very beneficial to extremely harmful depending on the type of oil, how it is processed and how it is fed. This article outlines the various types of oils, along with the good the bad and the ugly sides of oils. 

In humans obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are now prevalent health disorders in the Western world.  Suggested readings include “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes and “Sweet Poison” by David Gillespie.  These are among the growing number of authors confirming that all is not well with what we eat, and that commerce has overtaken nutrition.  The combined effects of increased consumption of sugar and industrialised seed oils (canola and soy) are simply causing metabolic chaos. Similarly horses suffer from diabetes (Insulin resistance) in the same way as humans, caused by feeding high NSC (sugar and starch) feeds.  Horses are also fed high levels of oils, and it is possible that some of the oils (polyunsaturated industrial seed oils) are also causing metabolic disorders.

What are oils?
This can be a daunting and confusing subject.  In general fats are derived from animals and oils are from plants.  Animal fat (tallow) is usually solid and plant oils are liquid.  However, fish oil (animal) is liquid and coconut oil (plant) can become solid. Animal fats are saturated and not fed to horses because of poor palatability.  The term “seed oil” is now used to describe oils produced from crops that have been industrialised, e.g. canola and soy, and are usually genetically modified. Fats and oils consist of chains of carbon atoms joined (bonded) together to form a backbone with a carboxyl group (hydrogen and oxygen atoms) at one end.  The carbon to carbon atoms are held together by either single or double bonds.  It is the chain length (number of C atoms) and number of double bonds that determines the chemical structure of oils. 

Terms used to describe oils include

Factors determining the metabolic effects of oils.

  • Chain length
    • Short chain fatty acids (2-6 carbon)
    • Medium chain fatty acids (6-12 carbon)
    • Long chain fatty acids (>14 carbon )
  • Number of double bonds
    • Saturated (no double bond)
    • Monounsaturated (single double bond)
    • Polyunsaturated (>1 double bond)
  • Chemical modification
  • Is the C chain straight (cis) or bent (trans)
  • Position of double bonds from the omega(last) carbon in the chain
  • Processing method
  • Amount fed
  • Balance

Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) have no double bonds and therefore cannot hold additional hydrogen atoms
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) have only one double bond.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have more than one double bond and can hold more H atoms.
Essential fatty acids (EFA’s). These fatty acids cannot be synthesised by the body and must be provided in the diet. These include the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. The Greek term omega describes the last C in the C chain, and so Omega 3 (Alpha -linolenic acid) refers to the double bond on the third last C in the chain.  Omega 6 (linoleic acid) has the double bond on the sixth last C in the chain.  It is generally considered that the omega 6:omega 3 ratio should be 4:1.
Chain shape.  The C atoms form a chain that is either curved or straight. Liquid oils are curved (cis) and solid saturated oils are straight (trans).
Cis shape.  The hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bond and so the oils have a curved structure and cant “pack flat”, i.e. they always remain a liquid.
Trans shape. Hydrogen atoms are chemically added on opposite sides of the double bond to keep the structure straight, and allows the oil to “pack flat” and become a solid at room temperature e.g. to produce margarine. Trans-fatty acids can only be MUFA or PUFA but never saturated oil (because more H atoms cannot be added).  Trans-fatty acids occur to a very limited extent in nature, are never EFA. Trans-fats are chemically modified, and are not natural in nature. Food products must now be labelled because of the negative health effects of trans-fats.
Non esterified fatty acids. any fatty acid that is not esterified  (combined) with glycerol to form a triglyceride.

Common Fatty Acids


Chemical Names and Descriptions of some Common Fatty Acids

Common Name

Carbon
Atoms

Double
Bonds

 

Sources

Butyric acid

4

0

 

butterfat

Caproic Acid

6

0

 

butterfat

Caprylic Acid

8

0

 

coconut oil

Capric Acid

10

0

 

coconut oil

Lauric Acid

12

0

 

coconut oil

Myristic Acid

14

0

 

coconut oil

Palmitic Acid

16

0

 

palm oil

Palmitoleic Acid

16

1

 

animal fats

Stearic Acid

18

0

 

animal fats

Oleic Acid

18

1

 

olive oil

Ricinoleic acid

18

1

 

castor oil

Vaccenic Acid

18

1

 

butterfat

Linoleic Acid

18

2

 

grape seed oil

Alpha-Linolenic Acid
 (ALA)

18

3

 

flaxseed (linseed)
 oil

Gamma-Linolenic Acid 
 (GLA)

18

3

 

borage oil

Arachidic Acid

20

0

 

peanut oil,
 fish oil

Gadoleic Acid

20

1

 

fish oil

Arachidonic Acid (AA)

20

4

 

liver fats

EPA

20

5

 

fish oil

Behenic acid

22

0

 

rapeseed oil

Erucic acid

22

1

 

rapeseed oil

DHA

22

6

 

fish oil

Lignoceric acid

24

0

 

small amounts
 in most fats

Fatty acid composition of some common edible fats and oils.

Percent by weight of total fatty acids.


Oil or Fat

Unsat./Sat.
ratio

Saturated

Mono
unsaturated

Poly
unsaturated

Capric
Acid

C10:0

Lauric
Acid

C12:0

Myristic
Acid

C14:0

Palmitic
Acid

C16:0

Stearic
Acid

C18:0

Oleic
Acid

C18:1

Linoleic
Acid (ω6)

C18:2

Alpha
Linolenic
Acid (ω3)
C18:3

Almond Oil

9.7

-

-

-

7

2

69

17

-

Beef Tallow

0.9

-

-

3

24

19

43

3

1

Butterfat (cow)

0.5

3

3

11

27

12

29

2

1

Butterfat (goat)

0.5

7

3

9

25

12

27

3

1

Butterfat (human)

1.0

2

5

8

25

8

35

9

1

Canola Oil

15.7

-

-

-

4

2

62

22

10

Cocoa Butter

0.6

-

-

-

25

38

32

3

-

Cod Liver Oil

2.9

-

-

8

17

-

22

5

-

Coconut Oil

0.1

6

47

18

9

3

6

2

-

Corn Oil (Maize Oil)

6.7

-

-

-

11

2

28

58

1

Cottonseed Oil

2.8

-

-

1

22

3

19

54

1

Flaxseed Oil

9.0

-

-

-

3

7

21

16

53

Grape seed Oil

7.3

-

-

-

8

4

15

73

-

Illipe

0.6

-

-

-

17

45

35

1

-

Lard (Pork fat)

1.2

-

-

2

26

14

44

10

-

Olive Oil

4.6

-

-

-

13

3

71

10

1

Palm Oil

1.0

-

-

1

45

4

40

10

-

Palm Olein

1.3

-

-

1

37

4

46

11

-

Palm Kernel Oil

0.2

4

48

16

8

3

15

2

-

Peanut Oil

4.0

-

-

-

11

2

48

32

-

Safflower Oil*

10.1

-

-

-

7

2

13

78

-

Sesame Oil

6.6

-

-

-

9

4

41

45

-

Shea nut

1.1

-

1

-

4

39

44

5

-

Soybean Oil

5.7

-

-

-

11

4

24

54

7

Sunflower Oil*

7.3

-

-

-

7

5

19

68

1

Walnut Oil

5.3

-

-

-

11

5

28

51

5

* Not high-oleic variety.

Source: http://www.scientificpsychic.com/fitness/fattyacids1.html

Factors affecting the behaviour of oils:

Table 1: Muscle glycogen storage and utilisation in horses fed different types of fat in various experiments

Oxidaton. Saturated oils do not oxidise and create free radicals, while unsaturated oils are readily oxidised forming free radicals.

Omega 6 fatty acids are converted into ecosanoids, which are required for the formation of cell membranes, prostaglandins etc. There are good and bad ecosanoids. Omega 3 is required to support the conversion of omega 6 into good ecosainoids.  Insulin causes a shift in the enzyme balance, and promotes the formation of bad ecosanoids.  By extrapolation from human nutrition, it is recommended to feed Omega 3 oils (flaxseed, fish oil) to correct the Omega 6:Omega 3 balance, even though the correct balance in horses is not known.  Maybe it would be prudent to reduce the intake of Omega 6 from high NSC grains and seed oils containing PUFA.

Making sense of oils:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr Tim Kempton has a degree and PhD in the basic and applied aspects of nutrition and specialises in the relationships between nutrition and performance of animals. He pioneered the concept of .cool feeds. For horses in Australia with the introduction of coconut meal in the 1980.s, which is now fed extensively as a cool feed. More recently, he has researched the role of NSC in horse feeds, and is committed to providing equine education and products based on sound science to avoid harming horses with kindness, through overfeeding and underworking.