Camelina (Camelina Sativa) is a plant native to Europe; it has been used for thousands of years as food for both humans and livestock. In fact the Tollund Man, discovered in a bog in Denmark in 1950, who had lived in the 4th century BC, had barley, linseed, camelina, knotweed, bristlegrass, and camomile in his GI tract, suggesting based on the variety of seeds that his last meal came as part of a celebration. With the nutritional benefits of camelina seed oil to humans historically established, it’s not really surprising that camelina oil for horses makes sense as well.
Camelina has many names including: gold of pleasure, false flax, wild flax, German sesame, and Siberian oilseed. Camelina fell out of favor beginning in the mid 20th century when rapeseed and sunflower replaced Camelina because rapeseed and sunflower oils were easier to hydrogenate, making them more useful than camelina in the food processing industry.
Camelina is found both wild and cultivated in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, South America, and New Zealand.
The recent revival of Camelina cultivation came in part because of the need to develop more biofuels. Early experiments by the US Navy and US Air force shows potential to use camelina-based jet fuel as it can reduce net carbon emissions by 80%.
In the analysis of Camelina oil, researchers discovered exceptionally high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which is uncommon in vegetable sources. Corn, rice and soy for instance have very low omega-3 fatty acids, and sunflower oil has none.
Camelina oil provides a balanced fatty acid profile of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids; particularly higher amounts of omega 3 than omega 6. Camelina provides an almost ideal ratio of 2:1:2 of omega 3:6:9. But what makes camelina even more special is the high amounts of vitamin E including alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, and gamma-tocopherol. In fact camelina oil is higher in Vitamin E than sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.
What Makes Camelina Oil for Horses a Great Choice:
Camelina oil is unique in that it provides a Vitamin E profile that includes gamma-tocopherol. Gamma tocopherol is more potent in inhibiting specific inflammatory cytokines than alpha tocopherol. (1) Other studies have shown gamma tocopherol and its major metabolite can reduce inflammation by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme (COX-2) which is central to inflammatory processes.(2)*
University of Arkansas researchers discovered that a blend of tocopherols is superior to singular alpha- tocopherol in reducing oxidative stress and damage in muscle tissue. (3)*
Providing a food-form of Vitamin E tocopherols, particularly alpha and gamma, ensures higher bioavailability, increased antioxidant protection, and reduced oxidative stress in muscles. The ability to reduce the pro-inflammatory cytokines can result in reduced inflammation and tissue destruction. The inhibition of the COX-2 enzyme by metabolites of gamma tocopherol can be beneficial in reduction of inflammation in tissues.*
Camelina oil with its high omega 3 content, and its high Vitamin E content is very stable. It can withstand temperatures to 320 degrees, just like coconut oil.
When to use Camelina oil:
Camelina oil is an excellent fatty acid choice for horses with PSSM and EPSM due to its balance of omega 3, 6, 9, and the high content of Vitamin E.
Camelina oil is an important fatty acid blend to use in rotation with coconut oil and hemp seed oil. Rotation of healthy oils can help reduce picky eater syndrome.
Camelina oil is of particular benefit to performance horses because their requirements for antioxidant protection and reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation are important in maintaining muscle health and performance.
Differences between hemp oil and camelina oil for horses:
Camelina oil provides a higher ratio of omega 3:6 than hemp seed oil. Camelina provides a higher amount of vitamin E tocopherols than hemp seed oil. However, camelina oil does not provide GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid). Hemp seed oil is one of few plants that provide this important fatty acid that is converted by the body into the anti inflammatory prostaglandins (PGE-1). Misoprositol, a drug commonly used as part of treatment for hind gut ulcer horses, is a synthetic PGE-1.
Hemp seed oil provides the GLA the body converts into the beneficial PGE-1.
Because of hemp seed oil’s GLA content it is an important oil to use in horses with hind gut ulcers and acidosis. Camelina oil cannot be used as an alternative oil to hemp seed oil for horses with hind gut ulcer issues because it does not contain GLA.
However, camelina oil can be used in conjunction with hemp seed oil to provide increased antioxidant support to the body.
BioStar’s Gold Star EQ camelina oil for horses:
- cold pressed, never heat processed
- not solvent-extracted
- GMO free
- extremely stable with a shelf life of 1 year after opening
- available in certified organic or conventional*
- Organic camelina oil is sourced from the USA
- Conventional camelina oil is sourced from Canada
*(Due to the rarity of camelina oil that is certified organic, supplies are limited. We are working with farms in Minnesota to increase production of organic camelina oil).
Due to the high quality of this oil, only 1-2 ounces once or twice per day is needed.
- Jiang Q, Elson-Schwab I, et al. Gamma-tocopherol and its major metabolite, in contrast to alpha tocopherol, inhibit cyclooxygenase activity in macrophages and epithelial cells. 2000. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, Oct 10; 97(21) 11494-9
- Jiang Q, Ames BN. Gamma tocopherol, but no alpha tocopherol decreases pro-inflammatory eicosanoids and inflammation damage in rats. 2003. FASEBJ. May,17 (8):816-22
- Chen H, Li D, Saldeen T, et al. Mixed tocopherol preparation is superior to alpha tocopherol alone against hypoxia-reoxygenation injury. 2002. Biochem Biophy Res Commun. Feb 22; 291(2):349-53
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.