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Intolerance to Flax?

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  • Intolerance to Flax?

    Do you have or have experienced a horse that could not tolerate flax and if so, what were the symptoms?
    Last edited by BornToRide; Jan. 19, 2009, 08:33 PM.

  • #2
    I know of two, off the top of my head.

    1) Gets sensitive in his flanks, basically acts like he has has a hind gut ulcer. He also gets aggressive but that could be from pain. Horse has an interesting history in general, is also problematic on soy.

    2) I think has a true allergy to it as he becomes very spooky on even a small amount.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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    • #3
      Do you worry about supplementing omega 3's in the winter to a flax intolerant horse? If so, what do you use?

      I guess the first question is do you worry about that for any horse?

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Who? I? No I am just curious because I had problems with it, thanks to the phyto-estrogens and I always wondered if some horses might too. One onwer told me that she felt her two mares that were on it developed more lose ligaments becaus of it.
        Last edited by BornToRide; Jan. 19, 2009, 08:22 PM.

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        • #5
          Who? you-EqT-anyone else interested in answering!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LMH View Post
            Do you worry about supplementing omega 3's in the winter to a flax intolerant horse? If so, what do you use?

            I guess the first question is do you worry about that for any horse?
            Nope, I don't. Most of my horses get 8 oz. of Envision a day which should cover that, along their grass and hay. But the horse in question, he doesn't get any supplemental omega's and he seems just fine.

            Now.. Dan was a flax monster. When he was recovering flax was a huge part of his diet. As he got better and better I was able to cut it back and then he switched to the Envision, too.
            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
            ---
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BornToRide View Post
              Who? I? No I am just curious because I had problems with it, thanks to the phyto-estrogens and I always wondered if some horses might too. One onwer told me that she felt her two mares that were on it developed more igaments becaus of it.
              Interesting. The horse that I said gets sensitive in his flanks - was also ultimately treated w/hormones because he became very, very aggressive. He still gets a small dose of some natural hormone cream every day. He was a FREAK previous to this.
              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
              ---
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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              • #8
                Does flax contain phytoestrogens?

                I know soy does and I believe we have had problems here due to the phytoestrogens in soy so we have been eliminating soy...but I did add flax for the Omega 3's. Have I just added one source of phytoestrogens in place of another?
                Altamont Sport Horses
                Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
                Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
                Birmingham, AL

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Does flax contain phytoestrogens?
                  Yes, they sure do:

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytoestrogens

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Oh yes they do.

                    I have been leery of flax for quite some time now. Just like oil, I fed a lot of it at one time. Hind sight is always 20/20.

                    For most horses in moderation it seems fine. The ones who cannot tolerate it, oh WOW it is ugly. Aggression/spookiness/irritability seem to be the deal IME.

                    Dan tho'... seriously, perhaps he needed the phytoestrogens. Who knows, he was so run down at the time. Hard to say.
                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                    ---
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I have been leery of flax for quite some time now. Just like oil, I fed a lot of it at one time. Hind sight is always 20/20.
                      I have also always been, because of the effect it had on me, which was primarily increased breast tenderness. I could never understand that something that was supposed to be so anti-inflammatory would actually increase breast inflammation..........if I stopped using it, the next cycle the breast tenderness was much, much milder.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I had a stud colt about 4 years go who would break out in horrible bumps and want to colic everytime I fed it to him. I quit feeding it after that. Just didn't want to battle that with anyone else.
                        Unbridled Oaks - Champion Sport Ponies and Welsh Cobs

                        Like us on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/unbridledoaks

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                        • #13
                          If I have a horse come in who has really messed up skin, while I am getting their minerals into them I will give them straight flax. No more than 8 oz. a day. Once they are doing ok I cut it out.

                          The fat supplement I use does have flax in it. Obviously not all of my horses get it. But it also has other vegetable oils and soy oil. Again, no more than 8 oz. a day. Seriously... I don't think there is a "good" source of "vegetarian fat" for horses, I think mine do so much better on a minimal fat diet. I would really have a hard time w/an EPSM horse these days and fish oil... ah I just can't do that.. just can't.

                          Some of my horses get zero fat supplementation.
                          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                          ---
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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                          • #14
                            Does flax contain phytoestrogens?
                            So does alfalfa, and clover.

                            Never had a horse that had problems with flax, other than not really wanting to eat it "plain" beyond an ounce or two.
                            Click here before you buy.

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                            • #15
                              I know of a horse (the one on the feed thread) that tested with an allergy to flax so I will assume that is the only way to be sure rather then blindly guessing.
                              http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Altamont Sport Horses View Post
                                Does flax contain phytoestrogens?

                                I know soy does and I believe we have had problems here due to the phytoestrogens in soy so we have been eliminating soy...but I did add flax for the Omega 3's. Have I just added one source of phytoestrogens in place of another?
                                My soy sensitive horses did not have any problems with up to 8 oz of flax a day. I fed it as part of their detox from the soy problems they after a veterinarian's recommendation for a diet for them. I stopped feeding it when they lost the weight they needed and their normal health was restored. I may still feed it at some point...but right now I'm not using it.

                                From what I leaned in my reading last Fall...not all plants with phytoestrogens are created equal nor have as much phytoestrogens as others...nor are all phytoestrogens as potent. Genistein in soy is particularly potent and is the isoflavone most often implicated as problematic in the actual scientific studies on the isoflavones.

                                This is from a pdf report on the effects of Phytoestrogens in Sheep and Cattle...nothing on horses as usual so we have no hard information to bas our choices on. I copied only the discussion on the different plants.

                                Estrogenic Pasture Plants

                                Most of the common legumes have been reported to
                                contain phytoestrogens. The content of phytoestrogen
                                varies, depending on a number of factors.

                                Alfalfa
                                Alfalfa (Medicago satiua) contains little phytoestro-
                                gen unless it is suffering from foliar disease. Attack
                                by aphids or fungal pathogens may cause alfalfa to
                                produce estrogenic coumestan phytoalexins, including
                                coumestrol, sativol, and 4’methoxy coumestrol. En-
                                vironmental effects such as humidity, age of the plant,
                                amount of fertilizer, or temperature affect the concen-
                                tration of coumestans through their effects on the
                                ability of the plant to resist attack by pathogens.
                                Similarly, plants with genetic resistance to attack by
                                pathogens suffer less damage, and so contain less
                                estrogenic activity (Loper et al., 1967).


                                Red Clover
                                As with subterranean clover, the main estrogenic
                                compound in red clover (Trifolium pratense) is the
                                isoflavone formononetin, which is primarily under
                                genetic control. However, environmental factors seem
                                to play a greater role, so that pasture is most
                                estrogenic in spring, and estrogenicity declines after
                                flowering. Fertilizer deficiencies that
                                impair plant growth also increase the concentration of formonone-
                                tin. As with subterranean clover, silage or hay may
                                retain considerable estrogenicity.

                                Soybean
                                Soybean ( Glycine sp.) products may contain up to
                                .25% isoflavones, mainly genistein, diadzein, and
                                glycetin, and also contain significant amounts of
                                coumestrol. A soy-based diet has been reported to
                                cause estrogenic effects in swine (Drane et al., 1981)
                                and laboratory animals (Sharma et al., 19921, but
                                there are no reports of effects in ruminants.

                                White Clover

                                There have been sporadic I reports of estrogenic
                                problems in animals grazed on white clover ( Trifo-
                                lium repens). If affected by foliar disease, white clover
                                may produce estrogenic coumestans including
                                coumes- trol, trifoliol and repensol.

                                Here's an interesting article I googled tonight.

                                http://e.hormone.tulane.edu/learning...estrogens.html

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Lots of references out there on stock grazed on clover and alfalfa having fertility problems. A few ounces of soy or flax may contain (ounce for ounce) more phytoestrogens, but how many of our animals eat alfalfa and clover by the tens of pounds per day? From what I was able to find (including the article linked above), the culprit family of isoflavones/phytoestrogens is present in ALL legumes. Just food for thought--I know I won't convince many people, but from what I'm able to gather it's not just soy and flax that contain potentially problematic levels of these substances. One must consider the amount of the stuff that's fed--ounces per day vs. kilograms per day--when calculating the possible exposure levels.
                                  Click here before you buy.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    Just food for thought--I know I won't convince many people, but from what I'm able to gather it's not just soy and flax that contain potentially problematic levels of these substances. One must consider the amount of the stuff that's fed--ounces per day vs. kilograms per day--when calculating the possible exposure levels.
                                    I agree-and CONSTANT exposure to the same feedstuffs day in-day out. I am telling you there is something very good about seasonal rotation of what you feed. I have no reports, it just makes sense!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                      The fat supplement I use does have flax in it. Obviously not all of my horses get it. But it also has other vegetable oils and soy oil. Again, no more than 8 oz. a day. Seriously... I don't think there is a "good" source of "vegetarian fat" for horses,
                                      what are your thoughts on cocosoya?
                                      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                        Lots of references out there on stock grazed on clover and alfalfa having fertility problems. A few ounces of soy or flax may contain (ounce for ounce) more phytoestrogens, but how many of our animals eat alfalfa and clover by the tens of pounds per day? From what I was able to find (including the article linked above), the culprit family of isoflavones/phytoestrogens is present in ALL legumes. Just food for thought--I know I won't convince many people, but from what I'm able to gather it's not just soy and flax that contain potentially problematic levels of these substances. One must consider the amount of the stuff that's fed--ounces per day vs. kilograms per day--when calculating the possible exposure levels.
                                        I know of horses that have had trouble on clover...developed udders like mind did on soy last Summer. If you kept reading, you also read it's mainly a problem with clover in the Spring...not year round. I've never heard of a horse developing an udder on alfalfa hay or pellets (and I've talked to a number of vets on the topic) and if you read that scientific paper, you'll see that alfalfa has very little in the way of phytoestrogens unless the plant is infected. Soy has up to .25/lb of phytoestrogens of dry matter..that's a lot of isoflavones per pound!

                                        Wouldn't it be nice if we had some real research on horses? I hear what you are saying about consuming lbs of alfalfa versus ounces of something like flax or a couple lbs of soy in a RB...but we don't have the hard evidence of how much they are getting in alfalfa versus soy versus flax versus clover nor what the different estrogenic compounds in each plant actually do to a horse...one may have no effect and another may be particular potent. Soy has been well researched and has a crapload of negative findings done by real scientists. I have not seen much out there on flax or alfalfa as health warnings at least not to people.

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