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I recently saw the term "n-3 PUFA" used in an article about supplementing fat for insulin resistant horses. It discussed a study performed at Colorado State University where "n-3 PUFAs" were shown to significantly reduce insulin levels. Great news! But what in the world is an n-3 PUFA?
Allow me to simplify. First, PUFA stands for "polyunsaturated fatty acid." All fatty substances contain a combination, in varying amounts, of three types of fatty acids:
There are two main types of PUFAs, which are named based on their chemical structure: Omega 3 or Omega 6. The Greek letter, omega, is often symbolized in the literature by an "n" followed by the number. The omega 6 PUFA, (symbolized by n-6), known as linoleic acid is important because the horse cannot produce it; therefore, it is considered "essential" and must be in the diet. A problem occurs when the diet contains too much - high amounts of linoleic acid (an n-6 PUFA) can lead to inflammation. Oils from soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower, and wheat germ are very high in this specific fatty acid. Omega 3 (n-3) PUFAs are found in three predominant dietary forms:
ALA is also "essential" and can be converted to the other two n-3 PUFAs.
Back to the good news - while all fat is high in calories, foods that are high in n-3 PUFAs can lower blood insulin levels, which helps reduce fat storage and lessen the risk of laminitis.
Please listen to the recorded teleseminar, "A Clear View of Fat - Types, Sources, and Benefits" for a great deal more information. Also, read the article, Fat is Fat, Right? Check Your Omegas!
For permission to reprint this article, in part or in its entirety, please contact Dr. Juliet Getty directly at Gettyequinenutrition@gmail.com.
Getty Equine Nutrition, LLC
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.
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Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist offering nutrition services for all life stages and integrative support for disorders and diseases. Your horse's quality of life is Dr. Getty's priority.
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