- Best Trait = blend of plant based and marine based antioxidants
- Worst Trait = low dosage of DHA and EPA compared to other products
Consider this product if…
- Your horse has no access to green pasture.
- Your horse’s immune system needs support due to intense performance demand, allergies, or presence of disease.
- Your horse battles with chronic inflammation.
Why Review this Product?
I’ve used this product before- back when I was working for a company that marketed this product under another name. It was my top choice after researching a myriad of other omega-3 supplements and for the fact that I hate mixing oils. I never saw results worthy of the cost, but that was most likely due to the fact that my horse was on nearly 24/7 pasture where omega-3’s are already rich. It was time to update my understanding of this product and compare it more rigorously with other products like it. I do recommend an omega-3 fatty acid source in many situations.
The Actual Review in 5 Parts
Company Information & Communication
I find the nutritionists behind Stride® Animal Health to be helpful, practical, and very well educated. Each time that I’ve reached out to their PhD nutritionist, I’ve gotten immediate and generous support. How much of that was because they were already familiar with me is unknown, but I would recommend this company any day. My only word of caution is that, in my opinion, they are a little too quick to recommend a supplement for every solution. Before you know it, you could be adding multiple supplements to your cart!
Their return policy is cumbersome. You must first submit a “Returned Goods Authorization” which is basically approval from the company to return, and then pay your own shipping back, minus the cost of shipping the product to you, minus 10% restocking fee. You might as well plan on keeping the product and eating the cost!
I ask every feed/supplement company to describe any third-party regulators overseeing the quality, safety or efficacy of their products. Not many companies respond, but Stride Animal Health did within 12 hours. According to SAH, their manufacturing location is regulated by FSMA, HACCP, cGMP, OSHA, NASC, and AAFCO and comes with their own quality control employee who’s sole task is ensuring good manufacturing practices. It appears that Stride Animal Health is proud of their manufacturing practices and that increases my confidence in the supplement product.
The SAH Fish Oil Factor comes with a 25 gram scoop. Recommendations are divided for horses in various life stages (i.e. foal, performance, broodmare, stallion), but not for mature body weight. If we compare my standard 1,100 lb performance horse in moderate work, we would feed 2-4 scoops (50-100 grams; roughly 1/5th to 1/4th of a pound) per day. I’m concerned that the dosage recommendation is low considering that most studies using omega-3 from fish oil used higher doses than what is supplied in the 25 grams scoop of Fish Oil Factor.
One thing that I like about this product is the mixed offering of omega-3 sources from flax, rice bran, and fish oil. Fish oil by itself can be very expensive and sometimes unpalatable, so blending it with plant sources is a good idea. Plus, it makes “baggie” creation easier as there is no messy oil to mix.
There is only a dusting of Vitamin E in this product. At 200 IU/lb however, or roughly 44 IU/4 scoops, this is NOT a functional Vitamin E supplement.
The only meaningful guarantees on this product are the omega-3 (20% min), DHA (3.5%) and EPA (5.2%). This means that there is 20 grams of omega-3, 3.5 grams of DHA and 5.2 grams of EPA in a 100 gram (4 scoop) serving. Is this enough?
A study published in December 2019 in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science used 16 grams per day of DHA supplementation and saw some indication of metabolic improvement (Elzinga et al., 2019). Another study published in 2014 used 26.6 grams of DHA (Ross-Jones et al., 2014). A final third study by Hess, Braun, and Heckelman (2019) used 10 grams of DHA in exercised horses. Most signs lead to the conclusion that 3.5 grams of DHA per day in a supplement may be suboptimal.
The best way to buy this product is in bulk. Choosing the 25 lb bucket on http://www.strideanimalhealth.com charges $210 and this does include FREE shipping. This is 114 servings at the 4 scoop recommended dose. Therefore, the cost per day for a 1,100 lb active performance horse is $1.84.
How does that compare to other products on the market? Compared to two other fish oil based omega-3 supplements on the market that recommend 1-2 ounces of liquid per day, this daily cost is ok. Depending on how you buy the liquid supplements and at which rate you feed it, you’d be spending between $1.00 to $3.34 per day, so the SAH Fish Oil Factor is not out of line. You could go the feed store and buy a 50 pound bag of flaxseed for around $36, grind it yourself at home, and spend about $0.72 per day to feed a pound. However, you would not get the DHA/EPA from the fish oil.
I would go back to this product again if my horse was unlucky enough to be removed from pasture. I like that they’ve blended seed oils and marine based oils for an affordable omega-3 product that is easy to mix in. As I mentioned before, I hate mixing oils. I would, however, be prepared to feed the higher recommended levels of this product if I was going to use it.
Elzinga, S.E., A. Betancourt, J.C.Stewart, M.H. Altman, V.D. Barker, et al. 2019. Effects of Docosahexaenoic Acid–Rich Microalgae Supplementation on Metabolic and Inflammatory Parameters in Horses With Equine Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. Volume 83.
Ross-Jones, T., T. Hess, J. Rexford, N. Ahrens, T. Engle, and K. Hansen. 2014. Effects of Omega-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation on Equine Synovial Fluid Fatty Acid Composition and Prostaglandin E2. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 35:6, 779-783.
Hess. T., S. Braun, and K. Herkelman. 2019. The Effects of Various Levels of Docosahexaenoic Acid on Inflammatory Markers in Conditioned Horses During Lactate Threshold Tests. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 72:64-71.