In 2016 we first introduced the Balanstri DBS test for animals. At first, the test was only available for a few veterinarians and together with them, we searched for a small but interesting control group to test as a subject for this white paper. In the meantime, we have a really good database of results in the EU and Canada and we will update this white paper soon with more results.
Table 1 shows the 11 fatty acids (98 % of the fatty acids in the blood) that are measured by the Balanstri dried blood spot test for animals, using horses as an example. The focus of the test is on the essential polyunsaturated Omega-6 and Omega- 3 fatty acids (8 of the 11 fatty acids measured), but also saturated- (C16:0, C18:0) and monounsaturated (C18:1) fatty acids are measured.
The composition of the 11 fatty acids jointly influence the flexibility of cell membranes, a condition that is essential for active, healthy animals. Flexible blood cell membranes are needed to bring blood to all parts of the animal body, since the diameter of a blood cell is comparable to the diameter of the smallest capillary blood vessels. Stiff blood cells may not penetrate the capillaries, and the animal may not get the blood to all parts needed for optimal performance.
The inflammatory climate influences both acute and chronic conditions. The inflammatory climate is characterized by the composition of polyunsaturated long chain fatty acids (>= 20 carbon atoms in the fatty acids chain) of the Omega-6 type (C20:3 + C20:4) and Omega-3 type (C20:5 + C22:5 + C22:6). These fatty acids are all measured by the Balanstri dried blood spot (DBS) test.
The Balanstri Health Concept guidelines are consistent with the principle of “Safe Feed forAnimals”. The composition of Balanstri oil does not induce changes in lipid peroxidation in the animal body, which might raise concern in relation to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, as well as other chronic conditions.
The oxidative stability of Balanstri is secured by the combination of fish oil and a specially selected olive oil. During inflammation, several cell types secrete phospholipase A2 that catalyzes lipid oxidation in bad cholesterol, the LDL particles in blood. Lipid oxidation results in the generation of aldehydes that substitute lysine residues in the apolipoprotein B-100 moiety.
Lipid together with protein oxidation in bad LDL cholesterol results in the generation of the harmful oxidized LDL. A cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of olive oil polyphenols (standardized by the content of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives) and protection of LDL particles from oxidative damage. This principle has been built into Balanstri oil, a principle that also works to stabilize the oil against lipid peroxidation on the shelf, as seen in Figure 1.
Dietary Index ((SAFA + MUFA)/LC-omega-3)
The fatty acid composition of blood cell membranes is in equilibrium with the fatty acid composition of whole blood. In cell membranes saturated- (SAFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) provide stiffness due to the shape of these fatty acids, while polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) provide flexibility.
Long chain omega-3 PUFA (LC- omega-3) and long chain omega-6 PUFA (LC- omega-6) are important structural components of cell membranes and contribute to various membrane functions such as fluidity, permeability, activity of membrane-bound enzymes and receptors, and signal transduction.
The sources of LC-omega- 3 and LC-omega-6 are essential and must be supplied through the diet. A normal diet provides a surplus of both LC-omega-6, SAFA and MUFA. These components shape the cell membrane functionality when LC-omega-3 is depleted. The food supplement Balanstri provides LC-omega- 3 to a normal diet, increasing the LC-omega-3 in blood. Finding a new equilibrium with the fatty acid composition of the whole blood, many of the SAFA and MUFA in cell membranes will be substituted by LC-omega-3 making the cell membrane more flexible and functional.
Table 2 and Figure 2 show that Balanstri added to the diet is effective in reducing the ratio between (SAFA + MUFA) and LC-omega-3 in whole blood independent of breed, providing flexibility and functionality to cell membranes. The data also shows that horses with reported physical problems have an elevated ratio between (SAFA + MUFA) and LC-omega-3 in whole blood. The exception being the Shetland pony Swift, who’s problem may arise from othercauses than fat metabolism.
Pro-inflammatory index (% LC-omega-6 of total LC-PUFA)
Many horses are afflicted with chronic lifestyle ailments such as problems of behavior, stomach problems, stiff muscles, respiratory system problems, itchy skin, summer eczema, tendon problems, joint problems, autoimmune diseases, dietary allergies and obesity. Most of these problems are caused by chronic inflammation supported by poor eating, poor sleeping schedules, daily stress and more. Chronic inflammation is characterized by the imbalance between the ratios of anti-inflammatory versus pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. Eicosanoids are hormones, which in turn control other hormones and practically all have important functions in the body, e.g. the central nervous system and the immune system. Thus, they are very important for good health and well-being.
The key link between diet, inflammation and eicosanoids is that the pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are derived from Arachidonic acid (AA), an essential LC-omega-6 fatty acid originating from plants, and the anti-inflammatory eicosanoids that are generated from Eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), an essential LC-omega-3 fatty acid originating mainly from marine sources. Normal diets are often pro-inflammatory containing more Omega-6 than Omega-3, and should be balanced by increased intake of anti-inflammatory LC-omega-3. The % LC- omega-6 of total LC-PUFA (LC-omega-3 + LC-omega-6) in whole blood provides a picture of the pro-inflammatory status of the diet.
Table 3 and Figure 3 show that Balanstri added to the diet is effective in reducing the % LC- omega-6 of total LC-PUFA in whole blood independent of breed, thus reducing the dietary pro- inflammatory climate. The data also shows that most horses with reported physical problems have an elevated dietary pro-inflammatory climate in the whole blood. The exception beingthe Shetland pony Swift, who’s problem may arise from other causes than fat metabolism.
Horses are plant eating animals. When using Balanstri oil to reduce, to restore or to maintain the dietary and pro-inflammatory indicators of fat metabolism, we need some extra information to be able to provide a correct recommendation for each horse. Thus, the horse owner, when retrieving the fatty acids analysis result by introducing his personal code onto www.Balanstri.com, will be requested to fill in an online questionnaire providing information about the Horse name, Breed, Gender, Age, Weight, Condition, Exercise level and Known chronic lifestyle ailments (see Appendix 1).
To reduce, restore or maintain the dietary and pro-inflammatory indicators of fat metabolism, our Balanstri oil recommendation is primarily based on the body weight of the horse, adjusted for 1) Exercise level, 2) Condition, 3) Known chronic lifestyle ailments, 4) Dietary indicator result and 5) Pro-inflammatory indicator result.
A basic daily intake of Balanstri oil of 0.05 ml oil per kg body weight (= 25 ml for a 500 kg horse), provides 0.01 g LC-Omega-3 (EPA+DHA) per kg body weight from fish oil (= 5 g LC-Omega-3 for a 500 kg horse). The LC-Omega-3 are protected by 0.02 mg polyphenols from olive oil per kg body weight (= 10 mg polyphenols for a 500 kg horse).
Table 4 provides the ml Balanstri oil recommendations for each of the 20 horses in our example. After treatment as recommended for 120 days, a new test may indicate improvements that may lead to reduced recommended daily maintenance intake of Balanstri for life.
Horses with reported known chronic lifestyle ailments have elevated dietary- and pro- inflammatory indicator in whole blood. Balanstri oil is effective in reducing the dietary indicator in whole blood independent of breed, providing flexibility and functionality to cell membranes. Balanstri oil is effective in reducing the pro-inflammatory indicator in whole blood independent of breed, thus reducing the dietary pro-inflammatory climate.
SINTEF – Fisheries and Aquaculture – August 2010. Oil stability index, AOCS Official Method Cd12b-92, average of 3 analysis at 70°C
The scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific panel. Protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress. EFSA Journal 2011;9(4):2033)
George E. Billman, Jing X. Kang and Alexander Leaf, 1999. Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death by Dietary Pure omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Dogs. Circulation, 1999;99:2452-2457
C.E. Lenox and J.E. Bauer. 2013. Potential Adverse Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Dogs and Cats. J Vet Intern Med 2013;27:217–226.
Appendix 1 – Balanstri Online questionnaire
□ Horse □ Dog
Weight in kg (estimation): ……………….
Use of Balanstri: □ Yes □ No
□ No □ Low □ Medium □ Intensive
□ Too skinny □ Skinny □ Good □ Heavy □ Too heavy
Known chronic lifestyle problem:
□ Joints □ Coat □ Stomach □ Tendon □ Muscles □ Immune system □ Allergy □ Respiratory system □ Particularities/other
Explain Particularities/other: …………