Camelina Sativa Boosts Liver Detox
Camelina sativa seeds are the main ingredient in all Excel Supplements products. All of our Camelina sativa seeds are cold-pressed to produce Camelina oil for our horse supplements. Another name for the Camelina Sativa seed is the “Gold of Pleasure,” and the seed’s two main uses are for animal feeds and Camelina oil.
There are multiple benefits to supplementing your horse with Camelina oil. One of the perks of camelina sativa is that it helps reduce inflammation within the horse’s body. Secondly, it improves a horse’s coat quality and shine. In 2014, scientists discovered yet another benefit of the sativa seeds. The study’s conclusion is that Camelina sativa seed meal aids in the body’s liver detoxification process.
“In a University of Illinois study, researchers found that compounds in Camelina sativa seeds boosted the liver detoxification enzymes by almost five times.”
No Gall Bladder, No Problem
A horse’s liver is expected to multitask daily by completing several jobs in a 24-hour timeline. The liver’s function is essential to the horse’s survival. One of the liver’s purposes is to produce bile to help break down and absorb consumed fats. Most animals possess a gall bladder to assist with this process. However, horses are one of the only mammals who do not have a gall bladder.
The gall bladder’s function is to help store excess bile produced by the liver until it needs to aid in digestion. Since horses do not have gall bladders, their bile secretes directly from the liver into their intestines. Extra bile cannot be stored once the digestion process begins. “This is one of the reasons why horses need to be slowly adapted to high-fat diets. Therefore, bile volume and composition need to be altered over time to allow for proper digestion of a high-fat diet. Sudden increases in fat content of a horse’s diet leads to poor digestibility of fats and gastric upset” (Dr. Wendy Pearson). However, do not let this deceive you; this excess bile is important. It keeps the small intestine alkaline instead of acidic, which allows for healthy food digestion.
The Liver Multitasks
Additionally, another function of the liver is that it filters the blood by removing unhealthy materials from the bloodstream. The liver cannot store these toxins on its own, so it prepares them for elimination in another way. This daily detoxification process allows the horse to excrete the filtered toxins through urination or feces. The liver moves on to its final job once the detoxification process is completed.
Lastly, the liver’s final role is to form glucose from all meals and store them as glycogen. This allows the horse’s body to convert the glycogen back to glucose to use as energy for exercise. In addition to normal daily functions, the liver is the only organ that regenerates itself after damage. The liver also makes up 1.6% of a horse’s total body weight, making it one of their larger organs!
Camelina Sativa for the Win
In 2014, scientists started to look for alternative ways to speed up the liver detoxification process. In a University of Illinois study, researchers found that compounds in Camelina sativa seeds boosted the liver detoxification enzymes by almost five times. They discovered that “the compounds in the seed were a mixture of phytochemicals that work together far better than they do individually. The seed meal is a promising nutritional supplement. Its bioactive ingredients increase the liver’s ability to clear foreign toxins and products. This could provide a potential anti-cancer benefit” (College of Agriculture).
Elizabeth Jeffrey is a University of Illinois professor of nutritional toxicology who led the study. Jeffrey and USDA scientist, Mark Berhow, made it their mission to find a use for excess Camelina sativa seed meal left over from environmentally-friendly biofuel. The scientists used sulforaphane as a control in all of the tests they conducted. Sulforaphane is the cancer-protective part of broccoli. It is known to induce NQO1, the detoxifying enzyme. “Like camelina seed meal, broccoli contains the flavonoid quercetin. They decided to look for the synergy between sulforaphane and quercetin” (College of Agriculture).
Consequently, most oilseed crops (camelina, rapseed, and canola) contain some of the same bioactive ingredients found in broccoli and other vegetables. These ingredients are in the form of glucosinolates and flavonoids. The three oilseeds mentioned above possess the same ingredients as the broccoli “in nearly the same quantities,” said Jeffery.
Helping the Detox Process Along
In the first study of camelina sativa’s bioactive properties, Berhow isolated the four major components from the seed meal. This included three glucosinolates and the flavonoid quercetin. Once in the lab, researchers tested these components on mouse liver cells both individually and together. They discovered that “all four major camelina bioactives induced the detoxifying liver enzyme NQO1 when they were used alone. However, when a particular glucosinolate, GSL9, paired with the flavonoid quercetin, there was a unifying effect” (College of Agriculture). Post doctoral student Nilanjan Das said, “When these two bioactives combined, induction of the detoxifying liver enzyme increased nearly fivefold” (College of Agriculture).
Additionally, Das noted that the combined effect of quercetin and sulforaphane is far greater when used together rather than individually. This demonstrated the high importance of eating whole foods to the professors and scientists. “Thanks to the synergy among its bioactive components, whole broccoli appeared to be more powerful than pure sulforaphane that a person might buy at a vitamin store or on the Internet,” Das said (College of Agriculture).
In conclusion, the curious scientists found a beneficial use for the excess Camelina Sativa seeds. By adding the camelina sativa seed meal into his feed, a horse’s liver would be able to filter his system and blood faster than normal. Consequently, this allows his body to recover quickly and return to homeostasis faster.
The study mentioned above is published online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
About the Author
Nicole Mandracchia (aka “Smiley”) lives and breathes horses and horse shows. She rode and showed in Zone 2 as a junior, attended Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ, and competed on their IHSA and ANRC teams. Nicole spent over fifteen years grooming, managing, and riding for several top professionals in the industry, including: Robin Rost Brown, Val Renihan, Missy Clark and John Brennan’s North Run, and Amanda Steege. She regularly follows the A-rated horse show circuit up and down the East Coast, including Florida and all the major indoor finals. Nicole is also a frequent blogger for The Chronicle of the Horse magazine.
Nicole received five grooming awards throughout her career: The Sussex County Farm and Horse Show (2013), two at The Capital Challenge Horse Show (2018), WEF (2019), and The National Horse Show (2019). Nicole’s most memorable indoors’ experience was at The 2018 National Horse Show when both of the horses she was grooming claimed a tricolor in their respective divisions. Lafitte de Muze was champion in the Green 3’6″ Green Hunter division, and Zara was reserve champion in the 3’6″ Green Conformation Hunter division. In addition to her barn duties, Nicole helped run a successful A-rated and C-rated horse show series in Augusta, NJ. Nicole owns a Dalmatian named Maddie, and her boyfriend, Lee, also works the horse show scene as an in-gate starter. Writing is a passion of hers and she enjoys sharing tips, funny stories, and advice on anything horse-related!