Blue-green algae is a single-celled food that’s brimming with nutritional value. It can give your horse’s health a big boost.
One day last year, quite suddenly, Deseo could barely move when coming in from the pasture. Other than a few shoulder issues in earlier years, the 16-year-old Peruvian Paso gelding was a beautifully sound barefoot horse with few health challenges. An easy keeper, he received no grain, just Bermuda grass hay, free choice minerals, a daily vitamin/mineral supplement and access to Arizona’s sparse rocky pasture.
The Problem and the Approach
Working with our vet, we determined Deseo had pulled his shoulder out of alignment and, perhaps due to the sudden lack of movement, his front coffin bones had rotated about five degrees. After adjusting his shoulder, the vet ran an insulin resistance test, which came back negative. Deseo has always been heavily crested over his neck, with a heavy body that looks as if he might have been gelded late, so a hormonal imbalance was not out of the question. Expressing some concern about a potential insulinoma, the veterinarian wanted to run more tests. However, given the owner’s lack of a bottomless pocketbook, and the possibility that the founder was caused by the sudden stress to Deseo’s metabolic system, I convinced the vet to give us 90 days to show we could stabilize him nutritionally.
We protected Deseo’s tender hooves with Hoofwing boots and fed him Amazon Herb’s Recovazon to lower his pain levels. Along with his daily Dynamite vitamin/ mineral supplement, we gave him blue-green algae added to dampened Bermuda pellets. Within a few days, Deseo exhibited no more pain. The heat in his feet quickly dissipated and our trimmer was delighted with how rapidly the obvious rotation grew out. Deseo is now back to normal and being ridden barefoot through the rocky Arizona terrain.
Blue-Green Algae – What Does It Do?
Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) has been growing in popularity as a supplement for horses. Most of the discussion revolves around how well it can support the growth and repair of damaged hooves. It provides an amazing amount of nutrition packed into a concentrated form. But blue-green algae does much more than promote hoof growth. Scientific studies have shown that the highly digestible nutrients in blue-green algae provide a wide variety of health benefits:
• High quantities of chlorophyll help the blood carry more oxygen through the body.
• Essential fatty acids transport oxygen, assist with elimination, and reduce inflammation.
• B vitamins lower stress, support digestion and a healthy nervous system, and aid in the assimilation of nutrients.
• Detoxification agents bind up heavy metals and aflatoxin and cleanse them from the body.
Blue-green algae also improves the function and circulation of immune cells. It has powerful antioxidant capabilities that protect healthy cells and promote cellular repair.
The Big Three
Blue-green algae refers to three primary single-cell foods. There is some confusion about the differences between them. All contain significant amounts of chlorophyll, essential fatty acids, active enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, proteins, complex sugars and phytonutrients. The main three forms used by humans and horses are:
1 AFA (aphanizomenon flos-aquae), a fresh water cyanobacteria. In the US, the primary source of AFA is Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon.
2 Chlorella, a dark green algae with the distinction of having the highest concentration of chlorophyll of any natural substance. Primarily grown and harvested in warm water cement ponds, the crucial factor for chlorella users is that the tough cell walls must be physically broken down, without heat, so as to retain the high nutrient levels.
3 Spirulina, a micro salt water algae. Most cultivated spirulina is produced in open channel warm water raceway ponds, with paddle wheels used to agitate the water.
Know your Source
For me, the primary determination for which blue-green algae we use is sourcing. I am a big believer in both the nutritional and energetic benefits of wild-crafted and harvested foods. As with any supplement, it is important to find a reputable harvester and check what you are buying is 100% pure, without any added fillers, chemicals or additives.
After reviewing the blue-green algae sources available to us in recent years, we chose E3AFA for Horses by E3Live. It comes as a loose flake, which means it has not been subjected to the heat and pressure of processing, like wafers or tablets have. It is wild harvested and cold processed, which does not break down the nutrients.
One of our recent success stories involved Breeze, an eight-year-old Morgan mare who was referred to us because she had not passed manure on her own for almost a month. She was originally diagnosed with an impaction, but subsequent evaluation determined that she had broken her spine and damaged the spinal cord below the sacrum. Her tail could be laid flat along her spine and she showed no lower intestinal peristalsis. Her anus was completely flaccid. The owners had been flushing her daily with a hose and Breeze had developed a successful technique of stretching and rolling to pass manure balls while lying down.
We started her on a daily regimen of Photopuncture Light Therapy and added three tablespoons a day of blue-green algae to her food. Within 30 days, she was able to poop normally and could move her tail to one side. By day 90 she had about 85% use of her tail. She came back to being a strong, healthy mare. I credit the blue-green algae with both repairing the spine on a cellular level and helping to lower pain and inflammation in the area.
Any horse in our care that shows coat or hoof problems, endocrine issues, or is simply older and having difficulty maintaining weight, has blue-green algae added to his diet. When you try it, watch your horse’s feet. They are a great indicator of health. You will be amazed by the spa important to find a reputable harvester and check what you are buying is 100% pure, without any added fillers, chemicals or additives.
When you try it, watch your horse’s feet. They are a great indicator of health. You will be amazed by the speed and health of the new growth!
Kay Aubrey-Chimene, RMT, is the Director of Grand Adventures Ranch, a Holistic Equine Wellness and Recovery Center specializing in helping horses with cancer, DSLD, founder and other severe illnesses. On-site internships and classes teach a holistic approach while working with ozone, bodywork, light therapy, detoxification and nutrition. GrandAdventuresRanch.com