THE QUESTION OF SALT IS OFTEN RAISED AND TENDS TO BE AN ENDLESS TOPIC OF DISCUSSION
Salt is used for both electrolytes and a crucial mineral in the equine diet. Sodium chloride content of salt is measured in the brain and this signals the horse to drink. If the levels are low in the blood concentration the signal for the horse to drink will be greatly reduced. It is crucial for the nervous system, digestion and muscle function of your horse and the chloride can assist the blood with balancing the pH levels.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SALTS.
Salt or Sodium Chloride is a crystalline mineral that is 40% chloride and 60% sodium. There can be risks with either too much or not enough salt in the diet. Salt consumption assists the brain and the nerves when performing essential functions such as electrical impulses and maintaining fluid balance and muscle function. Most dietary salts are harvested from mineral rich sources including salt mines and by evaporating sea water. In addition to flavouring to your meal, salt serves as a preservative by preventing bacterial growth.
NORMAL TABLE SALT Is extracted from natural deposits, and it’s heated to 649 degrees Celsius. A lot of the impurities and trace minerals are removed during the process. As the salt is crushed. Regular table salt often includes additives called anti caking agents and this assists with keeping the lumps from forming, so it is actually not as natural as what you may think. Food grade table salt consists of 97%. Sodium chloride and it also includes iodine.
SEA SALT Mainly consists of sodium chloride, but unlike table salt, the sea salt is less processed, and it is a lot coarser. It’s made by evaporating sea water. Sea salt contains iron, potassium and zinc. You will sometimes notice darker varieties of sea salt and it generally features a higher concentration of impurities and trace minerals. Now these can affect the taste of the salt, but not its nutrient value.
The one thing that we need to look out for with regards to sea salt is that it may be less refined, but due to ocean pollution it has led to the addition of heavy metals, microplastics and trace amounts of these can be in our foods. But we need to do some more research to confirm this.
WHAT IS THE BEST SALT FOR MY HORSE?
Celtic salt is quite a coarse salt. And it is sourced from the French tidal pools now it’s got quite a briny flavour and it’s denser than table salt, so therefore it can be used slightly more sparingly. It is usually a grey colour. Celtic salt includes trace amounts of magnesium, manganese, zinc. Lion iodine and potassium, and it has less sodium than regular table salt.
Kosher salt. Is quite a coarse salt that dissolves quickly. It is mainly sourced from natural deposits, although it may also come from sea water. If you are weighing the salts, kosher salt weighs significantly less than a tablespoon of regular table salt. And it also comes in larger flake sizes. Kosher salt does not contain iodine.
Himalayan pink salt. Is sourced by hand in Pakistan. And it’s from the second biggest salt mine in the world. Himalayan salt offers a unique flavour as well as a beautiful pink colour. Trace amounts of iron oxide or rust account for the vibrant colour. This salt also includes minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and there are more. Again, Himalayan pink salt is lower in sodium than regular table salt. And it’s considered one of the purer salt varieties. It can contain some iodine. But it is less than what is found in iodised salts.
For the body to function, it requires certain levels of salt, since sodium helps our cells retain water. When it is consumed in moderation, it can keep blood pressure in a healthy range. Moderate salt consumption is certainly relevant. The sodium ensures that we have enough fluids in our body to maintain our cellular function, as well as help us contract and relax our muscles. By helping the nerve cells communicate and promoting brain health. Salt that contains iodine. which is considered an essential mineral, can assist with health where required.
SO HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR HORSE REQUIRES EXTRA SALT IN THEIR DIET?
Well this is where you need to read the labels of your food and supplements. Sodium will be under the major minerals section of the nutrition panel.
The times when you would add salt would be for use as an electrolyte, during hot weather, during heavy exercise and times of stress.
If your horse is limiting their water consumption or licking at the ground or objects, this can be a symptom of inadequate salt in their system.
A good rule of thumb is to use Himalayan rock salt for your horse as it is nutritious as well as holds a number of minerals. I would use it as a salt lick where the horse can have access to it when required. The addition of salt to each feed is not warranted if they are getting adequate amounts via their current feeds. However if this is not the case, mix Himalayan rock salt with sea salt, 1 teaspoon of each daily, at times of need.
Please stay away from regular table salt is it is often contaminated with plastics, does not have the nutrition factor of Himalayan and sea salts plus it contains anticaking agents, you really do not want your horse to be eating such a poor source of sodium.
Mineral tissue salts form part of the group of nutrients that constitute natural therapy along with herbs extracts, amino acids, trace elements and vitamins. Hi Form’s essential dailies contain these salts as they are readily absorbed and utilised and highly compatible with the horses body. Tissue Salts are specially prepared micro-doses of the body’s 12 essential minerals. These minerals are important for the functioning and health of the body. Nat Mur or sodium is the tissue salt responsible for the distribution of water in the body. Mineral Tissue salts are contained in Oxydane which for normal work/normal heat, adding salt is not normally required, but if extra salts are required then ElectroPlus can be added.
For those horses on Oxydane, this daily essential contains all the salts, mineral tissue salts and electrolytes required on a daily basis for our horses, it is a complete nourishment supplement however in hot weather or after strenuous exercise we should supplement with ElectroPlus.
For customers using LeisureVit it is unlikely that you will need added salt as it would be presumed that these horses are not working hard, if required ElectroPlus can be used.
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