Coconut oil in horse feed





Studies have shown that saturated fatty acids give the following effects in horses

• increased muscle gylcogen content,

• increased sparing of muscle glycogen during light work

• increased utilisation of muscle gylcogen during heavy work


Unsaturated oils such as rice bran, corn, soybean, flax do not give these effects.

Saturated oils are derived from animal fats, or coconut oil.

Animal fats are unacceptable in horse feeds.

Coconut oil is a palatable source of saturated fatty acids.


The key benefits of coconut oil include.



1. It is stable and resistant to rancidity. Because of its saturated structure, coconut oil can be stored for long periods of time without risk of rancidity. Rancid oils reduce the palatability of a feed, interfere with the utilization of fat soluble vitamins and may cause damage to muscle and organ tissue if consumed.

2. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT) that are easier to digest, absorb and utilize in comparison to the long-chain fatty acids found in other oils such as maize, soy, canola and rice-bran oil. MCT absorbed directly into the portal blood and transported to the liver. By comparison, long chain fatty acids are absorbed into the lymphatics and slowly transported to the liver. Further, MCT appear to behave more like glucose than other oils, meaning coconut oil provides a ready source of energy for use during exercise.

3. Some of the MCT (lauric, capric and caproic acids) in coconut oil possess antibacterial and antiviral properties.

4. These fatty acids may assist the horse's immune system in fighting off viral and bacterial challenges, leading to improved overall gut health and wellbeing. MCT have been shown to control Salmonella in chickens, and it is suggested that MCT may be of benefit in horses with Dysbiosis.

5. Coconut oil may have performance benefits. A study by Pagan et al (1993) found that horses supplemented with coconut oil versus soybean oil had lower blood lactate and ammonia and higher free fatty acids than a control group of horses who were not supplemented with fat during the gallop and the warm down phase of a standardized exercise test. These effects may have a positive influence on performance. In addition, a study by Matsumoto (1995) found that mice supplemented with medium chain fatty acids took longer to reach a state of exhaustion whilst swimming than unsupplemented mice.


Dosage varies depending on who you talk to, we recommend no more than a cupful a day.

Try a small amount and work up to find the level that works for your horse.


Lastly, whatever brand of coconut oil you buy, make sure it is Raw Virgin Organic oil and NOT refined, even buying from health shops is no guarantee as one friend found out.

They bought a jar from their local health shop being assured it was 100% natural.

It turns out that it is infact refined oil, (I have the written evidence from the manufacturer) which takes out a lot of the goodness, this brand of coconut oil is readily sold on ebay and it is very cheap (email me for the make, it's one to avoid if you want raw organic).

People buying this think they have a bargain, they haven't if they want the real thing!

It's ok for applying topically but if you want the real health benefits of the oil, buy raw organic.

Here's a link to a site that is full of information about coconut oil and is BACKED up with scientific research here



This information is meant to supplement, not replace, advice from your vet, and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your horse's specific health circumstances. If you have a specific health question about your horse, contact your vet.



Discontinued...............leaving information here for horse owners to read