The Gravelproof Hoof
- not just a dream
UNREFINED SEA SALT
Why do horses need salt?
Salt has been valued as an essential commodity for thousands of years; in ancient times it was used as currency and in some regions given equal status to gold. Salt is as important to life as oxygen and water for all living beings, horses included. As equine kidneys do not retain salt as efficiently as humans’, their need for salt is greater than ours, donkeys being reputedly able to drink seawater.
Many physicians are now recommending their patients consume unrefined salt as an important part of their treatment plan for recovery from disease and maintenance of good health. In its natural, unrefined form, salt contains over 80 minerals and elements that are necessary for life. Without adequate salt, body cells are likely to have reduced energy and less ability to regenerate. Electrolytes, salts and fluids lost in sweat may be replenished by nature's electrolyte, unrefined sea salt.
The minerals in unrefined sea salt are in ‘ionic’ form, which means they are water soluble and therefore able to carry an electrical charge. This allows the minerals to be carried through cell membranes to participate in chemical reactions that are part of the body’s basic metabolism. These ionic minerals perform trillions of functions within the body, and in addition serve as a transport system for vitamins and amino acids. Without sufficient ionic minerals, nutrients are unable to enter into cells and therefore the entire body cannot function properly.
All freshwater tables contain approximately 55 ionic minerals of varying composition. Freshwater travels through a variety of mineral strata on its journey to the oceans, collecting more minerals before emptying into rivers and finally into the sea. The oceans are a vast mixing bowl of ionic minerals in salt form. Magnesium chloride derived from ocean waters (ancient or contemporary) also contains the same range of ionic minerals, excluding sodium.
Further detailed information is discussed in Dr David Brownstein’s book ‘Salt Your Way To Health’ and Dr Robert Thompson’s book ‘The Calcium Lie’ (Details below).
How much salt do horses need?
The amount needed by any individual horse will vary according to workload, climate, and overall health of the horse. Horses working hard in a hot, humid climate will usually require much more than horses living in a colder, drier climate. As a rough minimum guide, it is recommended that the horse be given around 1 tablespoon (30g) with each feed, preferably twice daily, plus free access to a block of unrefined rock salt, eg Himalayan rock salt. During times of extra stress where sweating may be increased, the unrefined sea salt could by offered by hand or from a bucket. Unrefined salt is highly palatable and well accepted by most horses. Ensure fresh water is available at all times.
What’s the difference between refined and unrefined salt?
Unrefined sea salt is harvested from the ocean without removal of any of its naturally occurring mineral content. The salt is evaporated, usually by the sun and wind, with nothing else added. The resulting salt is generally a grey colour and rather moist as it still has some of the natural brine from which it was evaporated.
Refined salt is processed to remove all minerals except sodium and chloride. The brine is usually evaporated under high compression and heat which disrupts the molecular structure of salt. In the US up to 2% of food-grade salt may contain potentially toxic anti-caking, free-flowing, or conditioning agents such as sodium ferrocyanide, ammonium citrate and aluminum silicate. The result is an essentially lifeless product.
Salt Your Way To Health
David Brownstein, MD
Medical Alternatives Press, 2010
The Calcium Lie
Robert Thompson, MD
WHERE TO BUY UNREFINED SEA SALT
Go to the SUPPLIERS page for information on where to buy unrefined seasalt in your country.
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