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Pauline Moore
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I've started this as a separate thread so it will be easier to locate if anyone is searching at a later date. A forum reader very kindly did some work to find a supplier of bulk unrefined Celtic sea salt in the USA so I've added those details below.

Most of the summarised information following has been drawn from writings by Dr David Brownstein and Dr Robert Thompson, both physicians in general practice who felt compelled to write about the benefits of using unrefined salt. I believe horses benefit in the same way, so wrote this up as a pdf handout for my clients - reproduced below.

Best wishes
Pauline

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’ (D. Brownstein, MD, 2010, Medical Alternatives Press, ISBN: 978-0-9660882-4-3) and Dr Robert Thompson’s book ‘The Calcium Lie’ (R. Thompson, MD, K. Barnes, In Truth Press, ISBN: 978-0-9815818-5-9).

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.

How much 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.

Where can unrefined sea salt be obtained?

In Australia, Olsson’s produce an excellent macrobiotic salt for horses in 20kg bags for about $35 - it has a naturally high magnesium content at around 0.7%.

In Europe it may be possible to purchase bulk supplies of Celtic Sea Salt which is very similar to the Olsson’s salt. Magnesium is usually around 0.5%.

In USA unrefined sea salt (Agricultural/Pet Salt) is available in 22lb bags for about US$28 from Selina Naturally: http://www.celticseasalt.com/AgriculturalPet-Salt-Celtic-Sea-Salt0174-Brand-P1024.aspx. Magnesium content is about 0.4%


Emily
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Thanks for that information, Pauline. I switched my family to unrefined sea salt, and the stable where I board my horses uses it and the free choice rock salt. Though it is non horse related, I must say that the sea salt tastes absolutely delicious on/in food! I can't stand iodized salt anymore, and I bring a small shaker to restaurants and order my meat and vegetables without seasoning.

Obie
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Yes, thank you Pauline.

Can't wait to get the salt you recomend found in the US. Now if I can just convince my local feed stores to purchase this product and the others...mag chloride, coolstance.

We will see!

Thanks again,  Linda

renoo
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I am wondering how about grinded (ground?) salt that comes from salt mines? Is it also good, or sea salt is way better?

We have salt from Poland and Ukraine - it looks grey, and usually has tiny rock pieces in it, and is widely available and really cheap over here.

Our horses get Himalayan salt, but our last blocks ran out and we are waiting for a delivery, so our horses need some salt supply, so I turned to the Polish rock salt.

DarlingLil
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Thank you Pauline. A local feed mill is able to get Redmond salt products. They are from a dried up old seabed in Utah. Is this equal to a dried sea salt product? My horses like it. I have been using it for several years and use the human version myself. It comes loose or in a large rock of 10 pound or so, pinkish in color. I want to switch if you think I should buy a diffrent kind. Thank you.

Pauline Moore
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Renoo - If the rock salt comes straight out of the ground without being processed in any way there's a good chance it will be fine for your horses. It should be possible to get an analysis from somewhere, the suppliers or the company who operates the mine. You can then compare that with the analyses for Himalayan and Celtic salts which are easy to find online.

Lil - If you have no problems with your horses, ie they have strong feet that don't need shoes or boots, able to maintain ideal bodyweight with no restriction to grazing, then there would be no need to change anything you are doing (if it ain't broke, there's no need to fix it). If you do have any of those problems, then the higher magnesium level/lower calcium level in the Celtic Sea Salt would be an advantage - it's just another way to get more magnesium into them from a natural source.

Best wishes
Pauline

Sharon Adley
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I happen to have the Redmond Rock analysis since I recently bought a block for one of my horses.

Calcium min-max  0.35% - 0.85%
Phosphorus min 0.002%
Salt min-max 91.0% - 96.0%
Mgnesium min 0.06%
Potassium min 0.03%
Sulfur min 0.07%
Manganese min 5ppm
Zinc min 1ppm
Iron min 300ppm
Copper min 3ppm
Iodine min 10ppm

Mined in Utah

This chunk weighed 7 lbs.

DrDeb
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Pauline -- well, for once in a blue moon here I get to wear my geologist's hat, and comment that almost all salt that's commercially mined comes 'straight out of the ground'. The question is, HOW it comes out. The Zechstein salt must be mined like gold or coal is mined, i.e. by sending workers down shafts into caverns under the earth, where the salt 'ore' is removed by bashing it mechanically and then loading chunks of it into ore-cars.

However....salt is more commonly mined by hot-water extraction. How this works is a giant pipe is put into the ground, down to the level where the salt stratum is. Then, superheated steam is pumped through the pipe, which condenses to water when it hits the cold salt. The saltwater thus produced is then sucked up through another pipe, into tanks where it is centrifuged and then allowed to settle out, evaporate off the water, and then the salt re-crystallizes. They control the temperature and pressure so that they can produce crystals of whatever average size they want.

Now, why I say that the Zechstein stuff must be mechanically mined is that it does contain an array of trace minerals. But trace minerals, which are themselves also 'salts' -- just salts whose atomic composition is different than NaCl -- are, precisely because of that, also differentially soluble in the hot water. So although perhaps some 'other' salts, i.e. MgCl or ZnCl might to some degree dissolve along with the NaCl, the slurry that arrives on the surface will not contain the 'other' salts in as high a proportion as underground. Even at that, however, the product may be useful and desirable.

If the Zechstein product -- which is predominantly MgCl -- turns out to be mined with hot water, then the conclusion we must draw from that is that the Zechstein stratum either never contained very much NaCl -- which would be possible but very unusual -- or else the company that produces the MgCl product from Zechstein is in there mining the REMNANT of what was left after commercial hydro mining for NaCl so far depleted the NaCl that only MgCl and traces of other stuff were left. Obviously to get the less-soluble salts out, it takes more water, more fuel to make the steam, longer pumping times, and so forth that reduce profitability. Maybe this is partly why the Zechstein stuff is so expensive.

It is possible that the Utah stuff is also mechanically mined, because someone in this thread describes getting 'chunks' of it. But I can tell you for sure that 100% of the salt that comes from the United States' largest salt mines, which are located in southern Michigan and northern Ohio, are mined with hot water. So any salt from there that contains minerals in significant or effective concentrations must have had those added after mining, which is, of course, possible -- that's how the commercial salt-blocks that my horse eats are made, for example. -- Dr. Deb

 

sarahmorloff
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I LOVE real salt... here (Oregon), I buy mine in 50 lb bags animal grade (less screened).  The entire bag is under $10.  I use a coffee grinder then run it through 2 mesh screens to remove any excess sand or rocks (for us) the animals just get it in its 10# grind... Anyways, the animals really like this... yes, it's the same as the Redmonds rock salt (big chunks) just crushed up.  I pulled this from their website about how they mine it -

"Real Salt is currently harvested about 300 feet below the surface of the earth. The deposit is huge, so we carefully follow the food-grade veins and harvest the salt using carbide-tipped equipment that basically scrapes the salt off the walls of the mine. From there, the salt is screened and crushed to size before being shipped to our food-grade facility in Northern Utah. Real Salt is packaged after passing through a final automatic screening to be sure no metal residue or contaminants were introduced during the process."

I find it is one of the only salts that doesn't leave me swollen the next day and it actually tastes salty so a little goes a long way... no wonder the animals love it!

Thx for the info.

Last edited on Fri Jun 22nd, 2012 02:27 am by sarahmorloff

micha
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Can you tell me where you bought them, because I couldn't find them here in Ukraine.

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Here are a few bulk salt purchasing options (States and Canada, not sure if they ship elsewhere):

http://www.saltworks.us/   (lots of different salts including New Zealand sea salt)

http://www.smartorganix.com/  (Himalayan salts)

Sharon Adley
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I contacted Redmond about how they mine their Redmond Rock equine salt.  It is done mechanically, i.e. chipped off the deposits, then broken into appropriate size for sale.  This is the same company that produces Real Salt for people.

kcooper
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I bought 85lbs of salt from these Canadian guys:

http://www.naturescargo.ca/himalayan.html

half of human grade loose Celtic sea salt and half loose Himalayan salt that they label 'Bath Salts' because they havent gone through it with a fine tooth comb to pick out little bits of debris... it looked really clean to me for the horses. There was no shipping costs and I had it in 3 days.

I put a Redmond Rock block in the pen of horses that dont get individually handled and fed each day.

I have had my horses on this unrefined salt for 4 months now... I have noticed that the post chewing has gone down to nothing.

martinegroeneveld@mac.com
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Hi Pauline and Dr. Deb,

I've been reading a lot on this forum about minerals and am trying to follow your suggestions on magnesium supplementation and salt.
I went to my local market and found Celtic Sea Salt for $17.00 for 8oz. I looked online on the Selina Naturally site and a 22lbs. bag is $193.00 (not including shipping). This is unfortunately expensive.
I bought a different sea salt, Pacific Sea Salt from New Zealand and was wondering what your thoughts would be on this. The analysis mentions Calcium 0.11% and Magnesium 0.06%, Sodium Cl. 99.4%, Sulphate 0.30%, Iron 10ppm, Copper 3ppm.

I know it's not ideal, because the calcium is higher then the magnesium, while I'm supplementing magnesium. But the calcium seemed very low, compared to other salts.

Would love your thoughts on this,

Thank you for your help,
Martine

Pauline Moore
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Hi Martine

The expensive product from Selina is human grade salt. Their pet grade is $29.95 for 22lbs. http://www.selinanaturally.com/agricultural-pet-salt-celtic-sea-salt-brand-22-lbs/

Thanks for pointing this out; I've now corrected the link on the salt page of my website http://www.gravelproofhoof.org

Pauline

DarlingLil
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I get the redmond salt at a local feed mill for $7 a 50 pound bag here in MI

martinegroeneveld@mac.com
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Hi Pauline,

Thank you for your reply. I've ordered the pet grade Celtic Salt.

I'm giving my mare the MagRestore magnesium supplement as well. Could the magnesium and the salt be given at the same time in the feed?

Thank you,
Martine

Pauline Moore
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Certainly Martine, I feed magnesium and salt together in the same feed.

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Hello Pauline and thank you for all the valuable research and information on sea salt and magnesium. I have a magnesium question -- I hope it's okay to ask it in the sea salt thread! The magnesium topic seems to be divided up among several threads. I'd like to try giving my horse magnesium but your suggested method of providing it (dissolving the flakes in water and adding to her feed a little more each day) is a little labor-intensive for me to ask my barn to do. Is it possible to provide the magnesium in another way? maybe mixing the flakes directly into her feed? or is it too unpalatable this way? If the dissolved way is the only/best way, I guess I'll just bite the bullet and figure out a way to do it, but I thought it was worth asking for a Plan B. Thank you for your reply. --Juliet

geedubya
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Pauline is the expert, but we go ahead and mix up 2 liters of MaCl at a time.  It stays in suspension very well, and giving your barn a container of the liquid and a measuring vial might not be that hard for them to do when they feed.

JulietMacie
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yeah, I agree. It's really the monitoring the manure each day and upping the dose periodically that seems like a lot to ask, but now that I'm thinking it through more carefully, I'd have to be the one to do that regardless of who's administering the dose. thanks for weighing in! -- Juliet

geedubya
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We have our horses at home, so we are mucking out the stables every morning.  But now that I can claim I am monitering the manure, it sounds a lot better! :)

 

Last edited on Wed Oct 2nd, 2013 06:33 pm by geedubya

JulietMacie
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Ha! you can call yourself an equine sanitation engineer while you're at it!

martinegroeneveld@mac.com
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I have ordered the celtic sea salt for my mare. She doesn't touch her redmond salt at all and I also supplement with magnesium.

But a question keeps coming up for me.
When a horse is in need of salt, and has access to free salt in the form of salt licks, will he not seek and lick the salt by himself? Just like when it's hot and we're sweating a lot, we love the taste of something salty, because we need it?

I understand the need for unrefined sea salt instead of a regular salt lick when you're supplementing with magnesium (to have salt with lower calcium). But in a case where magnesium is not an issue, should a horse be supplemented 2-4tbsp of salt even when it has access to free salt licks?

Is blood work a good test to measure salt levels?

Thank you for explaining,
Martine

Pauline Moore
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Martine

As with every other aspect of dietary management, let your horse tell you what he needs for the specific environment in which he lives. A horse that has strong functional feet, a glossy coat, is not excessively anxious, drinks and urinates normally, sweats freely in hot weather, is not over- or under-weight and has no other health problems - would appear to be obtaining everything he needs from his current diet, whatever it might be.

If pastures are not especially high in potassium, a block of rock salt may be sufficient to meet the need for sodium, provided each horse has individual access to the block, e.g. is not driven off by other horses. Blood tests will show the electrolyte status of the sample on the day it was taken, but may not be relevant for other days; potassium can spike in pasture grasses on cloudy days so fluctuating weather conditions can change need for sodium.

There is some thought that force-feeding sodium can be beneficial in certain circumstances, but I personally have not been able to replicate those results for horses in Australia.

Pauline

DarlingLil
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My horses love the redmond rock salt way better than the loose. Tractor Supply store runs out of them most of the time. I wonder why they prefer the rock?




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