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Dietary Ground Flaxseed Increases Serum Alpha-Linolenic Acid Concentrations in Adult Cats

Blue Buffalo Co., Ltd., 11 River Rd., Wilton, CT 068797, USA
Luna Science & Nutrition LLC, Trumbull, CT 06611, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giacomo Biagi
Animals 2022, 12(19), 2543;
Received: 17 August 2022 / Revised: 20 September 2022 / Accepted: 20 September 2022 / Published: 23 September 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
The use of flaxseed in complete pet foods as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, and in particular alpha-linolenic acid, has been studied extensively in dogs. However, to date, no scientific published literature exists on the impacts of feeding whole ground flaxseed as an ingredient in cat food on nutrient digestibility, fatty acid bioavailability, and overall health in cats. In addition, dietary flaxseed inclusion has been challenged as providing little nutritional value for cats by not changing serum fatty acid levels and lowering nutrient digestibility. Therefore, the objective of this study was to directly evaluate the effects of adding ground flaxseed to dry cat food on fatty acid bioavailability, stool consistency, nutrient digestibility, and overall health in adult cats. These results clearly exhibit that a flaxseed-supplemented diet resulted in no changes in stool quality or nutrient digestibility, and elicited an increase in serum alpha-linolenic acid concentrations in healthy cats. Overall, these results clearly demonstrate that ground flaxseed can be used to modulate serum fatty acid concentrations and serve as a bioavailable source of alpha-linolenic acid in commercial cat food.
We evaluated effects of dietary ground flaxseed on fecal and serum alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) concentrations, nutrient digestibility, and stool quality in female and male adult cats (n = 20 (8 males, 12 females); 3.95 ± 1.49 years of age (mean ± SD); 3.88 ± 0.82 kg BW). We hypothesized that adding ground flaxseed would increase serum ALA compared with feeding no flax, without changing nutrient digestibility. Cats were fed as-is 2.6% added-flaxseed (flax, n = 10) or no-flax (control, n = 10) diets (2.66 vs. 0.78% ALA of total fatty acids; crude protein 35%, fat 20%, fiber 3% as-fed) twice daily to maintain body weight for 28 days. Fecal collections were conducted on days 23–27 for total-tract nutrient digestibility, stool quality (scale 1–5; 1 = watery diarrhea, 5 = hard, dry, crumbly) and long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) analyses. Blood was collected on days 0, 14, and 28 for serum LCFA and chemistry analysis. Digestibility and fecal data were analyzed by ANOVA (SAS v9.4, Cary, NC, USA) and a repeated measures ANOVA for serum ALA. Flax-fed cats, compared with control-fed, had greater (p < 0.05) serum ALA after 14 days (4.00 vs. 0.71 µg/mL) and 28 days (7.83 and 3.67 µg/mL). No differences were observed in stool quality, and dry matter, protein, fat, and ALA digestibility. However, metabolizable energy was greater in the flax vs. control diet (4.18 vs. 3.91 kcal/g; p < 0.05). Overall, these data demonstrate that ground flaxseed added to cat diets increases serum ALA within 14 days, with no detriments to nutrient digestibility. We conclude that flaxseed can be used as a bioavailable source of ALA in cat diets. View Full-Text
Keywords: cats; flaxseed; alpha-linolenic acid; bioavailability; omega-3 fatty acids cats; flaxseed; alpha-linolenic acid; bioavailability; omega-3 fatty acids
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MDPI and ACS Style

Panasevich, M.R.; Daristotle, L.; Yamka, R.M.; Frantz, N.Z. Dietary Ground Flaxseed Increases Serum Alpha-Linolenic Acid Concentrations in Adult Cats. Animals 2022, 12, 2543.

AMA Style

Panasevich MR, Daristotle L, Yamka RM, Frantz NZ. Dietary Ground Flaxseed Increases Serum Alpha-Linolenic Acid Concentrations in Adult Cats. Animals. 2022; 12(19):2543.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Panasevich, Matthew R., Leighann Daristotle, Ryan M. Yamka, and Nolan Z. Frantz. 2022. "Dietary Ground Flaxseed Increases Serum Alpha-Linolenic Acid Concentrations in Adult Cats" Animals 12, no. 19: 2543.

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