What is IR or Insulin Resistance in horses?
Insulin resistance in horses is a condition that is on the rise. Normally, blood sugar levels naturally increase in horses when when sugar or carbohydrates are eaten. This causes insulin to be secreted by the pancreas allowing glucose to be carried into the cells and triggering blood sugar levels to go back to normal.
In IR/Insulin Resistance in horses, the cells are unable to properly utilize the insulin. So the glucose turns into stored fat instead of providing energy for the cells.
Many horses suffering with Laminitis have elevated insulin levels in their blood because it can’t penetrate the cell walls.
“We know that insulin resistance is associated with the risk of laminitis in ponies and certain breeds of horses, and so is obesity. Together, this syndrome is known as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS),” explains Simon Bailey, BVMS, PhD, of the University of Melbourne.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance in your horse:
- Chronic Sore Feet
- Over weight/ Easy Keeper
- Always hungry
- Excessive water consumption
- Chronic laminitis
- Thick coat and slow shedding
- Elevated Insulin on Blood Tests
What causes a horse to be insulin resistant?
There are many factors which can lead to a horse becoming IR. Genetics play an important role as some breeds are pre-disposed to developing problems metabolizing sugar.
A relatively new condition is being recognized in human medicine, currently called syndrome X. This is a group of symptoms related to insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia and an inability for the cells to transport glucose into them. The disease commonly called “Cushing’s syndrome” in horses has many of the same characteristics as syndrome X has in people. Dr. Joyce Harman
The problem is modern domesticated horses haven’t evolved to be able able to metabolize large amounts of carbohydrates and sugar. Insulin resistance is not a problem in Wild Horses because they are moving sometimes up to 20 miles a day foraging for their food. They don’t stand idle for hours on end at an all-you-can-eat salad bar consuming excessive calories and sugar in the grasses, leading to obesity and conditions like laminitis and founder.
Modern horse keeping is exactly the opposite of how the Wild Horse lives. Stall keeping, highly refined horse feed, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle all contribute to our horses becoming overweight, leading to insulin resistance problems. Horses that are kept in a stall can’t move and burn off calories like a wild horse. They are generally fed large high carb meals once or twice a day instead of a diet of small meals while moving and foraging.
Remember horses aren’t “grazers”, they are “foragers”.
The chance of a horse developing IR increases as they age. The older a horse gets the slower the metabolism thus leading to weight gain and their ability to cope with stress decreases as hormones are no longer plentiful.
How do you treat insulin resistance in horses?
Sugar Balance Naturally is a powerful natural herbal horse supplement that addresses Insulin Resistance in horses by helping to regulate glucose and insulin.
Clinical studies in humans and rats have shown the herbs we use in Sugar Balance Naturally may have the ability to slow glucose absorption and improve insulin sensitivity.
Sugar Balance Naturally is useful in the treatment of Equine Metabolic Syndrome, Laminitis, and Founder.
Our customers report rapid improvement of symptoms like sore feet, weight gain, and laminitis/founder when combined with overall recommended lifestyle changes.
Feeding Sugar Balance Naturally daily along with limiting access to grass, increased movement and exercise, using slow feeders and proper hoof care can quickly reverse the symptoms and get your horse sound, comfortable and back riding.
What herbs are used to treat the Insulin Resistant horse?
- Fenugreek slows glucose absorption and improves insulin response, reduces inflammation, soothes the stomach and intestines and aids with fat digestion
- Kelp contains iodine for healthy thyroid function, is rich in organic trace minerals, biotin and methionine for healthy hoof growth, and magnesium (low levels have been linked to IR)
- Ginseng normalizes blood sugar and cortisol levels
How can horse insulin resistance be reversed?
The longer your horse goes without diagnosis and treatment, the harder it is to undo the damage caused. Good new is with proper care and feeding your horse can live a sound, healthy and long life. Conditions such as laminitis and founder respond very well and often quickly, to a regular program including diet restriction, regular hoofcare and herbal treatment.
- Restrict sugar in your horses diet. No late afternoon grazing when sugar is high in the grass
- Make sure your horse gets plenty of exercise
- Regular hoof trims by a qualified Natural Hoofcare Practitioner
- Small frequent meals. Use slow feeder hay bags
- Use a grazing muzzle for early morning turnout only
- Offer FREE CHOICE loose Sea Salt year round
- Offer FREE CHOICE Kelp year round
- Regular deworming program with a Natural Horse Wormer
Our natural horse supplements are proudly made in the USA and contain no fillers, artificial, GMO, or other unnecessary ingredients.
- Hand Blended
- Made Fresh the Day it Ships
- Pelletized for Horses
- No Fillers
Available 60, 120 and 240 Servings (approx)
1-Scoop = 1-Serving
1000 lb horse: 1-2 scoops/daily (scoop included)
Ingredients: A proprietary blend including Fenugreek, Kelp, Ginseng
*Disclaimer: We make no medical or veterinarian claims to any of the products offered on this site. The information presented on the Alternative Animal web site is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and should not in any way be used as a substitute for the advice of your physician, veterinarian, or other licensed health care provider.