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.
Sugar Balance Naturally is a Natural Supplement for the Insulin Resistance Metabolic Horse
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 to manage insulin resistance in horses naturally?
Sugar Balance Naturally is a powerful natural herbal horse supplement that addresses Insulin Resistance in horses by supporting normal glucose and insulin levels.
Clinical studies in humans and rats have shown the herbs we use in Sugar Balance Naturally may be beneficial to aid normal glucose absorption and insulin sensitivity.
Sugar Balance Naturally is useful in Equine Metabolic Syndrome, Laminitis, and Founder.
Our customers have reported rapid improvement of symptoms like sore feet, weight gain, and laminitis/founder when combined with overall recommended lifestyle changes.
I highly recommend THE HAY PILLOW for a slow-feeder hay bag designed for ground feeding. The Hay Pillow allows your horse to eat in a natural grazing position.
Feeding Sugar Balance Naturally daily along with limiting access to grass, increased movement and exercise, using slow feeders and proper hoof care can help alleviate symptoms and get your horse sound, comfortable and back riding.
What herbs are helpful to support the Insulin Resistant horse?
- Fenugreek may slow glucose absorption and improve insulin response, reduce inflammation, soothe the stomach and intestines and support 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 supports normal blood sugar and cortisol levels
Read: The Importance of Kelp for Horses
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 may 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 (Pellets): A proprietary blend including Fenugreek, Kelp, Burdock, Ginseng, Dandelion, Cleavers, Nettle, Sage, Cinnamon. (7370 mg per tbsp. Scoop included)
*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.
CAUTION. Safe use in pregnant animals or animals intended for breeding has not been proven. If animals condition worsens or does not improve, stop product administration and consult your veterinarian. An examination from a veterinarian is recommended prior to using this product.
WARNING. For animals use only. Not intended for animals under 6 weeks of age. Keep out of the reach of children and animals. In case of accidental overdose, contact a health professional immediately.
Sugar Balance is working great with my grass foundered Haflinger mare.
She is able to be on pasture full time during the day, then penned up with full access grass hay at night.
She looks fantastic and runs and bucks when let out to pasture.
The previous two summers she had to wear a grazing muzzle all day.
It is amazing the effect of such a small dose of these pellets has made such a huge difference in her and my quality of life.
My burro hasn’t been on it long enough to tell – but the other products I’ve purchased (for hoof, circulation and immune support) have all been wonderful. My horse and burro just look overall better, calmer.
This is really helping my mini mare!
I have a Baskir Curly who loves his grass! He generated laminitis. I began giving him this along with Circu-Flow. With the help if being shod on his front hooves, he is getting around do much better! He is standing more verticle, hopping and running around! I am so happy to see him bounce back! I expect to have him on this supplement the rest of his years. But that’s ok if it helps him be his spunky self! Thank you for have such natural alternatives!!
Has helped my horse keep her insulin level much lower. A healthy horse is a happy horse!