Monday, January 30, 2012

Management of insulin resistance with supplements

Insulin resistance (this is now the preferred term over "metabolic syndrome") is related to several health issues in horses, particularly an increased incidence of laminitis. Several supplements on the market are marketed to help control insulin resistance in horses with magnesium and chromium. This study, done at New Bolton Center and University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, indicates that these do not have a measurable effect on affected horses and ponies.

Effects of a supplement containing chromium and magnesium on morphometric measurements, resting glucose, insulin concentrations and insulin sensitivity in laminitic obese horses


Article first published online: 29 SEP 2010

DOI: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00302.x

© 2010 EVJ Ltd

results and conclusion:

Results: Hyperinsulinaemia (>30 µu/ml) was detected in 12 of 14 horses prior to treatment. Glucose and insulin data from one mare with clinical laminitis were excluded because of persistent pain. Mean ± s.d. insulin sensitivity was 0.64 ± 0.62 × 10−4 l/min/mu prior to treatment for the remaining 13 horses. Time and treatment × time effects were not significant for any of the variables examined, with the exception of resting insulin concentrations, which significantly increased over time (P = 0.018). Health status remained the same.

Conclusions: The supplement containing chromium and magnesium evaluated in this study did not alter morphometric measurements, blood variables, resting insulin concentrations or insulin sensitivity in laminitic obese horses.

Unfortunately weight loss through diet and exercise is the only proven disease modifier. We all like to please our horses and enjoy seeing them enjoy their food but any horse will loose weight if the calorie intake is reduced enough. Total starvation is a very bad idea and will cause other problems, particularly in obese horses.