How to Support Healthy Equine Blood Sugar Brought to You by Uckele Health and Nutrition

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Healthy blood sugar support is a major factor in optimal equine health. When glucose is not efficiently delivered to or utilized by the target cells, the ability to produce sustained metabolic energy is greatly diminished. This can result in a series of metabolic consequences that increase the stress hormones, insulin and inflammation, reduce energy and generate hormonal imbalances that have far reaching affects in equine health and balance. Insulin sensitivity plays a major role in transporting sugar to the cells for energy production and is the first hormone that becomes imbalanced when blood sugar issues are occurring.

Unfortunately, imbalanced sugar metabolism is becoming more common with the major contributing factors of highly processed feeds, incomplete nutrition, multiple stresses and a more toxic environment. This can cause the tissues of the body to become more easily stressed, inflamed and damaged. Jack Grogan, Certified Nutritionist and Chief Science Officer for Uckele Health & Nutrition, has analyzed the metabolic trends and patterns in horses for 20 years, and has developed nutritional products with the Uckele team that successfully address imbalances and significantly decrease the display of a very broad spectrum of disorders.

Grogan explains, “The effects of an imbalanced sugar metabolism can show itself in various ways depending on the genetic strengths and weaknesses of the horse or horses involved. It is very common for hoof, joint and connective tissue issues to occur as a result of imbalanced hormonal changes, especially relative to cortisol and insulin. These same imbalances can also contribute to excessive weight gain, fat patches, decreased energy, skin issues, allergic reactions, or decreases in body weight, especially muscle mass. Your horse may be more easily stressed or spooked, or show unpredictable behaviors and general instability in form and function.” The broad spectrum of issues that can be generated from imbalanced metabolic function occurs because the hormone imbalances associated with this can have very different effects in different horses even though the underlying cause is the same.

To add to the complicated list of behaviors or disorders that can show as a result of sugar imbalance, Grogan points out that some of the causes that contribute to these imbalances can also be the effect of those imbalances, such as the inability to adjust or compensate for stressful events (internal or external), accumulation of toxicity, excessive inflammation and over or under-production of hormones. Other causes of stressed, inefficient metabolisms also include over-exercising or other very high intensity training, excessive heat or cold, travel and socialization issues.

The good news is that there are some answers, “Bringing a metabolism back into balance will include a number of changes,” Grogan says, “First are feed changes that include a low-glycemic feeding program, with optimal amounts of unrefined oil to stabilize blood sugar and the associated hormones.” Grogan also suggests that close attention be paid to the Glycemic Index (GI), which measures the influences on glucose availability in the bloodstream, “Feeds with high GI contain sugars that break down rapidly during digestion, releasing glucose rapidly into the bloodstream. Feeds with low GI contain carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodsteam.

Grogan emphasizes that at this time of year, with new pasture, the sugar content of the grasses can be quite high and have a high glycemic index as well, “Imbalanced sugar metabolisms can be exacerbated by a large consumption of these spring grasses after several months during the winter without pasture being available. So, it’s important to give optimal nutritional support for the most efficient use of these pasture based sugars without generating excessive metabolic distress and reactions from an imbalanced sugar metabolism.”

“Sweet feed has the highest glycemic effect of all feeds,” Grogan continues, “Feeds with a lower GI have more positive health benefits and results in reduced free radical formation, reduced stress and a more stable, healthy blood sugar level.” In addition, Grogan advises adding unrefined oil or essential fatty acids to the diet, which can have a dramatic effect on slowing the glycemic response. He also promotes using non-sugar sweeteners in place of molasses to prevent rapid rises and falls in blood sugar and support healthy glucose metabolism.

Grogan also suggests using nutritional formulas that contain specific ingredients to support healthy blood sugar levels in the body, “These can play a major role in re-establishing a normal healthy balance in hormone and energy production.” Specific, key nutrients can support glandular, muscular and liver function, include:

• Alpha Lipoic Acid, a potent fat and water soluble antioxidant, which directly supports and maintains glucose levels within the normal range, and helps reduce normal oxidative stress.
• L-Carnitine is an amino acid that supports healthy glucose and fat metabolism.
• Cinnamon is an aromatic bark that helps support healthy glucose, fat metabolism and normal blood sugar levels.
• Niacinamide is a member of the vitamin B-complex family that helps support cells in the pancreas to aid with the transport of glucose.
• Taurine is an amino acid that helps support sugar metabolism and normal liver function.
• Tyrosine is an amino acid precursor for the thyroid and adrenal glands that aids normal hormone production by these glands, which can support healthy glucose metabolism.
• Magnesium is a major mineral that supports cellular energy production, healthy glucose metabolism and helps reduce the negative effects of stress.
• Chromium Yeast is a trace mineral that supports normal, healthy glucose metabolism and helps maintain a balanced blood sugar level.

Jack Grogan, CN, has considerable experience in the fields of biology, biochemistry and nutrition, is an expert in tissue mineral balancing, and has demonstrated considerable success in balancing equine mineral chemistry to strengthen the basic metabolism and improve efficiency in horses. Jack is a consultant to numerous veterinarians, chiropractors, trainers, naturopaths and nutritionists.

Uckele Health & Nutrition has been a trusted leader in the formulation, development and manufacture of quality nutritional supplements for fifty years. With leading edge experience in nutritional research and science, the Uckele team provides private label and custom manufacturing from concept to shelf, formulating a vast array of high potency, balanced nutritional supplements to support optimal health and performance at the highest level.