Easy Keeper? Think Psyllium.
By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.
It's a vicious cycle - elevated glucose leads to elevated insulin. Elevated insulin leads to excess body fat. Excess body fat leads to too much insulin in the blood (insulin resistance). If only blood glucose levels could be reduced - that would put a halt to this circular pattern. Removing starchy cereal grains, molasses, sugary treats, and testing your hay for low levels of non-structural carbohydrates - all of these are important. But did you know that adding psyllium husks to your horse's daily diet will also reduce blood glucose?
The outer husk of the psyllium seed (an herb called Plantago ovata) is rich in water-soluble fiber. It has long been used to help remove sand from the hindgut as a means of controlling sand colic. But recent research has revealed its ability to lower blood glucose in horses. It is believe that the fiber slows down glucose absorption and therefore, reduces insulin output from the pancreas.
Low sugar/starch diets, plenty of exercise, reduction of stress - all great ways to help your overweight horse lose weight. And now we can add psyllium to the list! Adding 1/3 cup per meal will lower blood glucose and lower blood insulin, making weight loss easier and preventing obesity-related disorders.
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