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Leptin is the master hormone when it comes to regulating your horse's weight. Produced by the fat cells, it signals the hypothalamus portion of the brain to let it know that there is enough body fat available and measures should be taken to reduce weight. In response, the metabolic rate speeds up, insulin declines, and the hunger mechanism quiets down. All in an attempt to reduce body fat. That's the normal situation.
But when the horse becomes over-fat, the amount of leptin become so high, that the brain can no longer respond to it. It's like the brain does not know that leptin is high and actually is tricked into thinking that the horse needs to eat more because there is not enough body fat, and hence, not enough leptin! Nothing can be further from the truth, but because of this, the horse continues to eat and eat, his metabolic rates slows down, and insulin increases to help him store even more fat. This is leptin RESISTANCE.
So what's the answer? The answer lies in helping the hypothalamus to recognize leptin once again. You see, constant bombardment with leptin and elevated insulin causes hypothalamic inflammation. The goal is to reduce it.
How? Two ways - change the diet to be anti-inflammatory. That includes adding key nutrients to reduce inflammation, as well as removing substances that promote inflammation. And second, reduce stress. Stress causes inflammation through a cascade of hormonal responses.
The materials below will help you get a grasp on how to begin.
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Getty Equine Nutrition, LLC
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.
12608 Lignite Drive
Denton, TX 76207
Phone: (940) 272-0001
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist offering nutrition services for all life stages and integrative support for disorders and diseases. Your horse's quality of life is Dr. Getty's priority.
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