Cushings Syndrome & Chia
Equine Cushings Syndrome,
Equine Metabolic Disorder and Insulin Resistance are conditions
that often come to the attention of many professionals and owners
in the horse industry. IR symptoms include a cresty neck, weight
gain or weight loss, tying-up, stocking-up, hoof soreness and
There is no specific cure for
IR horses, however, effective treatments aim at modifying the diet
to achieve and maintain an acceptable body condition score. Some
experts feel that a horse with IR should have a total diet at 10%
non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) levels. CHIA SEED is
considered a Dietetic Nutritional Supplement by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) in the United States of America.
Cushing's Syndrome in horses
has some of the same characteristics as Insulin Resistance and
Diabetes in people. The general seriousness of the metabolic
disorder is very similar, including glucose metabolism and
Glucose (sugar) functions to fuel metabolic processes in the body.
Insulin is normally produced in response to elevated blood glucose
and is key to the regulation of blood glucose concentrations.
Insulin resistance is defined as a reduced sensitivity of the
body's cells to insulin's facilitation of glucose
A balanced, healthy diet will
help your horse's blood sugar levels to remain in equilibrium.
Blood sugar spikes are unhealthy. Big peaks or valleys can cause
undue stress to a horse's digestive system from his adrenal glands
to the circulation in his feet. High sugar, high starch foods such
as grains and molasses are a leading cause of blood sugar spikes,
especially in horses with metabolic issues. These feeds have high
NSC levels. Blood sugar levels are measured by what is known as The
Chia is a very low NSC
(non-structural carbohydrate). Chia forms a mucilaginous gel in the
digestive tract and creates a physical barrier between
carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, thus
slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. The slower
metabolism results in a more even blood-sugar level, a huge
advantage for Insulin-Resistant horses.
Chia acts as a barrier between
the carbohydrates and the enzymes of the stomach. The slower
metabolism results in less build-up of acid in the stomach. Horses
are prone to ulcers because they constantly produce stomach acid.
Chia is soothing to the gut with a mucilaginous gel. Chia provides
greater efficiency in the utilization of body fluids and absorption
of nutrients, helping to maintain electrolyte balance. Fluid and
electrolyte imbalances occur when fluids are lost resulting from
diarrhea, colic, fever, ulcers or sweating. Extracellular fluid
loss occurs in these conditions. Intercellular fluid then shifts
out of cells to compensate, causing abnormal distribution of
electrolytes resulting in cellular malfunction. Chia seeds give
extensive hydration. Hydrophilic colloids, (a watery, gelatinous,
sticky substance) form the underlying elements of all living cells.
Chia has the substance essential to cell life—a balanced property
of giving out (nutrients) and readily taking up
Chia is low in sugar and
starch—a safe supplement that compliments a balanced nutritional
program for humans and horses. It is important to note that the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers Chia Seed a Dietetic
Nutritional Supplement. Chia is a perfect addition to the diet of
IR horses. Chia is effective for horses whose lives depend upon low
While the treatment of Insulin
resistance is multifaceted, Chia has been proven to be a strong
addition to the daily diet of IR horses and humans! (See Testimony
page.) High in protein and essential oils, the hydrophilic (water
absorbing) property of Chia seeds makes a soothing mucilage in the
gut. Chia is a 100% natural seed, not a grain.
There are several key minerals needed for glucose metabolism that
help the Insulin resistance horses. Magnesium affects insulin
secretion and its action in the cells. Essential fatty acids
(EFA's) are needed to help make the cell wall more sensitive to
insulin. Chia is an excellent source of both Magnesium and Omega
oils (EFA's) for which many IR horses are deficient.
Experts agree that low NCS diet is essential for IR horses. Limit
or eliminate access to pasture (especially high-sugar pastures),
feed low sugar and low starch hays, and eliminate grain,
concentrates and high-sugar feeds from the diet.
Feed Chia daily to help balance blood sugar spikes, improve
digestion, and provide essential fats, protein, antioxidants and
magnesium to aid IR horses.
Treat each horse as an
individual and seek quality practitioners to help you. Try to
recognize the clinical signs as early as possible. Include Chia in
your horses daily diets for effective treatment success.
For more information, please
see Insulin-Resistance in Performance Horses by Madalyn Ward, DVM
and the Equine Cushings group at Yahoo. Dr. Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD,
is a wonderful resource for information on this subject.
DISCLAIMER: The information
offered on this web site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure
or prevent any disease. Rather, it is intended for educational
purposes only. Every horse is an individual. Check with your own
veterinarian and horse professionals