Thehorse.com - Full Article
by: Erica Larson, News Editor
April 23 2011, Article # 18144
Veterinarians often recommend psyllium for use as a laxative, specifically for clearing sand out of horses' intestines to minimize the chances of sand colic. But new research indicates there might be another use for the phytogenic (plant-based) supplement: the control of blood glucose and insulin concentrations.
Research performed in humans indicated that oral psyllium supplementation reduced blood sugar and insulin response after eating, but psyllium's effects on horses' blood glucose and insulin levels had not previously been examined. Shannon John J. Moreaux, DVM, assistant professor of equine science at Montana State University, and a team of researchers set out to determine whether psyllium would have the same effect on horses.
Both insulin and glucose play a role in equine insulin resistance (IR), a hormonal disorder that most commonly occurs in horses with equine metabolic syndrome and in those with equine Cushing's disease (pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, PPID). Insulin's main function is to control blood sugar (glucose) levels by signaling fat, muscle, and liver cells to take up glucose (a simple sugar resulting from the digestion of food) from the blood and store it as glycogen (stored complex carbohydrates--essentially, a main source of fuel for the horse). Insulin resistance is a reduction in a horse's sensitivity to insulin that makes it harder for the fat, muscle, and liver cells to transport the glucose out of the bloodstream and store it as glycogen...
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