Sponsored by Kemin Equine
Did you know that horses succumb to heat stress three to 10 times faster than humans? We are well into another long, hot summer full of travel and competition. It may be time to think about what you can do beyond the typical heat mitigation and training routine changes to help your horse deal with the heat and stay competitive.
In addition to management strategies, there are nutritional solutions that can be considered—for instance, providing daily supplemental chromium.
Research suggests that insulin action is a key component of the heat stress response, and that’s precisely where chromium comes in. Chromium has been shown to improve insulin function leading to more efficient uptake of glucose from the blood into cells. This increased glucose uptake may improve thermal tolerance in heat-stressed horses. The result is a reduced body temperature and respiratory rate during heat stress.
The benefits of improving glucose utilization go beyond just dealing with the heat, however. Glucose is the energy that fuels cells in the horse’s body. Glucose is stored as glycogen in skeletal muscle, and when glycogen levels are low—less than 50 percent of normal—your horse’s performance can be negatively impacted. Multiple events during the day or multiple days of competition, for example, can quickly deplete glycogen stores. The inclusion of chromium into your horse’s diet can increase the rate of glucose uptake in skeletal muscle to replenish glycogen stores, which may help support performance.
Another benefit of chromium is that it has been shown to reduce cortisol—a stress hormone—levels in animals. Common stressors such as extreme temperatures, exercise, travel and diet changes can significantly impact the health and performance of your horse. When stressed, horses release cortisol, which could result in aggressive or undesirable behavior, suppressed immune function, gastric ulcers or diarrhea, to name a few. With reduced cortisol levels, your horse may be better able to handle stressful situations and environments.
KemTRACE Chromium from Kemin—the first product of its kind on the market—is a highly bioavailable source of chromium. It has been fed to millions of animals around the globe and is the only FDA-reviewed source of chromium propionate on the market today. Kemin has invested more than 20 years of research and millions of research dollars in the validation of KemTRACE Chromium as a safe, bioavailable and efficacious source of this essential nutrient.
Visit kemin.com/equineheatstress to download a free resource poster that highlights how to help your horse beat the heat with science, utilizing the temperature-humidity index and an array of proven heat mitigation practices.