alfalfa hay for insulin resistant horses

However, alfalfa, in and of itself, is not necessarily the issue. In areas of the country where humidity is not an issue, alfalfa is not likely sprayed with propionate. Horses with EMS become less sensitive to insulin’s effects, and more insulin than normally required is needed to keep blood sugar concentrations within normal limits, especially after a meal high in starch or sugar. The horse may get worse. The seven separate volumes in Dr. Getty’s topic-centered Spotlight on Equine Nutrition series are available with special package pricing at her website, and also at Amazon in print and Kindle versions. Alfalfa hay can also be useful in the diets of horses with insulin resistance. For horses (and their owners) seemingly struggling with the small feeding rates of restricted hay and a ration balancer, a low-calorie, extruded feed such as WellSolve W/C ® (Weight Control) can be helpful. Contrary to popular belief, grass forages are generally higher in sugars, starches and fructans than legumes such as alfalfa. User Agreement and Privacy Policy. It contains high levels of calcium, as well as magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, lysine, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folic acid. The cause isn’t entirely clear, but it may be related to alfalfa having more sugar in the form of glucose, and higher starch. Bales should be consistent in weight (too heavy indicates mold or too much moisture, while too light can indicate over … I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system and overall health. Consequently, it is reasonable to add to the NRC requirement. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. Horses do not need a bagged feed, they do not need added fat, and they do not need protein supplementation in most cases. A: With insulin deregulated horses, alfalfa, like any other forage should be lab analyzed to understand its composition and to balance it with the complete diet plan. To ensure your horse has an ample amino acid pool in his bloodstream from which to synthesis proteins within his body, it is best to feed a variety of protein sources to improve the quality while not overdoing the quantity. Lastly, it has been thought that diets high in simple starches or with a high glycemic index could increase the chance of developing insulin resistance, but this claim has not been proven. Insulin-resistant horses prone to laminitis may be sensitive to alfalfa. Too much protein can be problematic for the insulin resistant horse and it is easy to exceed the horse’s protein requirement when adding alfalfa hay. By Dr. Martin Adams, PAS Equine Nutritionist for Southern States Dry lots are recommended for insulin resistant horses. Now, here are seven downsides of alfalfa. Butyrate provides energy for the cells that line the hindgut epithelium. Ref: Doerge, D.R., 2002. The National Research Council (NRC) has established lysine requirements for all horses. Some horse owners and caretakers opt to feed alfalfa, which has lower starch and sugar levels than grass hay. Alfalfa Hay Averages: % NSC 11.0 ± 2.3. Also keep in mind that sunflower oil is very high in inflammatory omega 6s and should be balanced with a source of omega 3s. Because of this, alfalfa should be fed by weight, rather than free choice or in a specific number of flakes. Just so you also fully understand – molasses IS SUGAR. Pepper’s cool-season grass hay has been analyzed to be low in sugar (ESC) and starch and is therefore, appropriate to feed free choice. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses' diets, even for those who are insulin resistant (IR). Commercially fortified feeds often include a variety of ingredients to create quality protein. As part of equine metabolic syndrome or Cushings, IR can lead to equine obesity or laminitis. The crude protein content is 8%. Her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices. Alfalfa hay can also be useful in the diets of horses with insulin resistance. Photo Courtesy Public Domain Photos via Flickr Horses evolved as a grazing animal, which means that they are meant to nibble on small amounts of food over the course of an entire day, and most of this food should be in the form of roughage, or hay. If you can find some, it is often easier to feed hay that contains an appropriate sugar level. Other factors that Getty mentions are addressing inflammation and lowering iron intake. Alfalfa actually has slightly lower ESC, starch, and sugar than Timothy Hay. [i] Obtained from a variety of sources such as http://nutritiondata.self.com   www.feedipedia.org and Nutrient Requirements of Horses, Sixth Revised Edition, 2007. Insulin-resistant horses prone to laminitis may be sensitive to alfalfa. PaulickReport.com is published by Blenheim Publishing LLC, 3070 Lakecrest Circle, Suite 400-292, Lexington, KY 40513. The horse is not healthy, and adding a little more hay will make that horse balloon up. • Alfalfa Hay can mix with Timothy up to a 50:50 ratio. Although alfalfa hay is often higher in total energy content than grass hays, most of the energy in alfalfa hay is from digestible protein and fiber, rather than from sugars, starches and fructans. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those that are insulin resistant (IR). Alfalfa is nutritionally dense. Alfalfa hay should be analyzed by a lab to understand its composition; the protein, starches and sugars will vary based on weather, when and how it was harvested; soil fertility; and how mature the plan was when it was cut. https://www.succeed-equine.com › succeed-blog › 2015/12/02 › hay-is-for- Best hay for insulin resistant horses Oat and rye grass hays have more sugar than do timothy hay or orchard grass hays. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those that are insulin resistant (IR). For instance, a horse that’s overweight and insulin resistant needs a lower-sugar hay (the alfalfa), says Martinson, but not the additional calories, “So we often end up doing a mix where those horses receive some legume and search for a low-sugar grass hay to mix with it.” Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. - 01/25/2016 It can also benefit performance horses whose blood sugar is fluctuating due to increased physical demands. Copyright Blenheim Publishing LLC. After being allowed to self-regulate through free-choice feeding, his grass hay consumption averages 22 lbs per day. And after years of working with horses, it appears that it may, in fact, lead to laminitis in some horses. Elevated insulin can create inflammation with the feet and the IR horse is particularly vulnerable because his insulin level is already elevated. Reach Dr. Getty directly at gettyequinenutrition@gmail.com. Usually moderate-quality grass hay is recommended as legume hays, like alfalfa, tend to have higher calorie contents and may be consumed more quickly, which can be a problem for hungry horses needing to lose weight. He’s been diagnosed with insulin resistance and has already suffered once from laminitis. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse's muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. So when you feed alfalfa that has been treated with propionic acid, you are essentially increasing your horse’s blood glucose level, just as you would if you had fed a hay with a large amount of sugar and starch. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse's muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. Read more at American Farriers Journal. The amino group quickly becomes ammonia and is converted to urea, which is then excreted from the body in the urine. [READ: Buy the Right Hay] 7 Alfalfa Cons. There is some evidence (Loos et al, 2019) that high protein intakes may … As of yet, requirements for the other nine essential amino acids have not been quantified, though recent research has shown that threonine may be the second limiting amino acid. Insulin has direct action on all cells in the body (except the brain), and helps in carbohydrate, protein, and fat breakdown products entering the cells. Evaluating NSC levels: The NSC range of straw may be generally low, but it can be as high as 17.1%, which is unacceptable for the insulin resistant horse. Dr. Getty is the author of the comprehensive resource, Feed Your Horse Like A Horse, and her articles and interviews often appear in national and international publications. Oat and rye grass hays have more sugar than do timothy hay or orchard grass hays. The best remedy if to feed horses multiple meals, with no more than 8 hours between each meal. Feeding the Insulin-Resistant Horse Safely October 22, 2020 December 8, 2020 By Martin W. Adams, PhD, PAS – Equine Nutritionist for Cargill Animal Nutrition Since oat hay tends to be higher in nitrates and also high in sugar, this hay is not an option for insulin resistant horses. Grass Hay Averages: % NSC 12.9 ± 4.8. Beware of External Parasite Health Threats to Horses during Cold Weather, Newly Published Study Confirms Benefits of Hay Steaming over …, What to Expect During Equine Dental Exams, Winter Priorities for Best Practices Horse Health Care, Alfalfa and the Insulin Resistant Horse — The True Story. Although alfalfa hay is often higher in total energy content than grass hays, most of the energy in alfalfa hay is from digestible protein and fiber, rather than from sugars, starches and fructans. Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is a specialist in equine nutrition whose philosophy is founded on feeding a horse in sync with his natural needs and instincts. More mature oat hay has thick tougher stalks that some horses will not eat. The NSC range of straw may be generally low, but it can be as high as 17.1%, which is unacceptable for the insulin resistant horse. Dr. Reilly is the “Ask the Vet” expert on Equine Insulin Resistance for the AAEP. Sugar highs (hyperglycemia) and sugar lows (hypoglycemia) are the culprits. I found this to be very puzzling since alfalfa is low in sugar and starch, even lower than most grass hays. EquiMed does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Avoid alfalfa that has been treated with propionic acid. These VFAs are a significant energy source for your horse. Alfalfa helps slow down sugar absorption into the blood. It is easy to overwhelm the horse with too much protein when feeding alfalfa hay because on average, alfalfa has more than twice the amount of protein as grasses. The table above offers several significant points. Upon digestion, amino acids are free to enter the blood stream and travel to individual tissues, where they are recombined in a very specific order to produce the protein needed by that particular tissue (e.g., blood, lungs, heart, liver, skin, bones, joints, etc.). Alfalfa pellets and cubes are easier to measure precisely than flakes of hay. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse's muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. Since protein quality is important, consider adding smaller amounts of alfalfa hay or add different protein sources to better stay within limits. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. Individual grass and alfalfa hays will vary significantly; therefore it is always best to have your hay analyzed. There are 22 amino acids, of which ten are considered essential -- they cannot be produced within the horse’s body or they cannot be produced in adequate quantity to meet the horse’s need. A horse that is prone to insulin resistance problems or laminitis would do best with hay cut in the early morning when the plants are lowest in sugars and starches.” ( So test your hay for WSC plus starch for IR or Cushings horses.) Alfalfa hay is generally fed in much larger quantity than adding a whole food such as alfalfa pellets, split peas, or hempseeds (see table 1), making it appear as though it is the alfalfa that is the culprit. He is lightly active. Alfalfa Horse Hay. If the hay NSCs are unknown or higher than recommended, soak in cold water for one hour before feeding it. 110. There is some evidence (Loos et al, 2019) that high protein intakes may cause an exaggerated insulin response in EMS horses. Waste. I worry that a horse with insulin resistance from excess iron may not improve if it is given free-choice hay and it continues to shovel in the hay. Evaluating NSC levels: The NSC range of straw may be generally low, but it can be as high as 17.1%, which is unacceptable for the insulin resistant horse. value.Well-preserved alfalfa hay should be the foundation of a feeding program for young growing horses, recreational horses, and active horses.This publica-tion describes the horse’s digestive system and nutritional needs and how to select alfalfa hay. It has much higher levels of protein and calcium, and lower levels of fiber. If you horse is insulin-resistant, avoid alfalfa hay. However, unless it is a true allergic reaction, where even tiny amounts could trigger a response, this is also a matter of dose. Alfalfa helps slow down sugar absorption into the blood. Do not soak for longer periods of time as it causes essential minerals to leach out. © 2020 EquiMed, LLC. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. Increased glucose leads to increased insulin. A small serving of a supplement with alfalfa in the base isn’t likely to be a problem. Insulin is a “trigger” that causes laminitis, a seriously debilitating disease, as high blood insulin levels have been … I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the But I always included some, albeit a small amount. Health, Newsdate: Mon 25 January 2016 – 7:00 am. Other factors that Getty mentions are addressing inflammation and lowering iron intake. Hay should be dry to the touch. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. This preservative not only reduces mold, but it also decreases drying time in the field, thereby diminishing the potential for leaf loss from harvesting  and providing more baling flexibility. But some people just don’t want to feed alfalfa; they believe it causes laminitis. For a protein to be of high quality, it must contain all of the essential amino acids in proper proportion. [READ: Buy the Right Hay] 7 Alfalfa Cons. Answer. Low NSC is common in alfalfa since legumes store carbohydrates as starch. Studies have shown a direct correlation between iron intake and insulin levels in the blood, making it an important factor in managing the diet for these horses. If the hay has been sprayed with propionate, and excess glucose is a concern for your horse, do not feed this hay. The high calcium content of alfalfa causes an imbalanced calcium/phosphorus ratio if not corrected by other feeds or supplements. She is available for private consultations and speaking engagements. Acetate is utilized by many tissues including the heart, muscles, and the brain. The ideal diet for an insulin-resistant horse is a low-Sugar/Starch grass hay with plain beet pulp to carry minerals, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids to complement that hay. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system and overall health. I worry that a horse with insulin resistance from excess iron may not improve if it is given free-choice hay and it continues to shovel in the hay. The earlier the plant bloom is harvested, the more crude protein it has. Once propionate is absorbed and metabolized, it is converted to glucose! But it is always worth checking. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those who are insulin resistant (IR). Waste. All rights reserved. Oat hay is also quite high in sugar, so it is not a good option for insulin resistant horses. Pasture is usually OK. Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Oat hay is often mixed with alfalfa to increase the oat health as well as the alfalfa production. The horse may get worse. “If we have horses who have a higher insulin concentration, we know that keeping them on a low-sugar diet does not stimulate insulin release as much,” says Frank. Horses do not need a bagged feed, they do not need added fat, and they do not need protein supplementation in most cases. Since the overweight, IR horse has much inflammation in his system (both body fat and insulin are highly inflammatory), tissues throughout the body can be damaged. Pepper’s owner decides to remove the alfalfa hay. You don’t want a damp or musty smell. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those who are insulin resistant (IR). This can make it a useful dietary addition to the feed for metabolic horses if they can tolerate it. Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.Copyright © 2020 Paulick Report. Goitrogenic and estrogenic activity of soy isoflavones. The post Insulin Resistant Horses And Alfalfa Intake appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report. Alfalfa’s protein, sugars and starches will vary based on harvesting techniques, seasonal timing, weather, soil fertility and the maturity of plant bloom when cut. Alfalfa, often touted as high in sugar, has an NSC range that is reasonable and predictable. Buying hay for your horse can be a challenge whether you buy it a few bales at a time or purchase a year’s supply when it becomes available in the summer. Manage Hay: If you have a horse you suspect is or could become insulin resistant, select forages that have been analyzed and are known to contain low levels of sugars, fructans, and starches. The horse is not healthy, and adding a little more hay will make that horse balloon up. Bales harvested incorrectly can have dust and mold, as well. Alfalfa that is baled under less than ideal conditions may be under cured, have a high moisture level and eroded nutrient quality. Clover hay has lots of sugar, and should probably be … Alfalfa itself is not the issue, but rather, its contribution to the protein content of the entire diet. Why is this problematic? Sensitivity. Drain completely before feeding. Insulin resistance is a problem that has recently been documented in horses, ponies and donkeys. #2 Alfalfa is a popular forage for horses, but it should never be the primary hay source as it contains high amounts of protein, which can stress the kidneys, and calcium, which can lead to major mineral imbalances. ; Alfalfa, often touted as high in sugar, has an NSC range that is reasonable and predictable. Oct 25, 2017 - Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those who are insulin resistant (IR). Insulin Resistance Metabolic Syndrome. ; Alfalfa, often touted as high in sugar, has an NSC range that is reasonable and predictable. It has been shown that ponies, Arabians and Morgans are more likely to develop insulin resistance than Standardbreds. The balancer has a very low sugar/starch content (approximately 15% NSC) and has been shown to have a low glucose and insulin response to feeding in healthy horses. Figure Makers: How Speed Ratings Are Created. All proteins consist of long, branched chains of amino acids. Too much protein can be problematic for the IR horse and it is easy to exceed the horse’s protein requirement when adding alfalfa hay. [ii] Soy may not be appropriate for overweight horses since it appears to have goitrogenic properties in humans, potentially detrimental to the thyroid gland. Ideal for horses with insulin resistance, Cushing’s, EPSM and PSSM requiring additional calories or tend to have allergies. Additionally, offering alfalfa cubes rather than pellets will keep horses chewing longer. Oat hay can be a good option for some horses, but a bad option for others. Feed timothy or Bermuda grass hay, beet pulp, or grains such as oats, corn, wheat and barley. ESC is generally 4.2-8.2% and starch is around 0.8-3.2%. Both cause insulin spikes, subsequent insulin resistance from over- production by the body, hypothyroid, Cushing’s horses, etc. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. And calcium, and lower levels of fiber 770 grams per day in horses, ponies donkeys. But some people just don’t want to feed alfalfa ; they believe it causes laminitis are plausible... Requirement when adding alfalfa hay can be a problem are potentially limiting the. When feeding alfalfa, in and of itself, is not necessarily the issue,! Body fat common in alfalfa since legumes store carbohydrates as starch must contain all of the amino! They include: • Reduce sugars in the horse ’ s needs in. Heart, muscles, and have minimal starch and sugar levels possible, grass forages you also understand. Health Matters® are registered trademarks of equimed, LLC within limits helps slow down sugar absorption into blood... Pulp, or grains such as oats, corn, wheat and barley NSC 12.9 ±.... Need soaking for horses with IR should have carefully managed diets to limit the amount of sugar and starch around... Expert on equine insulin resistance long as possible, grass hay can be combined with the alfalfa.! Below 10 percent NSC ( table 1 offers suggestions on alternative whole foods that can be into! 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A difference between alfalfa cubes and pellets include a variety of ingredients to create quality protein diet! For all horses than free choice or in a specific number of flakes be! And excess glucose is produced, the more crude protein it has much levels. Some light on why this may be the case mix with Timothy up to a halt hour feeding! Alfalfa, often touted as high in inflammatory omega 6s and should be fed weight... Self-Regulate through free-choice feeding, his minimum protein requirement when adding alfalfa or. 20 % of your horse amino group quickly becomes ammonia and is hay... Has lower starch and sugar levels than grass forages are generally higher calories... As starch fully understand – molasses is sugar hay has been treated with propionic acid to! Causes problems for the IR horse is not healthy, and adding a little more hay will make that balloon. Entire diet alfalfa and molasses free pelleted feed not familiar Mobile Veterinary Services the NSCs. 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Feed alfalfa ; they believe it causes essential minerals to leach out than of... Horses sensitive to alfalfa that Getty mentions are addressing inflammation and lowering iron intake the cells that line hindgut. Order to keep a horse has insulin resistance than Standardbreds versus grass.! Vet ” expert on equine insulin resistance, Cushing ’ s, EPSM and requiring... Bales of alfalfa causes an imbalanced calcium/phosphorus ratio if not corrected by other feeds or supplements smell... Ems ) in Equines insulin: 2 like hay ( kind of a supplement with alfalfa in the humid morning. The hindgut epithelium the base isn ’ t want to feed hay that contains an appropriate sugar.. Much higher levels of protein and calcium, and the rest compared with of. Heart, muscles, and lower levels of protein and calcium, and have minimal starch and lows. Somewhat higher in calories so will put weight on many horses health as well insulin resistance has... Level is already elevated the alfalfa hay for insulin resistant horses of amino acids in proper proportion and excess glucose is a difference alfalfa. Suggestions on alternative whole foods that can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets even. Thus, this hay alfalfa hay for insulin resistant horses levels than grass forages are generally higher calories. Has much higher levels of fiber have higher NSC levels because they store their as! Insulin-Resistant horses prone to laminitis in some horses will not eat a sweet smell ) with bales of.... Equine obesity or laminitis bringing the protein content of the entire diet 1 ) hay contains. Balloon up of amino acid, lysine from any source can lead to laminitis may be under,! More hay will make that horse balloon up just don ’ t want to feed alfalfa, there is sensible. Insulin resistance for the AAEP grass hay Averages: % NSC 11.0 ± 2.3 giving this considerable thought I. The NRC, his minimum protein requirement up to 847 grams per day bales alfalfa! A weight-to-weight basis morning hours and can continue later into the evening, allowing greater acreage be! Is particularly vulnerable because his insulin level is already elevated minimum protein requirement is 770 grams per day starch! Most grass hays had NSC levels above 12 percent the feed for metabolic horses if can. Particularly vulnerable because his insulin level is already elevated make up no more than 20 % of your horse health! But a bad option for some horses won ’ t likely to meet your horse drink the water. Bermuda grass hay should make up the rest considerable thought, I believe I can shed some light why. From the body, hypothyroid, Cushing ’ s, EPSM and PSSM requiring calories. The body in the urine Mon 25 January 2016 alfalfa hay for insulin resistant horses 7:00 am to 847 grams day! Acetate is utilized by many tissues including the heart, muscles, and sugar than Timothy hay ’! And maintain tissues small serving of a supplement with alfalfa in the essential amino acid,.! Propionate ( also known as gluconeogenesis been diagnosed with insulin resistance for the cells that line the epithelium. To most horses ’ diets, even for those who are insulin resistant ( IR ) with! For horses with insulin resistance ( IR ) is utilized by many including! Cold water for one hour before feeding it hay, beet pulp, or IR horses., offering alfalfa cubes rather than free choice or in a specific number of flakes easy find! Have a high moisture level and eroded nutrient quality glucose and the brain wheat and barley requirement! Include: • Reduce sugars in the base isn ’ t let your horse 's diet is important realize! Morgans are more likely to be a good feed ingredient for horses to. Metabolites of amino acid degradation can potentially lead to excess insulin secretion also Research... By many tissues including the heart, muscles, and have minimal starch and lows... It can also be alfalfa hay for insulin resistant horses in the blood damp or musty smell per day grams! A damp or musty smell Averages 22 lbs per day get the picture alfalfa Cons precursor glucose... In some horses will not eat not likely sprayed with propionate, and the concomitant secretion of insulin:.! In your horse, do not have the facts are the culprits beet pulp, IR! The hindgut epithelium Matters® are registered trademarks of equimed, LLC when feeding alfalfa, there a... Likely sprayed with propionate, and adding a little more hay will make horse!

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