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October 27, 2011

Chromium is an important mineral for horses with Cushings

by DePaolo Equine Concepts


Chromium is a very important nutritional mineral.  It is especially important for horses with endocrine disorders or metabolic syndromes such as Cushings, Pre-Cushings, Syndrome X and Hypothyroidism.  This is due to the fact that Chromium is integral in the regulation, stabilization, metabolism and absorption of sugars in the blood.

I am recognizing that Chromium deficiency is very common in horses.  More than half of the Horse Hair Analysis™ tests that we process show inadequate levels of this mineral.  Low Chromium levels in the body are typically caused by one of two reasons:

  1. There are inadequate levels in the diet.
  2. The horse is consuming feed too high in sugars and carbohydrates (such as pelleted ‘grains’ containing molasses) which uses up the Chromium to metabolize the sugars.

NOTE:  It is important to feed additional chromium when a deficiency is present.  

There are some good Chromium supplements available on the market, however, I have never seen a Chromium deficiency without other imbalances as well so I recommend owners run an HHA™ if these symptoms are present so that we are able to address the horses’ entire bio-chemical picture.   I highly recommend changing a horse’s diet if it currently contains an excess of simple sugars and/or complex carbohydrates to low glycemic type of diet.  This is imperative for horses that are already symptomatic of hormone/endocrine imbalances.

The most common symptoms I look for when evaluating for endocrine (and therefore, Chromium deficiency) issues are:

  • cresty neck
  • long hair coat that doesn’t shed
  • supraorbital ‘fat’ bulge (hole over eye fills in)
  • fatty deposits over the tail head
  • swollen sheath or fat in front of the udder
  • excessive drinking / urination

If your horse suffers from a metabolic or endocrine disorder, there are several low carb, complete feeds on the market.  Unfortunately, many of them have very high levels of soy or soy by-products.  Soy contains high levels of estrogen as well as being is relatively indigestible for horses.

Estrogens are quite detrimental to the delicate hormone balance of geldings and stallions.  They aren’t much better for your mare, especially if she suffers from what we affectionately call “Bitchy Mare Syndrome”.  This syndrome is commonly characterized by a progesterone deficiency.  Progesterone has the opposite effect on mares.  It is considered to be the “calming” hormone.

The DePaolo Equine Concepts, Inc. online store has products to support proper endocrine health and encourage the balancing of hormone levels.   Our healthy endocrine system supplement, Chaste Tree Berry Powder promotes proper pituitary function and helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.  When CTBP is not enough, I recommend our Harmony™ Supplement.

Harmony™ is a powerful all-natural horse supplement that I created to promote a proper functioning Endocrine System and to help maintain an even temperament. The active ingredients are commonly used to stabilize blood sugar and hormone levels.  It is also great for hormone related behavioral issues and is a beneficial as a comprehensive supplement for Cushing syndrome.


Horse Hair Analysis® is an emerging practice that allows greater insight into unsolved equine health and nutritional problems.  It is now possible to find causes for puzzling health problems and precisely address them through custom nutritional supplementation. For more information in HHA, please or to purchase a Horse Hair Analysis®  testing kit, please visit our online store.


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