What is it?
Chromium is one of the most common elements in the earth’s crust and seawater, existing in the environment in several oxidation states, principally as metallic (Cr0), trivalent (+3), and hexavalent (+6) chromium. The latter is largely synthesized by the oxidation of the more common and naturally occurring trivalent chromium and is highly toxic. Trivalent chromium, found in most foods and nutrient supplements, is an essential nutrient with very low toxicity.
What does it do?
There is very little conclusive research on the role of the mineral chromium in human or animal health, despite widespread anecdotal reports of its benefits from diabetics. Chromium is thoughts to be a key element of 'glucose tolerance factor' which is essential for effective glucose metabolism. Some studies strongly implicate chromium as a critical cofactor in the action of insulin with results showing improved blood sugar status and greatly reduced insulin requirements. Strenuous exercise, high sugar diets and physical trauma result in high chromium losses and increase the need for chromium supplements. Chromium has been also shown to improve lean body mass in humans and certain animals.
For a full discussion on chromium, see:
The following quotation is taken from ‘Extract from Putting Weight on Skinny Horses’, K Crandell PhD, P Huntington, BVSc:
”Supplemental chromium may improve the metabolism of starch. Chromium influences the way the body handles the rise in blood glucose resulting from starch digestion and the consequential rise in insulin. Chromium yeast has been used effectively in reducing the incidence of chronic laminitis in some ponies and in reducing the incidence of chronic tying up in horses that cannot tolerate a high grain diet. Recent research has shown that chromium can enhance glucose metabolism in young horses, which reduces insulin and cortisol levels after feeding grain. This may be useful in reducing the risk of OCD in young horses.”
What form of chromium should be used for horses?
A safe and convenient form to use is chromium yeast. Yeasts are able to naturally metabolize inorganic minerals into organic forms. Food grade yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae) is cultivated in a chromium-rich environment so the yeast accumulates high levels of organic chromium. Brewers yeast naturally contains some chromium but very small amounts compared to chromium yeast.
How much should be fed to horses?
Chromium could potentially be toxic if overdosed so 5 grams (1 tsp) of chromium yeast is considered to be maximum dosage per day for a 550kg horse. Reduce this amount if chromium is included in any vitamin/mineral mix that is also being fed.
As an approximate guide, note that one level 5ml teaspoon holds 4g of chromium yeast. One rounded 5ml teaspoon holds 6g of chromium yeast.
WHERE TO BUY CHROMIUM YEAST
Go to the SUPPLIERS page information about where to buy chromium yeast in your country.