Metabolic syndrome is a name applied to a collective group of risk factors that raise the risk of other health conditions. In humans, we see a rise in the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, vascular disorders, neurodegenerative conditions and many others. In horses, we generally see an increased risk for insulin resistance, Cushing’s disease and laminitis. The term ‘metabolic’ actually implies an alteration in cellular metabolism or biochemical processes, but is often quickly associated with a state of increased body weight or obesity. The syndrome is actually complex, involving many pathways, but as with other conditions, with a more indepth understanding comes better management.
Everyone is looking for the ultimate cure or answer to whatever condition impacts their health or lifestyle, whether if that is for themselves, their pets or their horses. Is there an answer out there? A solution to what ails you? The answer is more complex than what you would like to hear, not necessarily a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but more or less in between.
Free radicals are an important entity in chemistry and in health, having been researched for many years with connections to cellular changes that may impact overall health and aging. A free radical is a molecule that has an unpaired electron in the outer shell, which creates instability and a high rate of reactivity with other molecules. Free radicals are produced as a normal part of cellular respiration or energy production, but can also be generated as a consequence of environmental factors, stress, poor diet, food additives, medications and genetics. In general, they can have huge negative impacts on overall health, performance and sustainability, but the good news is that with understanding, we also realize that there are things we can do to minimize the damage inflicted.