Study: Age Affects Equine Glucose, Insulin Responses

Older horses tended to have higher insulin secretory responses to glucose compared to adult horses, researchers found.

Study: Age Affects Equine Glucose, Insulin Responses
Researchers found that aged horses tended to have higher insulin secretory responses to glucose when compared to adult horses, regardless of diet. | Photo: iStock
Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) has been widely studied, but little data is available regarding the effect of age or diet on horses’ glucose and insulin dynamics.

To close this information gap, an international team of researchers recently set out to evaluate different diets’ effects on glucose and insulin levels in healthy adult and aged horses. Additionally, they sought to determine the short-term glycemic and insulinemic responses to meal consumption for each diet.

The research team assigned eight adult (5 to 13 years) and eight aged (18 to 24 years) Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds to one of four seven-week feeding treatments before rotating them through all treatments:

  • Control: restricted starch and sugar fortified pellets;
  • Starch: smaller portion of Control + kibbled corn;
  • Sugar: smaller portion of Control + dextrose powder; and
  • Fiber: smaller portion of Control + unmolassed sugar beet pulp/soybean hull pellets.

“Nonobese horses were used to eliminate obesity as a factor that might change the results,” noted lead researcher Sarah Jacob, a PhD candidate at Michigan State University, in East

Create a free account with to view this content. is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.


Written by:

Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as a certified equine acupressure practitioner. She also hosts a blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse. Once an avid barrel racer, she now enjoys giving back to the horses who have given her so much.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Do you use heated water buckets for your horses?
204 votes · 204 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with!