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[RC] [Fwd: Carbohydrates During a ride] - Bruce Weary DC

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Carbohydrates During a ride
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2006 12:29:13 -0700
From: Bruce Weary DC <bweary@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: ranch@xxxxxxxxxxx

   Hi Ed--
  How's things in your neck of the woods? You brought up some 
interesting ideas about sugar metabolism, and I thought I'd comment. It 
works kinda like this: The horse (or person) eats a carb meal, and 
digests it primarily in the stomach. It passes through the small 
intestine where it is absorbed as glucose into the bloodstream. As the 
glucose circulates in the blood through the pancreas, insulin is 
released into the blood to make the body's cells permeable to the 
glucose so that it can get inside the cell where it is burned. I don't 
know of a mechanism that allows glucose into the cell without the use of 
insulin. If complex carbs are used, there shouldn't be a "spike," but 
rather a sloping increase in blood sugar over 20-30 minutes. When the 
glucose levels get too low, the pancreas also knows this, and releases 
another hormone, glucagon, which tells the liver to release some of it's 
glycogen stores to bring the levels back up.  This is essentiall
y the 
"check and balance" system of the pancreas designed to control glucose 
levels.This is probably the mechanism involved in the highs and lows 
horses (and people) experience during a ride.
  In your mother's case, she would eat carbs that increased her blood 
sugar levels, but if she didn't produce insulin, her blood sugar would 
just keep circulating, "trapped" in the bloodstream, and unable to 
"escape" into the cells. This is the problem with diabetics--they eat, 
but don't get the benefit of the energy of the food they eat, so they 
feel fatigued, and are still hungry even though there's plenty of 
glucose circulating in their blood. Since they're always hungry, obesity 
often goes hand in hand with diabetes. The resulting effect of the 
insulin shot has a lot to do with when they eat and their activity 
level.  If it's done properly, they get energy from their food, and can 
maintain activity. If not, you're right, the insulin will cause storage 
and weight gain. I
 can't explain why your mother did okay with eating 
apples, other than maybe the fact that she might have produced some low 
levels of insulin, and the sugar in the apples is digested slowly, so 
the two together helped maintain a decent glucose level.
   In feeding the horse throughout the ride, not just at vet checks, we 
can avoid the typical dropping of the blood glucose levels, and keep the 
horse strong and functioning better all day. It reminds me of the guy on 
Ed Sullivan who used to spin those plates on those tall skinny sticks. 
He'd have seven or eight of them going at a time, and he'd just tweak 
each stick every now and then to keep them spinning. If he didn't pay 
attention, the plates would eventually slow down and wobble badly, and 
eventually crash to the floor. We just have to "keep the horse's plates 
spinning."  And it's easy. Just feed him frequently throughout the ride, 
and make sure some of that feed is carbs.  Dr Q