Chromium, an Important Micromineral for HorsesBy Dr. Joe Pagan · May 21, 2015
Though a horse requires chromium in only small amounts, cellular metabolism depends on the mineral for optimal function. As a component of glucose tolerance factor, chromium plays a role in supporting the action of insulin, which encourages muscle growth as it promotes glucose uptake by cells and stimulates amino acid synthesis.
In some species, chromium excretion is greater with stress and athletic performance. In a trial performed at Kentucky Equine Research, supplementing a group of performance horses with chromium had a beneficial effect on the response to exercise stress. When horses in supplemented and control groups were exercised on a treadmill, those receiving chromium cleared blood glucose following a meal more quickly than control horses and also showed lower peak insulin and cortisol levels. Chromium-supplemented horses had higher triglyceride values during exercise, possibly indicating more efficient fat mobilization. Peak lactic acid concentrations in the chromium-supplemented group of horses were significantly lower than for the controls.
Idle or lightly exercised horses may ingest sufficient chromium in normal diets, but supplementation may be helpful to heavily exercised horses. Chromium supplementation also stimulates the immune system in some animals.