Turmeric and Laminitis
What is Laminitis?
Laminitis is described as a disease of the hooves of horses. As such, it is a little misleading as it is a consequence of disease, hormonal & metabolic dysfunction and poor nutrition, each of which may be described as disease. Laminitis is fundamentally a symptom of disease and relates to specific inflammatory, oxidative and circulatory malfunction in the specific area of the hoof.
What are the symptoms of Laminitis?
Symptoms of laminitis include raised temperature in the hoof, increased arterial pulsing, the classic founder stance, and general behaviour to avoid putting weight on the affected areas. All these symptoms also indicated what is happening in the hoof.
What causes Laminitis?
Laminitis is a disorder that is associated with overfeeding sugar and starch or water-soluble carbohydrates, which causes inflammation of the laminae.
It targets the lamellar (soft, connective tissue) that holds the hoof to the pedal bone, and the inflammation resulting in pain and lameness in horses and ponies.
Although laminitis is a disorder that is expressed in the feet, the actual physiology of laminitis involves poor circulation, vasoconstriction and pooling of toxins, pro-inflammatory factors, oxygen starvation and the inability of glucose to energise normal hoof metabolism.
The major instigators of these factors are endocrinological – obesity, insulin resistance PPID, dietary (too much fructans, sugars, overeating), or mechanical (bruising, wounds).
Can Turmeric help with Laminitis?
Yes, there are a number of ways turmeric can help to support horses with laminitis:
- It acts as a natural pain killer
- It is an anti-inflammatory agent
- It helps to restore gut flora
- It can aid metabolic health
- It has anti-microbial properties
Does a laminitic need a special diet?
When feeding the laminitic, attention is paid to reducing causative factors by:
- Reducing weight (obesity leads to fat deposition which activates the release of adipokines, a form of cytokine which is an inflammatory mediator)
- Reducing protein intake (amine generation in hind gut) and starch (leads to lactic acid production in the hind gut that “loosens” the tight spaces and allows absorption of endotoxins)
On top of this there are strategies for feeding the IR & EMS horse, veterans (more prone to Cushing’s) and other endocrinopathic disorders, again all designed to reduce causative factors.
How can Turmeric help the laminitic?
When helping to ensure the normal inflammation and oxidative cycles run smoothly, turmeric has a role.
Inflammatory factors involved in the aetiology of laminitis are released through the activation of neutrophils. Although neutrophils are generally regarded as macrophages and the first line response to infection, they also release cytokines generating inflammatory regulators such as interleukins and tumour necrosis factors. Neutrophils are activated by various laminitic factors such as endotoxins, reperfusion and oxidative factors. The released regulators impact on antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase, SOD) depressing them and allowing oxidative factors such as NOX and superoxide to increase oxidative stress and feed back into neutrophil activation. At the same time the regulators increase the activity of MMP, having a direct impact on cellular destruction in the lamellar of the hooves.
Turmeric has a number of components that can have a role in this negative cycle. Although its principal bioactive is curcumin, it also has a number of essential oils and sterols, all of which can act in this cycle. Turmeric has strong antioxidative properties and has been reported to increase GTP and SOD activity. As such this would help suppress the pro-oxidative NOX and superoxide, providing a brake on the pro-inflammatory cycle.
Curcumin inhibits the production of both interleukin and the TN factors involved in the release of MMP, whilst also down regulating the release of chemo-attractants without which fewer pro-inflammatory factors arrive at the damaged site.
The essential oils also have a role in the inflammatory cycle. They lower PGE2 which has a role in eicosanoid production – both pro- and anti- inflammatory. It also impacts on vasodilation and so may help flush away pooled blood.
As such, one series of components in the aetiology of laminitis revolves around a downward spiral of oxidative stress generating inflammatory cues that suppress antioxidative factors and so increase oxidative stress. Simultaneously the inflammatory regulators help generate MMP to cause physical damage to the hoof. By interacting at both the oxidative and the inflammatory stages of this cycle turmeric can support those regulatory factors that return stress factors to normal.
Turmeric Supplement for Laminitics
Laminitis is a complex issue with many factors to its development. Dietary causes, and strategies can help in its control, but they can be more fully supported by the inclusion of bioactives in the diet.
TurmerAid contains powerful antioxidants, components that help ensure normal inflammatory control and metabolites that extend the bioavailability of the actives. As part of a regime for feeding the laminitic horse, TurmerAid has many benefits.
As well as turmeric, TurmerAid contains apple cider vinegar, black pepper, cooked linseed and yucca, all of which offer natural antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties along with improved digestibility.
Bioavailability is an important factor to ensure that dietary bioactives reach the active area and the inclusion of piperine to downregulate glucuronidation and yucca saponins to improve absorption allows the curcumin, terpenes and phytosterols circulate to the hooves.
Bioactives from apple cider vinegar – chlorogenic acid and quercetin – support the antioxidative route to a similar way to turmeric, but also offsets glucuronidation, so increasing overall bioavailability. Additionally, the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids also ameliorates inflammatory process through its role in PGE2 regulation.
Being in a pellet form ensures that all of the ingredients are ingested and utilised by the body, optimizing the benefits from the bioactives. It also makes TurmerAid easy to measure and is mess free.