Grand Meadows - Amino Acids Explained
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They band together in chains to help form the horse from the very beginning. Think of amino acids as Legos for your horse. It's a two-step process, amino acids get together and form peptides or polypeptides and it is from these groupings that proteins are made. Amino acids are essential to nearly every bodily function. Every chemical reaction that takes place in your body depends on amino acids and the proteins that they build.
There are a total of 22 amino acids that are needed by the horse, but not all of them have to be provided in the feed. There are 10 that need to be in the diet.
These are arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Out of these ten amino acids that need to be provided to the horse Lysine and Methionine are the two most important that are regularly included in supplements. At Grand Meadows a number of our products use a soybean meal base that is an excellent source of the required amino acids.
Lysine is involved in many functions in the horse. It helps improve the appetite and the excretion of gastric juices. It is crucial in the growth of young animals and helps protect horses from anemia. It is very important in the absorption of calcium and in the development of collagen. Lysine is also involved in maintaining the pigment of skin and hair coat.
A deficiency of lysine would result in poor quality hooves and coat, slower wound healing, poor tolerance to heavy exercise, a low red blood cell count along with a number of other problems.
Methionine is a very important source of sulphur and as such is crucial to the formation of healthy collagen and to the keratinisation of the hooves. It is involved in the production of a number of other important compounds in the horse from liver detoxification to muscle building.
A deficiency in methionine may well lead to poor hoof quality and tendon and ligament damage.