Amino acids are the building blocks to build, fuel and repair muscle. Just because a horse is getting enough crude protein, it doesn’t mean it’s getting enough essential amino acids to balance the rest of its diet or the level of work it’s in.
International vet and nutritionist Dr Eleanor Kellon, recommends a supplement of lysine, methionine and threonine if you think your horses muscle function isn’t as good as it could or should be. This includes any issues with building muscle, performance issues, topline or muscle pain/cramps.
A good equine diet must include a balanced amino acid profile, including all essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must be provided in the diet, as the horse cannot create them itself it its gastrointestinal tract.
Additionally, some of the essential amino acids are “limiting” amino acids. This means that if a horse runs out of this type of amino acid, it can’t utilise any of the other amino acids in its diet. For example, if a horse has enough of the first most-limiting amino acid (lysine), but then runs out of the second most-limiting amino acid (methionine), it can’t use the remaining amount of the third most limiting (threonine), and so on.
In addition to lysine, methionine and threonine, Muscle Amino also contains leucine and glutamine.
Leucine has four important functions as outlined by Dr Kellon:
- Leucine builds bulk
- Leucine can be used directly as an energy source which therefore reduces the demand on stored glycogen and blood glucose
- Leucine is a key trigger of protein synthesis. Importantly, when leucine is metabolised it creates HMB. HMB is crucial to muscle growth. In fact, in humans HMB reduces the effect of exercise‐induced muscle damage and enhances muscle growth, strength, resistance to fatigue, and regenerative capacity. In humans HMB is particularly effective for unfit individuals who are exposed to strenuous exercise and also in athletes who are exposed to periods of intense physical stress.
- When leucine is broken down for energy it can help restore glucose levels
- Muscle Amino also contains glutamine. Glutamine is critical in the synthesis of glutathione. Glutathione is the most important antioxidant molecule in muscle cells and also supports immune function. Glutamine can also be useful for fueling and repairing muscle tissue and replenishing the natural supply depleted during times of stress. Glutamine can also support the integrity of the intestinal epithelial barrier.
Muscle Amino works best if given in a small feed immediately before and/or immediately after exercise.
● For large, heavy horses in a lot of work on poor quality hay it is recommended you add 65 grams to your feed
● For very small horses/ponies, horses in less work with decent quality hay or those fed lucerne or other feedstuﬀs containing high quality amino acids you may choose to feed a lower/half dose