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[RC] [RC] lysine - Patti

From: patty peck < ebeyslew@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [RC]   lysine

I feed Allegra Cadence because it has Lysine in it.  For these reasons:=0A=
=0ALysine is an essential amino acid, which means that it is essential to h=
uman health but cannot be manufactured by the body. For this reason, lysine=
 must be obtained from food. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein=
. Lysine is important for proper growth and it plays an essential role in t=
he production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty aci=
ds into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. Lysine appears to help the=
 body absorb and conserve calcium and it plays an important role in the for= "">mation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues =
including skin, tendon, and cartilage.

The KER Library http://www.ker.com/library/index.asp has several articles that expand on this.
Lysine (and other amino acids) can be supplemented to provide a better amino acid profile without adding excessive amounts of crude protein (CP) or to improve the amino acid profile for all-grass diets or in poorer protein sources such as cottonseed meal. Mares in late pregnancy and lactation need about 25% more lysine than at maintenance, it's "assumed" this will be obtained from a "typical" ration (NRC 1989). Work and growth also increase both the CP and lysine requirements.
But not all protein sources provide the same levels of essential amino acids even when the CP level is the same, and the digestibility of the feed also affects how much of the CP (and thus the amino acids) in a feed is actually available.  The required ratios of amino acids in the horse aren't known. Soybean meal, because of its high levels of lysine, is the most commonly used protein source in horse and mare/foal feeds but I've seen whey protein isolate used in more feeds recently (very palatable and can be added by itself as a supplement).
Patti K
Vail AZ