Amino Acid Supplements for Horses

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Protein is the most expensive nutrient in the diet. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Before buying something, know what you are looking for.

Protein Requirements for Horses

A 400 kg (880 pound) horse in work has a minimum requirement for 614,000 mg of protein per day. Let that number sink in. Six hundred and fourteen THOUSAND mg. Most of that comes from the horse's hay or pasture. If that horse is eating 10 kg (22 lbs) of an 8% protein hay, that's 800,000 mg of protein.

Protein is made up of strings of amino acids. Not all amino acids are created equal. Nonessential amino acids are those that can also be manufactured by the body as needed. Essential amino acids cannot be manufactured and must be in the diet in certain minimal amounts.

Amino Acids 

The amino acids are strung together like beads on a string to make proteins. Problems occur when a needed amino acid is not present and protein assembly stops. Common issues are poor growth, poor quality hoof and hair, poor muscling.


Lysine is the most commonly deficient amino acid as it is relatively low in many hays and common feed ingredients. An amino acid or protein supplement should have at least 10,000 mg of lysine per dose.

For example:


This amino acid powered supplement has 10,000 mg of lysine per dose.


1/2 lb of this 40% protrein supplement has 13,636 mg in a 1 lb serving.


Methionine is the second most common amino acid deficiency and becoming more common. For more information (Click Here). The estimated requirement is 1/3 of lysine and supplementation with 5,000 mg minimum is advisable.


Horses in work with trouble building muscle may benefit from the amino acid leucine which is the most anabolic amino acid in muscle. Feed 10,000 mg, ideally immediately before or immediately after exercise (or both).

Before you pay a big ticket price for an amino acid supplement, read the label and check the amounts.


Before you pay a big ticket price for an amino acid supplement, read the label and check the amounts.


- Eleanor Kellon, VMD


Has leucine as well as ingredients to support optimal muscle function.

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