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Amino Acids: Their Role and Importance in Pets’ Health

Por Silvia Gituto el Jul 27, 2021
Amino Acids: Their Role and Importance in Pets’ Health

It is as important for pets as it is for humans to eat a balanced diet. A diet consisting of fat, protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins is what pet’s need too. Of all these, protein is one of the most important macro-nutrients pets need and is also what breaks down into amino acids.

Simply put, amino acids are what help pets thrive. They help with tendons, ligaments, bones, nails, hair, immunity, anxiety and mood, among other major functions in the body.

That's why at Avantis , we put utmost care into our pet food production to ensure that cats and dogs get the daily requirement of this very important macronutrients everyday. 

So, what are amino acids and why are they so important for pets? 

What Are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Proteins comprise chains of amino acids.

Pets utilize 22 different amino acids, 10 of which are "nonessential" and can naturally be produced in the body as needed. The other 10 amino acids, however, can't be made by a pet or produced in sufficient quantities as fast as is required on their own so that they can grow and stay healthy. Pets must, therefore, get them regularly from the food they consume. 

Pets also require one added compound, taurine, which is found naturally in animal-based ingredients. It can also be consumed as a supplement. Because of this critical role it plays for health, it is added to pet food. It is not used to make proteins but floats freely in pets' tissues. 

Technically, taurine is not an amino acid due to the fact that it has bonds that behave somewhat differently compared to other amino acids. But just like amino acids, taurine plays a key role in almost all the organs and helps with;

  • Brain health

  • Heart health

  • Eye health

  • Immune function

  • Healthy blood

  • Reproduction

  • Immune health 

The 10 Essential Amino Acids 

Arginine  

This essential amino acid is tasked with getting rid of ammonia, which is a protein metabolism byproduct. It is a major component of proteins in the body. Arginine also stimulates release of hormones to regulate blood sugar and helps with cell signaling.

Histidine

It plays a major role in the exchange of oxygen in the tissues and lungs. It also helps with tissue repair and growth and is a precursor for production of histamine in the body, which is part of immune function.

Isoleucine

Helps with protein formation in pets' bodies.

Leucine

Leucine is responsible for protein synthesis as well as regulating the other amino acids in a pet's body. It also controls insulin levels and helps in the repair and growth of bones, skin and muscles.

Lysine

This amino acid is found in collagen, which plays an integral role in the protein structure and while supporting soft tissues. In addition, it helps in regulating cell metabolism.

Methionine

Apart from being required for normal growth and protein synthesis, methionine is used to make proteins. It is also required for growth and cell division as well as regulation of many enzymes.

Phenylalanine

This amino acid converts to a nonessential amino acid called tyrosine which is necessary for normal growth and is used for protein structure. It also helps regulate hormones, cell signaling and replication.

Threonine

It helps form tooth enamel and proteins, as well as elastin and collagen as is the case in humans, both help maintain elasticity and soft tissue structure. It also plays an integral role in the production of antibodies and immune health and controls the activity of other enzymes and proteins.

Tryptophan

It is needed in the body for nitrogen balance and normal growth. It's also required for the manufacture of the hormone serotonin- a chemical messenger that affects heart function and mood.

Valine

This last essential amino acid is required for tissue repair and muscle metabolism. It is also used by muscle tissue as an energy source.

Unlike carbohydrates or fats, pets' bodies can't store these 10 amino acids and that's why incorporating them in their diet is important. At Avantis, we know how important this is. Our brands- Comet, Pure, Avantispet and Petcool incorporate amino acids that are processed just right for digestibility. 

When even a single essential amino acid is lacking, the entire body doesn't work efficiently.

What Do Amino Acids Do?

When pets feed, their bodies break down the proteins in their food into the different amino acids. These amino acids are thereafter reassembled to help their body function properly. 

Amino acids help pets;

  • Build and repair body tissue

  • Ferry oxygen throughout the body

  • Control brain chemicals and mood

  • Transport nutrients throughout the body

  • Maintain a healthy skin and coat

  • Support muscle function and activity

  • Hormone control

  • Enzyme activity

  • Immune function

  • With tissue growth and repair

  • Metabolism

  • Build antibodies 

  • Production of vitamins (B3)

  • Brain, eye and heart function

 

Different Sources of Protein and Amino Acids

Every protein source supplies unique amounts and types of amino acids. Regardless of the protein source, the structure of an amino acid is similar. This simply means that the body cannot differentiate between plant sourced or meat sourced amino acids. Both provide excellent options in providing protein to pets.

Biological value or protein quality is the protein's ability to be used by the body. Animal proteins are regarded as high quality proteins as they provide all the essentials in the right amounts needed by pets. Plant proteins often have one or more less essential amino acids. This, however, can be easily corrected by feeding pets on complementary plant based protein sources. Peas and oats, for example, have different profiles that when put together, provide all essential amino acids.

 

When whole food ingredients alone cannot meet the amino acid requirements, individual amino acids can be incorporated as a supplement in the diet. The environmental impact brought about by producing animal protein is higher than that of producing plant-based protein. Therefore, formulating pet food recipes using moderate levels of animal proteins in combination with plant-based proteins is a sustainable way of meeting the nutritional requirements of pets.

 

Despite being high in protein, many pet foods in the market don’t have the required amount of these critical amino acids that pets need to thrive.

 

Deficiency resulting from lack of sufficient amino acids can cause problems with hormones, skin, soft tissue and growth. It can even cause mood variations and behavioral changes. 

 

At Avantis, one of the basic pillars of our philosophy is to guarantee the best nutrition for all dogs and cats by putting all our technology and the best ingredients at their service. We use high quality proteins that guarantee the supply of essential amino acids, reinforce the immune system and ensure unbeatable health. 

 

Get in touch with us today to find out more about our products and how you can partner with us and become a leader in the pet industry in your country.