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Amino Acids

Cats and dogs cannot make all of the amino acids their bodies require. Therefore their diet must provide them with all those they cannot manufacture themselves. These are called the essential amino acids. If your cat or dog is already on a high quality raw food diet then most likely your pet does not require any further supplements of amino acids.
However there are times when an additional supplement of a particular amino acid may be of benefit.
The following is a selection of amino acids commonly prescribed for cats and dogs who have been diagnosed as being in need of additional support from amino acids.

L-arginine is an essential amino acid, which is used to make nitrous oxide in the kidneys. It is thought that nitrous oxide plays a critical role in regulating blood flow through the kidneys, and it is known that the amount of blood flowing through the kidneys can affect kidney function. L-arginine levels are often very low in CKD cats, so it is possible that supplementing this might increase nitrous oxide levels and thus help kidney function.
Cats diagnosed with hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) are often given arginine by holistic veterinarians.
Diets for cancer patients ay also benefit from additional arginine in the diet. It is known holistically to reduce tumor growth and prevent the spread of cancer.
Being involved in the formation of nitric acid (which helps to regulate blood flow), arginine may assist in the lowering of high blood pressure and be of assistance with heart disease.

L-Lysine is an essential amino acid. When taken with Vitamin C it may relieve heart conditions, treat chronic herpes (when given long-term), prevent bone loss, improve the immune system, aid in the production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes. It is also used for alleviating sneezing and watery eyes.

L-carnitine is a non essential amino acid, manufactured in a healthy liver. It can be helpful for heart function and the utilization of fatty acids by the cells. Indicated for use in dogs with cardiomyopathy and cats with hepatic lipidosis. Supplementation supports cardiac, renal (kidney), and immune health. Supplemental carnitine may improve the ability of certain tissues to produce energy.

L-Glutamine (a non essential amino acid) is found in high-protein foods such as meat, fish, beans, and dairy products are excellent sources of glutamine. Severe stresses may result in a temporary glutamine deficiency. It serves as a primary energy source for the mucosal cells which line the intestinal tract. Because stress on the intestinal cells (such as chronic inflammatory bowel disease or diarrhoea) can increase the need for glutamine as the body replaces the cells lining the intestinal tract, glutamine is often recommended for pets with acute and chronic bowel disorders.
Glutamine supplements should not be taken with drugs for epilepsy. Anti-seizure medication may be affected by high doses of glutamine.

L-Methionine is an essential amino acid required by cats and dogs. Fresh raw meats contain ample methionine, so there is no need to supplement if your pet is getting a high quality diet. Methionine supplement is usually helpful to pets with urinary tract infections as it helps to prevent the formation of struvite crystals by increasing the acidity of the urine. This is a good long-term supplement if your pet is prone to struvite crystals.

Taurine is a beta amino acid essential to cats but not dogs (dogs can make their own). It is thought to help regulate heartbeat, maintain cell membranes, and affect the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Taurine also protects the heart from calcium overload. If your cat or dog has lots of fresh raw meat in the diet there is no need to supplement with taurine. However if they are on a cooked or heavily processed diet, it’s possible they are taurine deficient. Signs of Taurine deficiency in cats is an enlarged heart due to the heart muscle becoming weak and thin. Basically, if in doubt, there is no harm supplementing the diet with taurine.
Therapeutic dose in cats is 250mg-500mg twice daily.
*Heating and cooking food, the taurine will leach into the water. Be sure to add the water back into the food mix.

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*Like all other forms of holistic and naturopathic healing modalities amino acid supplements are not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis and treatment.  If your pet is sick, the best place to start is a diagnosis from your Vet.


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