May 10 , 2021
Threonine for Horses
The most important essential amino acid in horses needed in quantity after lysine is threonine. Threonine is the second most limited amino acid. It is necessary for normal gut health and protein synthesis in the horse's body. Threonine is mostly present in plant and animal proteins. It is richest in alfalfa, soybean meal, potato, and pea proteins. A small quantity of threonine is also present in cereal grains like oats and wheat. In working and competing horses threonine supplementation is recommended.
Threonine maintains gut health and helps maximize nutrient absorption in horses. It plays a part in the production of a mucin protein. Mucin protein forms a mucous barrier between the acidic environment of the gut and intestine and stomach cells for protection. The mucin produced by threonine also protects the gut against various pathogens and toxins.
The essential amino acid threonine present in protein can also be modified to alter the protein function in response to signals from outside cells in the horses. Threonine is transformed into another amino acid glycine which produces creatinine. Creatinine is a high-energy compound present in muscle tissue among equines. Threonine can also form glucose by gluconeogenesis in the liver which can easily be metabolized to fulfill energy requirements in horses during hard work and exercise.
Threonine ensures a healthy and optimum body condition by turning off fat-storing genes and turning on fat-burning genes. It is responsible for supporting normal growth by maintaining the protein balance in the horse's body. Threonine regulates cardiovascular, central nervous, digestive, liver, and immune system function in horses. Glycine and serine, two amino acids produced by threonine are essential for the production of elastin, collagen, and muscle tissues.
Threonine keeps connective tissues and muscles strong and elastic throughout the body. It is responsible for building strong bones in horses. It supports the immune system by the production of antibodies. Threonine prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver and protects the horse against liver failure. It is also important in maintaining the health of the thymus gland.
Deficiency of threonine may cause digestion problems and liver function impairment. Its deficiency can also result in loss of muscle mass and low energy levels. Excess of threonine does not cause any serious complications in the horses. The conclusion is that in the case of low threonine in horses, it must be provided with threonine supplementations to avoid serious and harmful circumstances.