It is an unfortunate fact of life that few Dog conditioners/ trainers actually look at the exact make up of their working dogs diet.While some do look at the various percentages of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats in the diet, not a lot of trainers look at the type of protein in the diet, nor considers the fact that it is not protein that is absorbed into the greyhound’s system, but only those Amino Acids available in the particular type of protein that is provided in the diet.
Amino Acids are the building block of life and just about everything in the body is made up of various types of Amino Acids.
Amino Acids account for 75% of dry body weight. (Vitamins and minerals account for only 1.5% of dry body weight).
Amino Acids make up all neurotransmitters except for one.
95% of all hormones are made up of Amino Acids.
100% of all body protein is made up of Amino Acids
DNA and RNA, the genetic material, require Amino Acids.
Amino Acids influence every gland and every system in the body.
A few examples of Amino Acid functions are:
Insulin is one of the main hormones made by the pancreas, and is made up of a long chain of Amino Acids.
Insulin is essential for maintaining normal levels of blood sugar, and therefore energy levels.
The various forms of thyroid hormone are all made of Amino Acids.
The thyroid gland is the “energy burner” and helps to maintain a normal metabolic function. Too little thyroid hormone and dogs can become easily tired, sluggish and often unwilling to free gallop or work for any length of time.
Growth Hormone is a major contributor to energy, vitality, muscle strength and endurance and is structured from a long chain of Amino Acids.
The adrenal gland makes a host of hormones among which adrenaline is one of the most important (Adrenaline is made from the Amino Acid, Tyrosine).
Adrenaline is essential for the fast reaction time required by the racing greyhound. However because greyhounds are placed in a stressful situation such as chasing the lure they often have adrenals that are “burning out” and this effect can be aggravated by low Tyrosine levels in the diet.
One of the important functions of adrenaline is that it triggers the liver to break down glycogen, the glucose store, to provide an immediate rush of energy.Sex Hormones
The sex hormones, including Oestrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone are all Amino Acid based.Specific Essential Amino Acid Functions
They prevent degenerative disease through their anti-oxidant functions. They keep the gastrointestinal tract working. Amino Acids are critical to immune system function and thus help to fight viruses, bacteria, parasites, and cancer. The sulphur-containing Amino Acids help detoxify heavy metals. Muscles are built and repaired by Amino Acids, such as Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine. Connective tissue, including ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and joint surfaces, are made of Amino Acids, especially L-Proline and L-Lysine. Heart muscle is dependent on Amino Acids, as is heart rate and rhythm. The nervous system relies heavily on Amino Acids to serve as neurotransmitters, the molecules that carry information from one neuron to another. They regulate blood sugar levels, and therefore, energy. The Amino Acids Cysteine and Methionine fight allergies. The Amino Acid Taurine prevents epileptic seizures. Growth hormone requires the Amino Acids Ornithine and Arginine. The Amino Acid Glycine is required for wound healing. L-Carnitine is a “heart tonic.” Histidine fights arthritis. Histidine increases libido. Lysine helps fights viruses and is essential for bone growth. D-L Phenylalanine helps relieve pain. Threonine helps prevent build up of fat in the liver.So as you can see Amino Acids derived from the protein in the diet are absolute essential to not only good health but also to optimum performance.There are a specific group of Amino Acids that must be provided in the diet, and are known as the “essential Amino Acids”. Other Amino Acids are not considered essential because they are able to be synthesised.
However, if any one of the essential Amino Acids is not available in sufficient amounts or is present in excessive amounts relative to other essential Amino Acids, protein synthesis will not be supported and a lack of an essential Amino Acid can occur.The value of dietary protein is therefore determined by the amount and proportion of essential Amino Acids it provides.Good sources of high value protein for the working dog difrend types of meat, poultry, egg and milk protein.
Because not all of the essential Amino Acids are supplied in meat alone, it is believed to be worthwhile to add other sources of high value protein to the diet.
In regard to the “complete” dry foods and their protein content.
It is of some concern to me that while a range of types of proteins are listed on the packaging of some, that due to the heat and cooking processes involved in the manufacturing of these products, the bioavailability of the Amino Acids in the protein content of these foods is extremely poor, causing an imbalance of essential Amino Acids in the diet.
While there is a very high protein content in these types of foods, if the protein they contain can not be broken down in the digestive system to release the Amino Acid content, the only use for this protein is to supply energy needs.
This unfortunately increases the stress on the kidneys due to the increase of waste produced by the body using protein as an energy source instead of complex carbohydrates.
While adding meat to these “complete” foods may solve some of the Amino Acid requirement problems, it unfortunately increases the reliance by the body on the protein in the diet as an energy source and further aggravating kidney function problems resulting in drinking ecsesif amounts of water. and ore create protien poisioning witch shows itself as loss of hair bold spots and intolerance ….