Whey protein, a soybean alternative, is suitable for some horses and offer a beneficial range of amino acids. This is stated on the website of Kentucky Equine Research.
Whey protein is a byproduct of the cheesemaking industry and is considered a valuable concentrated source of protein.
"Whey protein contains a complete complement of essential amino acids. Over 60% of the proteins in whey are essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are complex molecules consisting of amino acid chains," said Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist at Kentucky Equine Research (KER). A comparison of amino acids found in whey protein and soybean meal is shown in the following table.
Whey protein is a rather expensive source of protein to make and is not suited for horses of all ages. Whey is used in some premium foal feeds and milk supplement pellets, but not often in products designed for mature horses. Lactose can vary from 4-52% in whey protein concentrate but is below 1% in whey protein isolate. Whey protein supplements for horses can be found in the marketplace, and these will typically be low in lactose.
Soybean meal will continue to be the go-to protein source in most horse feeds because of its universality in meeting amino acid requirements of horses of all ages. For specialised support, however, whey protein is a useful alternative.
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