Carnivores: Supplement meat-based diet with amino acids
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Some amino acids cannot be made in the body and are therefore essential within the diet. For felids, taurine is an essential amino acid and a deficiency in taurine can cause diseases if not present in the diet.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, before-and-after study in 2001 of maned wolves Chrysocyon brachyurus in a research centre in the USA, found that supplementing a protein-based diet with taurine increased the average plasma taurine levels. When fed a supplemented animal-based protein diet, average plasma taurine was higher (91.18 nmol/ml), and within target domestic canine reference ranges, compared to no supplement (animal-based protein: 18.79 nmol/ml; plant-based mean: 4.03 nmol/ml). Four wolves were maintained on the commercial diet (animal-based protein) and two were maintained on an experimental diet (plant-based protein). Four weeks prior and at the end of the trial, animals were restrained and sedated to collect a 12 ml blood sample. Due to clinical signs including weight loss and decreased appetite, the diet trial was terminated early and taurine supplementation (0.3% concentration) was deemed necessary. Taurine concentrations were monitored over a four-month period.Study and other actions tested