Lysine is an amino acid that performs important functions like maintaining tissue and skin, absorbing calcium and others. Essential to the diet, lysine is usually in meat-rich foods in enough amounts to provide enough to sustain these functions. However, in cases of deficiency, supplementation with all-natural lysine powder may help.
What Is Lysine Powder?
Lysine is one of 11 essential amino acids cats' bodies need to survive, and it is available in powder form. Amino acids are components of protein. Essential amino acids are those the body can't make on its own -- it's "essential" that a cat get an outside source of these amino acids. Lysine assists growth, collagen production, skin and tissue maintenance, calcium absorption and more. Protein-rich diets usually offer enough lysine, however cats with inadequate diets or specific health conditions can benefit from taking lysine powder.
According to WebMD, lysine is possibly effective for reducing and preventing some forms of herpes. This is significant to cats, who can contract the form of herpes known as feline herpesvirus or FHV-1. Lysine powder can reduce the severity, healing time and recurrence of the virus. When using lysine powder, choosing an all natural product with no fillers, chemicals, preservatives or artificial ingredients can help ensure your cat's body gets the cleanest, most useful support.
Dosage depends on weight. Suggested dosages advise about 12 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. To get your cat's weight in kilograms, divide weight in pounds by 2.2. For example, to calculate a 10-pound cat's weight in kilograms, the formula would be 10 / 2.2 = 5.45 kilograms. Packaging also gives general directions for dosage, too. Some powders are available in flavors and can be sprinkled on food.
Possible Long-Term Side Effects
One of the functions of lysine is helping with calcium absorption; however, when given in supplemental amounts, lysine can help a little too much, leading your cat to absorb excess calcium. Therefore, keeping track of your cat's dietary calcium intake is important. Lysine shouldn't be used for over a year, because long-term it can cause kidney or gallstone issues. Consult your vet before you make changes to your cat's diet to ensure he gets the best nutrition possible.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.