The relevance of functional amino acids to support the health of growing pigs Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 Elsevier B.V. On commercial farms, young growing pigs are frequently affected by health problems from multifactorial origins (e.g. environmental changes, biosecurity, management, and feed) that result in inflammation and activation of body defenses. Inflammation states alter animal metabolism in such a way that nutrients (particularly amino acids) are diverted from the use for growth towards the production of defense-related proteins and low-molecular-weight compounds (e.g., nitric oxide, H2S, and glutathione) for supporting the activity of rapidly dividing cells such as immune cells and enterocytes. Furthermore, amino acids may act specifically as signaling molecules to regulate metabolic pathways during inflammation. Thus, new knowledge on the specific role and metabolism of each amino acid is needed to refine nutritional recommendations for pigs of different phenotypes and genotypes, with the objective of maintaining animal health and performance under sub-optimal rearing conditions. This paper aims at summarizing recent advances in research on the functional roles of amino acids related to swine health. Specifically, the review highlights current knowledge on the impact of inflammation on the intake and metabolism of amino acids; their relevance for the physical gut mucosal barrier and antioxidant defense, as well as their roles in the syntheses of defense molecules and in the regulation of immune response. Practical implications for feeding strategies adapted to various health conditions of growing pigs are also discussed along with our general perspectives on related research.

published proceedings

  • Animal Feed Science and Technology

author list (cited authors)

  • Le Floch, N., Wessels, A., Corrent, E., Wu, G., & Bosi, P.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Le Floc’h, Nathalie||Wessels, Anna||Corrent, Etienne||Wu, Guoyao||Bosi, Paolo

publication date

  • November 2018