BOARD-INVITED REVIEW: Arginine nutrition and metabolism in growing, gestating, and lactating swine. Academic Article uri icon


  • Arginine (Arg) has traditionally not been considered as a deficient nutrient in diets for gestating or lactating swine due to the assumption that these animals can synthesize sufficient amounts of Arg to meet their physiological needs. The lack of full knowledge about Arg nutrition has contributed to suboptimal efficiency of pork production. Over the past 25 yr, there has been growing interest in Arg metabolism in the pig, which is an agriculturally important species and a useful model for studying human biology. Arginine is a highly abundant amino acid in tissues of pigs, a major amino acid in allantoic fluid, and a key regulator of gene expression, cell signaling, and antioxidative reactions. Emerging evidence suggests that dietary supplementation with 0.5% to 1% Arg maintains gut health and prevents intestinal dysfunction in weanling piglets, while enhancing their growth performance and survival. Also, the inclusion of 1% Arg in diets is required to maximize skeletal muscle accretion and feed efficiency in growing pigs, whereas dietary supplementation with 1% Arg reduces muscle loss in endotoxin-challenged pigs. Furthermore, supplementing 0.83% Arg to corn- and soybean meal-based diets promotes embryonic/fetal survival in swine and milk production by lactating sows. Thus, an adequate amount of dietary Arg as a quantitatively major nutrient is necessary to support maximum growth, lactation, and reproduction performance of swine. These results also have important implications for improving the nutrition and health of humans and other animals.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, G., Bazer, F. W., Johnson, G. A., & Hou, Y.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Wu, Guoyao||Bazer, Fuller W||Johnson, Gregory A||Hou, Yongqing

publication date

  • December 2018