Amino Acids in Swine Nutrition and Production Academic Article uri icon


  • Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins in animals, including swine. With the development of new analytical methods and biochemical research, there is a growing interest in fundamental and applied studies to reexamine the roles and usage of amino acids (AAs) in swine production. In animal nutrition, AAs have been traditionally classified as nutritionally essential (EAAs) or nutritionally nonessential (NEAAs). AAs that are not synthesized de novo must be provided in diets. However, NEAAs synthesized by cells of animals are more abundant than EAAs in the body, but are not synthesized de novo in sufficient amounts for the maximal productivity or optimal health (including resistance to infectious diseases) of swine. This underscores the conceptual limitations of NEAAs in swine protein nutrition. Notably, the National Research Council (NRC 2012) has recognized both arginine and glutamine as conditionally essential AAs for pigs to improve their growth, development, reproduction, and lactation. Results of recent work have also provided compelling evidence for the nutritional essentiality of glutamate, glycine, and proline for young pigs. The inclusion of so-called NEAAs in diets can help balance AAs in diets, reduce the dietary levels of EAAs, and protect the small intestine from oxidative stress, while enhancing the growth performance, feed efficiency, and health of pigs. Thus, both EAAs and NEAAs are needed in diets to meet the requirements of pigs. This notion represents a new paradigm shift in our understanding of swineprotein nutrition and is transforming pork production worldwide.

published proceedings

  • Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Q., Hou, Y., Bazer, F. W., He, W., Posey, E. A., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Q||Hou, Y||Bazer, FW||He, W||Posey, EA||Wu, G

editor list (cited editors)

  • Wu, G.

publication date

  • March 2021