December 2021

Functional amino acids supplementation directly improves gut health and integrity in weanling pigs.

One important tool to minimize the undesirable effects of weaning is the quality of pre-starter and starter diets. Nutritional strategies like the addition of functional amino acids to diets, such as glutamic acid and glutamine, have been used to diminish intestinal degeneration after weaning and to promote adequate growth performance. The present study aimed to evaluate the influence of including L-glutamine along with glutamic acid as a supplement in weaned piglets' diets with and without whey powder. For that purpose, two assays were carried out, a total of 40 piglets weaned at 24 days of age were used in the first assay with the following parameters evaluated: growth performance, incidence of diarrhea, morphometry, intestinal integrity, and hepatic glycogen index. Then, the animals were blocked into four groups according to different diets: Diet all-grain feeding; Diet all-grain feeding with whey powder; and with vs without 1% supplementation of the commercial product containing L-glutamine and glutamic acid. The animals were evaluated at 24-42 days and at 24-55 days of age.

As a result, the supplementation of L-glutamine + glutamic acid or the addition of whey powder in diets for weaned piglets provided greater feed intake, greater weight gain and improved feed conversion in the initial period (24-42 days age). However, in the whole period (24-55 days age) only amino acid supplementation affected growth performance. There was a positive interaction between the type of diet and L-glutamine + glutamic acid supplementation on villus height, crypt depth and the villus:crypt ratio in the duodenum. In addition, L-glutamine + glutamic acid supplementation reduced the crypt depth and improved the villus:crypt ratio in the jejunum. The inclusion of whey powder positively affected the digestibility coefficients analysed except mineral matter digestibility coefficients. The supplementation of 1% the commercial product composed of L-glutamine and glutamic acid improved only the digestibility coefficient of crude protein.

These results indicate that amino acid supplementation alone or associated with whey powder positively affects the indicators of the intestinal integrity.

Almeida JMDS, Pascoal LAF, de Almeida JLS, Guerra RR, da Silva JHV, da Silva DRP, Neto MRS, Martins TDD.
Effects of dietary L-glutamine and glutamic acid combination, and whey powder on the performance and nutrient digestion in weaned piglets that received grain-based diets.
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences. 2021; 34(12): 1963-1973.