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Functional amino acids & intestinal health in weaned piglets

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Read more content on nutriNews International June 2023

Dalton de Oliveira Fontes

Full-time Professor, Department of Animal Science, School of Veterinary Science, UFMG
Dalton de Oliveira Fontes

Idael Matheus Góes Lopes

Post graduate student in animal science, Veterinary School of UFMG
Idael Matheus Góes Lopes

Marcelo Dourado de Lima

Post graduate student in animal science, Veterinary School of UFMG
Marcelo Dourado de Lima

Functional amino acids and the relationship with intestinal health in weaned piglets

Introduction

Enteric diseases in weaned piglets limit the expression of animals’ true genetic potential, by causing negative impacts on the integrity of the intestinal mucosa which impairs its ability to absorb nutrients efficiently(Eriksen et al., 2019).

In most production systems, the prevention and treatment of piglets’ gastrointestinal diseases, is mainly carried out through the use of antibiotics.

Nuproxa international 07-2023

Besides their implementation for therapeutic purposes, some antibiotics are used as performance enhancers. This scenario can result in the appearance of pathogenic bacteria that acquire resistance to commonly used active principles. Posing serious health risks for both animals and humans worldwide. This significant health concern has led to bans on antibiotic use in several countries (Albernaz-Gonçalves et al., 2021).

Therefore, different nutritional strategies have been developed to replace antibiotic growth promoters while mitigating the negative effects of enteric diseases on the performance of weaned piglets. Among these, we can highlight the use of functional amino acids such as tryptophan, threonine and glutamate. These help improve intestinal health and consequently, overall productive performance.

Functional amino acids help to modulate the intestinal mucosa’s immune function, stimulate the proliferation of enterocytes and improve the integrity of the intestinal barrier (Chalvon-Demersay et al., 2021).

This review aims to demonstrate the beneficial effects of functional amino acids such as tryptophan, threonine and glutamine on the intestinal health of weaned piglets.

Weaning and its effects on gut health

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Weaning tends to reduce piglet’s immune response, affecting its efficiency and making them more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections. Under such conditions of reduced immunological activity, the onset of diseases increases significantly. An example of this, is a higher incidence of gastrointestinal diseases with diarrhea as a major clinical sign. Which hamper zootechnical performance significantly.




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