Arginine Boosts Littersize and Weight

TEXAS - Supplementing sow diets with Arginine has been found to reduce prenatal deaths.
calendar icon 22 February 2008
clock icon 3 minute read
A group of scientists at the College station, Texas A&M has discovered that an arginine-adjusted diet during a critical period of gestation can improve the numbers of piglets born alive by two piglets per litter and offer increases to live litter birth weight by up to 24 percent.

Dr. Sung Woo Kim, association professor of monogastric nutrition at Texas Tech University discovered sows do not receive enough nutrients during mid-to-late gestation to support the rapid growth of their fetuses and mammary tissues." Research was carried out with partners at Texas AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University.

Previous studies had highlighted that an abundance of arginine in the pig fetus. And day 40 of the pregnancy was significant. Scientists believe that arginine plays a critical part in fetal growth and survival at this stage

“These nutrients include arginine, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks for tissue proteins. This nutrient also regulates key metabolic pathways that are essential to health, growth, development, and reproduction,” said Dr. Guoyao Wu, a Texas AgriLife Research animal nutritionist who was part of the research team.

Natural Acid

Arginine is an amino acid and can be found in a variety of foods, but the studies show that by supplementing a standard corn- and soybean-based diet for gestating swine with an additional 0.83 percent arginine between days 30 and 114 of gestation, it greatly reduces prenatal death.

Dr Wu said this discovery could lead to solving fetal growth restriction in other mammalian species, including humans and sheep.

“In humans, 5 percent to 10 percent of newborn infants have Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR; impaired growth and development of the fetus),” Wu said. “There is no treatment available, and no one knows about the mechanisms responsible for IUGR. With the new knowledge gained from animal studies, we hope to treat IUGR in humans,” he added.

These investigations into dietary L-Arginine supplementation and the reproductive performance of gilts was undertaken by: Sung Woo Kim, Ronaldo D. Mateo, Guoyao Wu, Fuller W. Bazer, Jun C. Park and Izuru Shinzato. The work was carried out at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas A&M University, College Station, The National Livestock Research Institute-RDA in Korea; and the Ajinomoto Company in Tokyo 104-8315, Japan.

For more information and the research abstract click here.

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