Glutamine and glutamate supplementation raise milk glutamine concentrations in lactating gilts

Helena E.C.C.C. Manso, Helio C.M. Filho, Luiz E. de Carvalho, Marianne Kutschenko, Eduardo T. Nogueira, Malcolm Watford

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20 Scopus citations


Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in milk, and lactation is associated with increased glutamine utilization both for milk synthesis and as a fuel for the enlarged small intestine. A number of recent studies have indicated that lactation is accompanied by a mild catabolic state in which skeletal muscle proteins are degraded to provide amino acids that are used to synthesize additional glutamine. In this study we tested the hypothesis that supplemental L-glutamine or the commercially available glutamine supplement Aminogut (2.5% by weight mixed into daily feed) provided to gilts from 30 days prior to parturition until 21 days post-parturition would prevent a decrease in skeletal muscle glutamine while increasing the glutamine content of the milk. Muscle glutamine content decreased (P < 0.05) in control animals during lactation but this was prevented by supplementation with either L-glutamine or Aminogut. In this study, neither lactation nor supplementation had any effect on plasma glutamine or glutamate content. Free glutamine, and the total glutamine plus glutamate concentrations in milk from the control and the Aminogut group rose (P < 0.05) during the first 7 days of lactation, with milk concentrations in the L-glutamine supplemented group showing a similar trend (P = 0.053). Milk glutamate remained constant between day 7 and 21 of lactation in the control and L-glutamine supplemented groups, but by day 21 of lactation the free glutamine, glutamate, and glutamine plus glutamate concentrations in milk from Aminogut-treated gilts were higher than those of control gilts. Thus dietary glutamine supplementation can alleviate the fall in intramuscular glutamine content during lactation in gilts, and may alleviate some of the catabolic effects of lactation. Furthermore, the increased milk glutamine content in the supplemented gilts may provide optimum nutrition for piglet development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalJournal of Animal Science and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Animal Science and Zoology


  • glutamate
  • glutamine
  • lactation
  • milk
  • pig
  • skeletal muscle


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