Arginine: Assessing the use of higher inclusion levels in broiler diets
Arginine is an essential amino acid for poultry. The inclusion of arginine at levels that are superior to those recommended, has been shown to positively influence growth performance in broilers. Arginine is a versatile amino acid which has proteinogenic, functional and trophic functions within the animal’s body.
Due to its multifunctionality, Arginine can influence metabolism, growth, immunity, and overall health status in several ways.
It has also been shown to induce the expression and secretion of anabolic hormones, such as insulin, growth hormone (GH), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).Over the past two decades, there has also been a growing interest in the effects of this amino acid on
the gastrointestinal tract.
- accelerating mucosal regeneration and recovery from gastroenteric disorders
- improving epithelial integrity and barrier function
- anti-inflammatory activity
- inhibition of enteric pathogens
- restoration of beneficial microbiota
In regards to animal nutrition, arginine is commonly considered a semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid for adult mammals. Meanwhile chickens rely on dietary arginine to meet their requirements.
This is related to the fact that mammals are ureotelic (i.e., urea-excretion) animals which can endogenously produce de novo arginine through the action of urea cycle enzymes. On the contrary, bird species are uricotelic (i.e., uric acid excretion) organisms unable to complete the urea cycle.