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Interpretive Summary: Sodium dichloroacetate and glucose supplementation in growing-finishing pigs fed a low-protein diet

By: Anne Kamiya, MS

Managing low protein diets in pigs is challenging because reduced dietary protein frequently leads to impaired growth performance and increased intramuscular fat. Supplementation with essential amino acids (particularly lysine, tryptophan, threonine, and methionine) is helpful, however may not fully ameliorate the negative impacts of a low protein diet. Sodium dichloroacetate (DCA) is a metabolic modulator that can increase glucose consumption, decrease amino acid metabolism, decrease nitrogen excretion, and increase nitrogen efficiency. In this recent Journal of Animal Science study, researchers evaluated how glucose and DCA supplementation impacted the growth performance, meat quality and carcass traits of growing-finishing pigs. 

Pigs were fed one of five different diets including a control diet with normal protein content, a low protein diet with no supplementation, and three low protein diets supplemented with only glucose, only DCA, and both DCA and glucose, respectively. Pigs fed low protein diets without supplementation had poorer growth performance, while those fed low protein diets supplemented with DCA had improved growth performance (particularly average daily gain and gain to feed ratio). Carcass traits and muscle protein content were slightly improved in pigs fed low protein diets with DCA and glucose, comparable to the control group.

Overall, the results of this study suggest that DCA and glucose supplementation may ameliorate the negative effects of a low protein diet in pigs. More studies on how growth performance, meat quality and carcass traits can be optimized in pigs fed low protein diets is justified. 

The original article, Effects of supplementing low-protein diets with sodium dichloroacetate and glucose on growth performance, carcass traits, and meat quality of growing-finishing pigs, is viewable in the Journal of Animal Science.