Medycyna Wet. 63 (1), 14-17, 2007
Bałasińska B., Kulasek G.
Effect of carnitine on swine productivity
In 2005 one hundred years passed since the discovery of carnitine but this compound remains the subject of great interest. Carnitine (beta-hydroxy-gamma-trimethyloamino butyrate), an amino acid derived from the metabolism of lysine and methionine, is present in all mammalian cells, with its highest concentration noted in cardiac and skeletal muscles as well as in the liver. In the course of the century it has been demonstrated that carnitine and its derivatives participate in many physiological processes, their basic function is the transporting and oxidation of FFA in mitochondria. In piglet’s fetal development the main source of energy is a glucose and after parturition milk fatty acids. The energy requirement in new born piglets is especially high during low temperatures. Piglets do not have brown fatty tissue and therefore possess a limited capability of fatty acid beta-oxidation which initiates shivering thermogenesis. Carnitine present in sow milk in large quantities might be an important factor accelerating the development of piglets, especially during the first days of their life; therefore administering carnitine for sows during lactation is recommended. In turn, carnitine supplementation for piglets after parturition may improve body gain and their whole performance. Little attention is paid to date to the effect of carnitine on the nutritional value of meat, especially where it concerns fat and carnitine content in meat (functional food).
Keywords: L-carnitine, pigs