IMR Press / FBS / Volume 3 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.2741/S157

Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Roles of phytochemicals in amino acid nutrition
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1 Hunan Engineering and Research Center of Animal and Poultry Science and Key Laboratory for Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha, Hunan, China 410125
2 Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA 77843
3 State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China 100193

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Academic Editor: Guoyao Wu

Front. Biosci. (Schol Ed) 2011, 3(1), 372–384;
Published: 1 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino acids in nutrition, health, and disease)

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is often used as dietary supplements to maintain good health in animals and humans. Here, we review the current knowledge about effects of CHM (including ultra-fine Chinese herbal powder, Acanthopanax senticosus extracts, Astragalus polysaccharide, and glycyrrhetinic acid) as dietary additives on physiological and biochemical parameters in pigs, chickens and rodents. Additionally, we propose possible mechanisms for the beneficial effects of CHM on the animals. These mechanisms include (a) increased digestion and absorption of dietary amino acids; (b) altered catabolism of amino acids in the small intestine and other tissues; (c) enhanced synthesis of functional amino acids (e.g., arginine, glutamine and proline) and polyamines; and (d) improved metabolic control of nutrient utilization through cell signaling. Notably, some phytochemicals and glucocorticoids share similarities in structure and physiological actions. New research findings provide a scientific and clinical basis for the use of CHM to improve well-being in livestock species and poultry, while enhancing the efficiency of protein accretion. Results obtained from animal studies also have important implications for human nutrition and health.

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