Do not neglect calcium: a systematic review and meta-analysis (meta-regression) of its digestibility and utilisation in growing and finishing pigs

Maciej M. Misiura*, João A.N. Filipe, Carrie L. Walk, Ilias Kyriazakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Ca digestibility and utilisation in growing pigs are not well understood, and are usually neglected in diet formulation. This has implications not only for the accurate determination of its requirements but also for its interactions with other nutrients. A systematic review and meta-analysis (meta-regression) of published trials was carried out to quantify factors affecting Ca absorption and utilisation, and to derive an estimate of Ca endogenous excretion. The analysis was carried out on the data from forty studies, corresponding to 201 treatments performed on 1204 pigs. The results indicated that although Ca absorption and retention (g/kg of body weight per d) increased with increasing Ca intake (P<0·001), non-phytate-P intake (P<0·001) and exogenous phytase supplementation (P<0·001), these values decreased with increasing phytate-P intake (P<0·05). Interactions between exogenous phytase and Ca intake, indicating reduced efficacy of this enzyme (P<0·001), and between phytate-P intake and exogenous phytase, counteracting the direct negative effect of phytate-P (P<0·05) on Ca absorption and retention, were also detected. There were no effects of animal-related characteristics, such as pig genotype in Ca absorption and retention. The large amount of variance explained in Ca absorption (90 %) and retention (91 %) supported our choice of independent variables. Endogenous Ca losses obtained via linear regression were 239 mg/kg of DM intake (95 % CI 114, 364). These outcomes advance the current understanding of Ca digestibility and utilisation, and should contribute towards establishing requirements for digestible Ca. Consequently, pig diets will be more correctly formulated if digestible Ca values are used in estimating requirements for Ca.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207-1219
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number11
Early online date03 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in collaboration with AB Vista in the form of a postgraduate studentship to M. M. M. The BBSRC and AB Vista did not influence the data selection, interpretation or the decision on how or what to publish.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Authors 2018.


  • Calcium
  • Digestibility
  • Phosphorus
  • Phytase
  • Pigs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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