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January 30, 2023
Poultry & Livestock Review Africa
Health and Nutrition

Animal welfare needs a healthy gut

There are many factors that can influence the well-being of animals. While the focus generally is on management and husbandry, nutrition also plays an integral role. Since a healthy gut is crucial for improving welfare and reducing antibiotic use in animal production, there is a need for advanced dietary strategies to improve animal welfare and profitability at the same time.

What’s going on in the gut?

Did you know that your gut talks with your brain? Numerous studies describe the positive effects of a healthy and balanced gut microbiota and their metabolites on innate and adaptive immunity, metabolism, gut physiology and even behaviour of animals. And only a healthy gut with a balanced microbiota can function as a barrier between the environment and the animal and provide protection from pathogens. Butyric acid in the gut, either supplemented or produced endogenously by the microbiota, is of particular interest in this regard.

Figure 1: The gut microbiota and their metabolites communicate with the brain via several pathways, influencing animal health and well-being     

 

Enter PreAcid

PreAcid has been designed to deliver butyric acid to the lower part of the intestine. By combining butyrate with the prebiotic gluconic acid in the unique GlucoFence complex, PreAcid takes a two-pronged strategy to improve gut health. The strategy is to make gluconic acid — structurally related to the slowly fermentable sugar sorbitol — available to the beneficial microbiota. Specific micro-organisms generate conversion products essential for growth and health of the digestive system by fermenting gluconate in the hindgut. The concept has been proven in several trials, showing for instance an increase in butyric acid production and improvement of microbiota composition, with an increase in Lactobacilli ssp. and a decrease of E. coli in the caecum of broilers (fig. 2).

Figure 2: PreAcid concept improves microbiota composition in the hindgut of broilers (a) and volatile fatty acid production (b) (Dr. Eckel research, University of Warsaw)

 

This has practical and economic benefits for broiler producers and animals. The supplementation of PreAcid in broilers (Cobb) challenged with E. coli and S. enteritidis improved the barrier function of the gut, resulting in less E. coli endotoxins reaching the blood circulation (fig. 3). The subsequent improvement in feed efficiency, survival and profitability clearly shows the benefits of delivering the maximum amount of butyric acid in the gut.

Figure 3: The PreAcid concept improves the intestinal barrier, reducing LPS concentration in blood serum of challenged broilers (a) and increasing performance (b) (Dr. Eckel research, India) (EPF = European Productivity Factor)

It’s all in the blend

Using a prebiotic approach with the GlucoFence complex maximises the full effect of butyric acid in the intestinal tract. Optimising the amount of butyric acid in the hind gut has clear benefits for the animal and the producer. Utilising the antibacterial and prebiotic action stimulates digestion and improves gut health, nutrient absorption and animal welfare.

PreAcid with its unique GlucoFence complex is available for you as PreAcid BA, PreAcid BA Forte and PreAcid 75G. Would you like to know how you can best use PreAcid? Get in touch with us.

 

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