Nutrition

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GUT HEALTH AND THE MICROBIOME

Posted in: Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Uncategorized by PSCI on May 10, 2017


In pigs, and humans, which have similar GI tract anatomy, by far the largest amount of microbial diversity can be found in the colon. The colon is a specialist organ for microbial fermentation, and in a healthy gut, many of the microbial metabolites produced are beneficial to the host, regulating the immune system and protection from pathogens, increasing the efficiency of caloric extraction from food, and detoxifying otherwise harmful substances. Those who study the human microbiota have begun to understand how diet and the use of pharmaceutical agents such as antimicrobials can radically affect the balance of the gut microbial ecosystem with unintended, detrimental effects. The results of this work are also appropriate to swine management strategies, since effectively managing the gut microbiota of a herd will likely promote great benefits to both animals and farmers.

The gut microbiota is a virtual, but forgotten organ. Studies in humans have clearly demonstrated the importance of gut microbiota to health and well-being, and how dysbiosis within the ecosystem may be associated with a surprising variety of diseases. If a smart approach is taken to modulation of the swine microbiota with live microbes or prebiotic feed enhancement strategies, this may help to improve animal health and product safety, and to reduce farming costs.

 
 
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