Review: Use of vitamins for GI functionality in pigs has potential but is understudied

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Jevtic
© GettyImages/Jevtic

Related tags: Vitamin, Zinc oxide

Development of alternative strategies to antibiotics and zinc oxide in swine diets should integrate the role of vitamins for gastrointestinal functionality, finds a review.

Very little research and scientific emphasis are devoted to vitamin nutrition and its role in the gut function and health of livestock, said the authors of the paper published in Animal Feed Science and Technology.

The reviewers, which include Charlotte Lauridsen from Aarhus University and Pietro Celi from DSM, discuss how fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) and water-soluble (B-group and C) vitamins may influence gastrointestinal (GI) functionality in general, with a focus on the challenges associated with the early life of pig gut health and disease prevention.

Several nutritional studies have been performed to improve piglet health and resilience to infectious diseases during the lactation and post-weaning periods, and to identify alternatives to the use of antibiotics and antimicrobials as growth promoters.

Moreover, in the last decades, pharmacological levels of zinc oxide (ZnO) and copper have frequently been used as nutritional strategies to prevent post-weaning diarrhea because of their antimicrobial activity. However, the use of ZnO was recently banned by the EU from 2022 because of the risk of promoting antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

“On the basis of the literature review, it is suggested that future research and development of alternative strategies to antibiotics and medicinal ZnO should pay attention to the role of vitamins for GI functionality and health of pigs,” ​said the authors.

Their main conclusions in this respect are that:

  • Vitamins are absorbed in the small intestine, and, in terms of several B-vitamins, in the colon also.
  • Dietary vitamin supplementation influences the composition and activity of the intestinal microbiome.
  • Vitamins control and prevent excessive oxidative and inflammatory reactions in the gut.

Source: Animal Feed Science and Technology

Title: Role of vitamins for gastro-intestinal functionality and health of pigs

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2021.114823

Authors: C Lauridsen, JJ Matte, M Lessard, P Celi, G Litta

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