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Eye on 'Biotics: Feeding Your Livestock and Poultry for Optimal Gut Health

The use of prebiotics and probiotics in livestock and poultry diets has become a common practice — and for good reason.1,2,3,4 Increased attention to and understanding of gut health in humans, pets and livestock have led to more research and effective solutions available on the market. In addition, producers are constantly searching for ways to fight pathogenic bacteria as antibiotic resistance grows.5

Did you know there are actually four 'biotics you should know about: pre-, pro-, post- and synbiotics? Let's look at each of the four categories, define what they are and discuss how they work together.

First, let's break down the role 'biotics play in the overall health and welfare of your animals.

Why focus on gut health?

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is susceptible to disease and sensitive to changes in diet, has a complex and diverse bacteria population called the microbiome that is critical to health.6,7,8 The microbes within the GI tract assist with the digestion of nutrients, stimulate immune response, help protect against external pathogens, neutralize toxins and regulate gene expression — all of which are vital functions.4,6,7,8 Poor gut health can result in leaky gut, leading to reduced immune function, systemic inflammation and susceptibility to disease.

All four types of 'biotics can play a role in promoting good bacteria and therefore influence the microbiome and the overall gut health of your animals. Defining the 'biotics

  • Prebiotics are carbohydrates, mostly fiber, used by probiotics and good bacteria as fuel.

  • Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually strains of beneficial bacteria, or "good bugs." Certain probiotics focus on promoting a healthy microbial balance and diversity in the gut, while others also help reduce the number of pathogens or "bad bugs."

  • Postbiotics are metabolites produced by probiotics.10 These metabolites help prevent disease and promote overall health and well-being.

  • Synbiotics are a synergistic mixture of prebiotics and probiotics in which the prebiotic increases the benefit of a paired probiotic.

How 'biotics are used to support gut health

Since the gastrointestinal tract acts as an essential part of the immune system across species, it's crucial to approach gut health in a comprehensive way — including management, nutrition, treatment and more.11 Producers and veterinarians may feed probiotics and related supplements to improve microbial balance, help prevent disease and ultimately improve gut health.1,2,3,4 The various 'biotics may be used synergistically to support, regenerate and diversify the "good bugs" and eliminate the "bad bugs.

Factors to consider in choosing a 'biotic

While each animal — and their microbial population — is unique, veterinarians and producers should consider some key thoughts when reviewing 'biotic solutions: survivability, mode of action and safety.12

  • For probiotics and synbiotics — can they survive feed processing and the GI tract? For a probiotic or synbiotic to be active and effective, it must be able to survive the unhospitable conditions of the stomach and digestion system, as well as those encountered during processing, sotrage, distribution and preparation.9

  • Does it have an understood and proven mode of action? Specifically, what is the main mode of action of a given 'biotic solution, and is the product backed by specific data?

  • Is it safe for animals? As with any potential inclusion into your livestock or poultry diets, be sure it's proven to be safe and approved for use in the species you raise.

Probiotic spotlight: CLOSTAT®

The Bacillus subtilis PB6 found in CLOSTAT has a combination of antimicrobial efficacy, pH tolerance and thermostability that makes it one of the most effective probiotics on the market today.13,14,15

  • Survivability: PB6 in CLOSTAT has been proven to survive the pelleting process and gastric exposure within the GI tract.13,14,15,16

  • Mode of action: PB6 has been found to secrete one or more biocidal proteins that inhibit certain strains of pathogenic bacteria such as Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella enterica serovars Heidelberg, Cerro and Uganda, and several other pathogens across species that can lead to intestinal inflammation and disease.16,17

  • Safety: PB6 in CLOSTAT has been demonstrated to be safe for use in livestock and poultry.13,14,15

Look for science-backed, proven solutions for gut health

There is no silver bullet when it comes to establishing and maintaining optimal gut health for your animals, but 'biotics are an important piece of the gut health puzzle. To find the best solution for your operation, talk with your veterinarian or contact your Kemin representative today!

References 1Weese JS. Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics. J Equine Vet Sc (2002);22(8):357-360. 2Jha R, Das R, Oak S, Mishra P. Probiotics (Direct-Fed Microbials) in Poultry Nutrition and Their Effects on Nutrient Utilization, Growth and Laying Performance, and Gut Health: A Systematic Review. Animals (Basel). 2020 Oct 13;10(10):1863. doi: 10.3390/ani10101863. PMID: 33066185; PMCID: PMC7602066. 3Kim SW, Duarte ME. Understanding intestinal health in nursery pigs and the relevant nutritional strategies. Anim Biosci. 2021 Mar;34(3):338-344. doi: 10.5713/ab.21.0010. Epub 2021 Feb 14. PMID: 33705620; PMCID: PMC7961202. 4Uyeno Y, Shigemori S, Shimosato T. Effect of Probiotics/Prebiotics on Cattle Health and Productivity. Microbes Environ. 2015;30(2):126-32. doi: 10.1264/jsme2.ME14176. Epub 2015 May 23. PMID: 26004794; PMCID: PMC4462921. 5Zamojska D, Nowak A, Nowak I, Macierzyńska-Piotrowska E. Probiotics and Postbiotics as Substitutes of Antibiotics in Farm Animals: A Review. Animals (Basel). 2021 Dec 1;11(12):3431. doi: 10.3390/ani11123431. PMID: 34944208; PMCID: PMC8697875. 6Bailey, Richard A. Gut Health in Poultry: The World Within. The Poultry Site 7J.M. Fouhse, R.T. Zijlstra, B.P. Willing, The role of gut microbiota in the health and disease of pigs, Animal Frontiers, Volume 6, Issue 3, July 2016, Pages 30-36, 8Venable EB, Bland SD, McPherson JL, Francis J. Role of the gut microbiota in equine health and disease. Animal Frontiers (2016); 6(3):43-49. 9High J. The Importance of Equine Prebiotics and Probiotics for Gut Health. Quarter Horse News, July 19, 2021. 10Smith L. What are Postbiotics? WebMD, Sept. 8, 2021. 11Bauer E, Williams BA, Smidt H, Verstegen MW, Mosenthin R. Influence of the gastrointestinal microbiota on development of the immune system in young animals. Curr Issues Intest Microbiol. 2006 Sep;7(2):35-51. PMID: 16875418. 12Evaluating the Antimicrobial Efficacy of CLOSTAT® and Alternative Equine Probiotics. Kemin Technical Literature. 13Kemin. CLOSTAT for Equine. 14Kemin. CLOSTAT Active Microbial Mode of Action for Monogastrics. 15Kemin. CLOSTAT Active Microbial Mode of Action. 16Kemin. The Inhibitory Effect of Bacillus subtilis PB6 on Salmonella enterica serovars Heidelberg, Cerro and Uganda. Kemin Technical Literature. 17Burke, M. L. and Moore, S.A. (2017, Nov.). Bacillus subtilis Strain PB6 Demonstrates Growth Inhibition Toward Equine-Specific Bacterial Pathogens.



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