We've widely reported on clinical trials which highlight a potential health benefit of probiotics in humans, but there is also a plethora of research showing probiotics being useful for animal health and welfare too. Some new research findings have been released by Lallemand Animal Nutrition which reports the benefits of the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii on the health of piglets, plus another study on the benefits of antioxidants on piglets.

Saccharomyces boulardii for piglets

The research centres on the health of pigs during times of stress, particularly caused by vaccination, weaning and heat. Lallemand undertook research, in partnership with the University of Nottingham, to observe and investigate the effects of Saccharomyces boulardii. This well renowned probiotic yeast was originally isolated on the skin of lychee fruit and has been found to have benefits for diarrhoeal illnesses in humans - healthcare professionals can find this strain in our 'For travelling abroad' and 'Saccharomyces boulardii' products.

Researchers found that S. boulardii may help alleviate the physiological effects of weaning stress on young piglets by promoting regulatory immune responses and maintaining gut barrier integrity. The research team were keen to observe the genetic modes of action in the intestinal tracts of piglets, and found that the gene expression of the probiotic yeast was of benefit to their gut health.

"This powerful genetic approach confirmed that weaning is a period of intense stress for the piglets. The expression of over 1,000 intestinal genes was affected, in particular those involved in the inflammatory response, defence against pathogens and the degradation of host tissues.
The probiotic yeast S. boulardii was able to reduce the negative impact of weaning, suggesting a protective role on the gut barrier function and immunoregulation."

Antioxidants study

Another study, conducted in partnership with the French Pork and Pig Institute (IFIP), looked at oxidative stress in piglets during weaning. The research team were specifically interested in evaluating the benefits of antioxidant supplementation of vitamin E, organic selenium and a superoxide dismutase (SOD)-rich melon pulp concentrate, during times of stress.

Researchers found that the antioxidants were able to reduce the stress triggers and associated biomarkers such as oxidative stress and inflammation. They found that piglets given supplementation of antioxidants during this period performed better in performace parameters such as average daily gain (ADG). These findings suggest that probiotic and antioxidant supplementation could enhance animal welfare as well as agricultural efficiency.

"The antioxidant supplementation helped restore antioxidant status and zoological performance."

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Le Bon, M. et al. (2016) Impact of a live yeast strain: Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-1079 on intestinal gene expression of piglets at weaning. IPVS2016-729. Poster presentation
Barbe, F. et al. (2016) Effect of antioxidant supplementation and heat stress in a model of double vaccination in weaned piglets. IPVS2016-248. Oral Communication

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