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

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  • Charlotte Lauridsen
  • Jean Jacques Matte, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • ,
  • Martin Lessard, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • ,
  • Pietro Celi, DSM Nutritional Products
  • ,
  • Gilberto Litta, DSM Nutritional Products

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. In the last decades, pharmacological levels of zinc oxide (ZnO) and copper have frequently been used as nutritional strategies to prevent post-weaning diarrhoea because of their antimicrobial activity. However, the use of ZnO was recently banned by the EU from 2022 because of the risk of promoting Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR). Beyond their role as essential micronutrients, vitamins share several remarkable activities (antimicrobial, immunological and antioxidative) often referred to amongst many of the non-antibiotic feed additives commonly proposed and used for pigs. However, very little research and scientific emphasis are devoted to vitamin nutrition and its role in the gut function and health of livestock. This review discusses how fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) and water-soluble (B-group and C) vitamins may influence gastrointestinal (GI) functionality in general and with specific importance on the challenges associated with the early life of pig gut health and disease prevention. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114823
JournalAnimal Feed Science and Technology
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

    Research areas

  • Gastrointestinal functionality, Immunity, Inflammation, Microbiota, Vitamins, Weaning

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