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Figure 1 - Availa-Zn increased villi height:crypt depth ratio of growing steers under heat stress.


Control Availa-Zn 1.6 P < 0.01 1.32 1.2 1.03 0.91 0.8 60


20 40


0.4 Jejunum Ileum 0 21 Days Post Challenge


protective bacteria on epithelial cells which makes it easier for pathogens to cross the gut wall. Additionally, reduced feed intake leads to lower blood supply to the intestines which can increase epithelial cell turnover.


2. Ruminal and hind gut acidosis. Acidic conditions lead to death of excessive numbers of gram-negative bacteria and concomitant release of lipopolysaccha- ride (LPS). An acidic environment in the gut increases the translocation of LPS through the mucosa.


3. Mycotoxins. These damage the intestinal mucosa and change the composition of the mucus making it more prone to damage.


4. Pathogenic bacteria. These also damage the gut mucosa, leading to leaky gut, and decrease the ability to absorb nutrients.


5. Heat stress. Changes to the thermoregulatory mechanism of the body shift blood from the intestines to facilitate heat dissipation leading to hypoxic conditions in the intestine, which result in epithelial damage and an inflammatory response.


How does zinc help? Zinc plays a key role in the immune system as well as being important for cell renewal, so ensuring sufficient zinc can help reduce the impact of disruption of the gut wall, while shortages can exacerbate problems. Dietary supplementation is crucial as the mobilisation of zinc from body stores is slow and only about 10% can be quickly mobilised meaning this can not be relied on to overcome deficiencies. It is also important to remember that anything that reduces feed intake will reduce zinc intake. The form of zinc supplement is also crucial as not all sources are as effective. Zinpro Performance Minerals are unique


and use amino acid transporters for absorption which makes them the most metabolically available source. In addition, performance minerals are water soluble, are stable at the low pH found in the stomach, are not affected by dietary antagonists, and are absorbed more efficiently by the animal. The unique way these minerals are absorbed, combined with the fact they are not degraded in the stomach in the way that inorganic minerals and other organic chelated minerals are, means an optimal supply to the animal can be ensured. Furthermore, they are also metabolised differently with less being excreted in the urine which indicates that more of the mineral is available to the animal for longer.


Evidence that zinc source is key The effect of feeding zinc in a performance mineral form is backed by extensive trial data across all species. Studies in steers showed that feeding Availa-Zn increases the villi height:crypt depth ratio in animals challenged by heat stress (Figure 1). Availa-Zn has also been shown to decrease intestinal inflammation (Figure 2), reduce T-cell abundance and to increase villi length in broilers subjected to nutritional stress, while tight junctions were maintained in heat stressed birds, reducing the occurrence of ‘leaky gut’. Pigs challenged with pathogenic bacteria (Lawsonia intracellularis) and fed Availa-Zn were more robust and recovered quicker from pathogen challenges. Availa-Zn strengthened the intestinal barrier leading to less gut damage (Figure 3) and accelerated the formation of antibodies to pathogenic bacteria.


Minimising the impact of challenges Maintaining gut wall integrity is fundamental for cost- effective production across species. Ensuring adequate zinc in optimum form can have a big impact on maintaining integrity and minimising the impact of challenges.


▶ GUT HEALTH | DECEMBER 2020 57 28 33 33 1.13 P < 0.07


Figure 3 - Availa-Zn reduced gross intestinal lesions in pigs following Lawsonia intracellularis challenge.


Control Availa-Zn


100 120


80 67 P < 0.05 100


Height:Depth Ratio


Gross Lesion Positive (% of pigs)


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