Health of the Gut Dictates Overall Health

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Farmscape for June 15, 2022

Full Interview 17:01 Listen

A researcher with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine says the more we learn about gut health, the more we recognise the importance of the health of the gut to overall health. Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are examining factors related to the health of the gut of the pig. Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an adjunct professor with Utrecht University, says with a healthy gut the pig can digest nutrients properly, it can absorb nutrients properly and it won’t waste a lot of feed so gut health is important from that perspective but the more we study gut heath, the more we realise how its importance goes beyond that.

Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
In the past decade or so we’ve learned that gut health goes beyond just gut health. Gut actually health means health in general.
Without a healthy gut, you are not a healthy individual. We have learned that the gut is directly connected with the lungs or the skin or even the brain. There’s research that was conducted in the past couple of years here showing that some pigs that have a specific type of bacteria in their gut are actually less suspectable to respiratory disease due to PRRS or mycoplasma. There is essentially more neurons, so more brain cells in your gut than your brain or a very close number. When it comes to it, you have a lot of neurons in your gut and they communicate and they also communicate with your brain. Bacteria that are in your gut and in a pig’s gut can actually communicate with you or the host through some specific compounds and those can modulate behavior. So, there’s some research lately showing that gut health is associated with behavior, such as tail biting. So, we’re really learning how gut health affects much more than just the gut and gut health actually means general health.

Dr. Costa says, as time goes by, we’re learning that overall, you want to make sure the pigs have a healthy gut so they can have a healthy life.

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