The weaning phase is one of the most critical during pig production. Improvements in nutrition and its effect on intestinal immunity can be key to helping the piglets to overcome this stressful period.
Nutrition has an enormous impact on the health status of piglets and any compromised gut function may become critical. As mentioned by Humphrey et al.:
Considering barrier function, specific nutrient fractions appear to have a significant impact on the development and function of the immune and microbial systems around weaning. Understanding the specific impact of nutrients in the small intestine and hindgut is important for helping to bring more focus and consistency to nutritional approaches to support health and immunity during the weaning transition period.
Gut immunity at weaning
The innate and adaptive immunity systems are closely related to gut development, which occurs during the first weeks-months after birth. Microbiota is a principal actor in this scenario with its complexity and linkage to health and performance, especially in piglets compared to adults.
Where is focused swine nutrition to improve pig’s immunity system?
Lipids: different types of fats are essential during the first weeks of life.
Undigested proteins: excess of proteins used for fermentation can cause post-weaning diarrhoea.
Antioxidants: these substances generated during digestion are related to inflammation.
More than quantity, nutrients quality is as important as the balance between nutrition and health
The main challenge in pig nutrition is how to link the potential benefits necessary to improve the immunity system with practical nutritional approaches.