Intest-Plus ® modes of action in the gut and beyond

Intest-Plus ® modes of action in the gut and beyond

Over ten years of research at Palital, we have validated the unique benefits of Intest-Plus®. Intest-Plus® showed an improved disease resistance and a better gut health. Animal trials showed increased growth, improved feed conversion ratio, higher egg yield, higher hatchability, better carcass traits, less post-weaning diarrhoea and numerous other positive effects on animal health and performance parameters.

What is Intest-Plus®?

Intest-Plus® is a unique range of products that contains sodium- and/or calcium butyrate. We are also the only butyrate producer who can combine calcium- and sodium butyrate within one particle, which is unique. Moreover, gradual release along the gut is ensured by using Palital’s patented matrix encapsulation technique. The extra benefit of Palital’s different coating is that the typical unpleasant smell of butyric acid is minimized.

What is butyrate?

Butyrate is butyric acid in the form of a salt, in this case calcium- and/or sodium butyrate. Butyric acid is a short chain fatty acid that is a natural produced product of fermentation in the large intestine. With adding butyrate into the diet, we want to bring butyrate also in the small intestine to promote a healthy gut and more. The epithelial cells in the intestine preferentially use butyric acid as an energy source. Butyrate has a lot of benefits within the gut, but also beyond. Therefore, butyrate influences numerous biological functions, which enables Intest-Plus® to provide improved animal health and performance (Figure 1).

Multiple biological functions of butyrate in the intestine and beyond.

Figure 1: Multiple biological functions of butyrate in the intestine and beyond.

Increased intestinal cell proliferation & nutrient digestion

Butyric acid stimulates the division and development of gut epithelial cells whilst decreasing the death of normal cells. This results in increased cell proliferation within the animal in two different ways: (i) faster repair of damaged gut tissue and (ii) increased length of intestinal villi which increases digestive absorption capacity. Furthermore, nutrient digestibility is also enhanced as butyric acid increases the secretion of digestive enzymes.

Improved gut barrier function

Intest-Plus® stimulates tight junction assembly and thereby helping to reduce ‘leaky gut’ problems. Tight junctions close the space between gut epithelial cells. This prevents water loss and immune challenge due to the leakage of microbes, toxins and luminal contents out of the gut.  The ‘leaky gut’ problems are caused by nutritional challenges, disease and heat stress. Intest-Plus® also stimulates mucin production. Mucin is the main component of the mucus layer that separates the epithelial cells from gut microbes, and supports the digestion and absorption of dietary nutrients.

Defence against pathogens

As well as strengthening the physical barrier in the gut, butyrate also increases the antimicrobial properties of host immune cells by up regulating an array of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). AMPs work directly by killing micro-organisms, but also indirectly by controlling cytokine production. This indirect effect results in better control of inflammation, and enhanced pathogen reduction. Research shows that low doses of butyrate can decrease the pathogenicity and/or invasiveness of certain bacteria such as Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens and E. coli. This because butyrate can downregulate the expression of specific bacterial genes linked to pathogenicity and invasiveness. Pathogens are also indirectly decreased due to increased beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacilli. Furthermore, butyrate decreases pathogen shedding and gives the animals better resistance against coccidiosis.

Beyond the gut

Scientific research continues to determine the full range of mechanisms that underpin the benefits of butyrate. As well as increasing carcass weight, academic research conducted by Palital has shown that butyrate also beneficially alters carcass composition. An influence of butyrate on insulin homeostasis and adiposity control is likely the underlying mechanism for this. Other indirect systemic effects of butyrate remain to be revealed and are likely to involve elements of the hormono–neuro–immune system.

In conclusion, Intest-Plus® beneficially stimulates the intestinal wall and -function, but is also able to improve the animals defence against pathogens. Nowadays antibiotic reduction in livestock is very important, and Intest-Plus has become a first-choice growth promotor alternative for poultry, swine, calf and fish producers. Intest-Plus® is the key to keep your animals healthy and high performing!