I recently attended a conference focused on gut health in production animals. Gut health is something the average person spends little time thinking about or considering, but as an animal scientist, specifically one working with brewer’s yeast and ruminants, this is an area of great interest for me.
If the animal’s “gut” is not healthy, the animal is not at peak health nor is its feed-to-gain ratio as efficient as it could be.
The word “gut” is a general term often used to describe an animal’s digestive system. In ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats, we are primarily concerned with rumen function. With monogastrics, such as pigs, horses and chickens, we tend to focus on the whole system with more attention on specific system components depending on species. For example, cecum function would be of interest in the horse’s digestive system.
So what role does brewer’s yeast play in gut function?
Well, brewer’s yeast has been determined to improve gut health, with the most impactful improvements documented to occur in ruminant species. Brewer’s yeast improves fiber digestion, eliminates disease-causing organisms in the gut, and increases microbial growth.
Improvement in fiber digesting and lactic acid utilizing bacteria can lead to more efficient microbes, as well as a larger population of these microbes. The cell wall of the yeast has the ability to bind to toxins and pathogenic bacteria in the animal’s gut, allowing it to be cleared from the digestive system while allowing good bacteria and microorganisms to flourish.
Basically, the yeast functions to rid the gut of disease-causing organisms and allows healthy gut microflora to flourish.
Overall, when an animal’s gut bacteria become more efficient, the animal’s feed-to-gain ratio improves. This is due to more efficient utilization of the nutritional components from its feed.
All of these characteristics benefit the animal from a health perspective, but this also benefits the producer from the perspective of his pocket book.
The opinions of Dr. Angela Mays are not necessarily those of The F.L. Emmert Company or ShowBloom.