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Posted on: June 21st, 2022

Probiotic research and the resulting supplements have led to huge advances in gut health and understanding of the importance of diversity of microbiota. Modern food processing has affected our digestive systems in many ways–but what about the animals being processed for human consumption?

Recent research from the University of Bologna has identified probiotics as having the potential to reduce antibiotics and other chemicals used to raise animals and produce meat. The study also showed promise as a digestive aid for animals.

So, how can these developments help humans?

Fewer Second-Hand Chemicals in Meat

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the biggest threats to global health today. As more animals are regularly dosed with antibiotics, bacteria become more resistant to these antibiotics. Bacteria resistance can lead to new or stronger types of bacteria dominating certain animals. This can eventually lead to outbreaks of new and potentially dangerous sicknesses.

Giving fewer antibiotics to animals used for meat means that we may not have to worry about dangerous new types of bacteria that emerge. These antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” have been mentioned by the WHO alongside the need to give fewer antibiotics to animals in general. The WHO mentioned antibiotic superbugs appearing as early as 2050 unless measures are taken to lessen antibiotic use in both people and animals. 

Antibiotics used in certain processing procedures may also negatively affect humans in ways that are not yet fully understood. Humans already take antibiotics for many different reasons (illness, vaccinations, etc.), but the total scope of adding small amounts of additional antibiotics (through meat consumption) is still unknown,

Feeding Animals Natural Ingredients

Probiotics may help strengthen animal immune systems without the need for antibiotics or other enhanced foods/feeds. Just like humans, many animals consumed for meat can develop a healthier gut from probiotic regimens.

The recent study by the University of Bologna specifically targeted pigs and piglets. Aside from developing a healthier gut without antibiotics, weaning (transferring) piglets from milk to food was a smoother process. The lower levels of sickness & diarrhea due to probiotic treatments could potentially lead to cleaner animals (and cleaner living conditions for those animals). This would, in turn, lead to cleaner food for consumers–meat with both lower levels of antibiotic residues and lower potential outside contamination.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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