Establishing Swine Gut Health

As an industry, we know digestive issues or gut health in pigs is the most impactful problem pork producers face. To seek a better understanding of the issues contributing to gut health, Kemin established a Gut Health Solutions platform to create helpful products for the industry. Collectively, Kemin Gut Health Solutions provides a comprehensive approach to improving gut integrity for pigs by strengthening the intestinal integrity, healthy microbial balance and supporting immune functions. In order to maintain pig health and productivity, we must change the way we address gut health; it starts with Kemin Gut Health Solutions.


Diseases Impacting Swine Gut Health

  • E. coli
  • Rotavirus
  • PEDv
  • Circovirus
  • Ileitis (late finishing)

As previously stated, the intestinal barrier, microbiota and intestinal immunity are considered the three main factors contributing to gut health. The interaction of these factors determines the optimal nutrient utilization of the animal. This is especially important in the nursery phase.

Indicators of Poor Gut Health in Pigs

  • Diarrhea
  • Body condition
  • Anorexia

Balancing Microbiota for Improved Gut Health

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract hosts a microbial ecosystem containing thousands of bacterial species in a symbiotic relationship with the host (or the animal). The host provides a protected, nutrient-rich environment in which the microbiota can thrive. In return, the microbiota provide resistance to pathogens, aid in the development and maintenance of intestinal and systemic immunity and support intestinal structure development. Shifts in the microbial population due to dietary changes or pathogens can be detrimental to the host.

Understanding Intestinal Integrity

The epithelial barrier, or the gut integrity for pigs, is the second factor of gut health and has the largest task of absorbing nutrients. This barrier is also busy protecting the host from invading pathogens, toxins and antigens. It is common to find many pathogens, including Clostridium difficile and others, as part of the microbiota of the hind gut. Under challenging conditions, pathogens migrate through the small intestine, multiplying exponentially, creating an imbalance in the microbial ecosystem. The toxins produced by pathogens create lesions in the small intestine, reducing the digestion and absorption capacities of the pig. An important component of maintaining the intestinal barrier are tight junctions, which are made up of multifunctional protein complexes.

Tight junctions seal the space between epithelial cells, thus, preventing the translocation of microorganisms and other antigens across the epithelium, also known as "leaky gut." A breakdown of the barrier would result in illnesses such as bacterial infection. Fighting intestinal infections requires the intestinal immune system to draw nutrients that would otherwise be used for growth and production.

The Immune System at Work

The third factor of gut health in pigs is the intestinal immune system. It plays a huge role in overseeing the interactions between the host pig and its microbiota. This is done through a network of immune cells, cytokines, chemokines and other mediators. The intestinal immune system must balance between tolerance from continual exposure of microbiota and responding to challenges.

Kemin Gut Health Solutions for Swine

What has Kemin done to promote healthy activity in each of these gut elements? Since its founding in 1961, Kemin has strived to improve the health and performance of livestock and poultry worldwide. Building on the science and product successes forged throughout multiple production industries, Kemin brings the same spirit of science and innovation to the swine market with the following gut health solutions:

ButiPEARL™, a leading source of encapsulated butyric acid, provides targeted delivery along the GI tract. Butyric acid is an integral, short-chain fatty acid acting as an energy source for epithelial cells. Butyric acid supports gut health through the development of the intestinal epithelial cells. It upregulates the expression of tight junction proteins in the intestines and increases antioxidant levels to promote healing in the GI tract.1,2

ButiPEARL™ Z uses the Kemin proprietary MicroPEARLS® spray freezing technology to encapsulate two synergistic nutrients, butyric acid and zinc. Butyric acid and zinc play an important role in key biological processes affecting the health and performance of production animals. Zinc plays a pivotal role in many key biological processes, increases microbial diversity and upregulates tight junction proteins in intestines.3,4

CLOSTAT™ contains a proprietary, patented strain of Bacillus subtilis PB6. PB6 is a unique, naturally occurring, spore-forming microorganism. Kemin has identified and selected PB6 as an active substance that helps maintain the balance of microflora in the intestinal tract of livestock. Kemin internal research has shown PB6 can inhibit C. difficile.

KEM SAN® is a unique combination of the most effective organic acids balanced by the individual pKa's over an optimal pH range. KEM SAN has been proven to inhibit and kill a broad spectrum of pathogenic bacteria in drinking water. By reducing the pathogen load in the water, there are less challenges presented to the pig's GI tract, which helps maintain gut health.

Aleta offers a concentration greater than 50% of 1,3-beta glucans. Beta glucans have been used in human and livestock as a way to enhance host protective immunity. Enhancing protective immunity during a time when young animals are developing their immune system can be beneficial to producers. Minimizing the impact of disease challenges early on in an animal's life can have an effect on their ability to gain weight faster, convert feed more efficiently and may be less likely to spread disease.



1Peng, L. et al. 2009. Butyrate Enhances the Intestinal Barrier by Facilitating Tight Junction Assembly via Activation of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase in Caco-2 Cell Monolayers. J. Nutr. 139:1619-1625.

2Ma, X. et al. 2012. Butyrate promotes the recovering of intestinal wound healing through its positive effect on the tight junctions. J. Anim. Sci. 90:266-268.

3Katouli, M. et al. 1999. The effect of zinc oxide supplementation on the stability of the intestinal flora with special reference to composition of coliforms in weaned pigs. J. of Applied Microbiology. 87:564-573.

4Zhang, B. et al. 2012. Zinc prevents Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium-induced loss of intestinal mucosal barrier function in broiler chickens. Avian Pathology. 41:361-367.