Leaky gut: a consequence of heat stress to be taken into account

July 29, 2022
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What is the leaky gut?

During heat episodes, blood is diverted to the skin to eliminate internal heat. As a result, the intestines are less irrigated and the cells less oxygenated. The junctions between the cells loosen, which can allow certain germs and toxins to enter the bloodstream. The absorption of nutrients is reduced. All this greatly deteriorates the comfort of the animals by causing oxidative stress and inflammation. This syndrome is known as “leaky gut“.

Leaky gut: a problem for multi-species

All livestock animals are concerned, ruminants, pigs, poultry, even humans can suffer from the same symptoms. The phenomenon in a heat stress situation has, for example, been described for broiler chickens (Tellez et al.,2017). 

READ MORE. InnoFeed podcast: our experts speak out on heat stress

The interest of certain plant extracts or spices has been demonstrated by their contribution to the natural defence systems of the cells against oxidation and inflammation as well as the cohesion between the cells and the appearance of the intestinal epithelium. An improvement in the crypt/villosity ratio in the presence of turmeric (Rajput et al., 2012) or the reduction of the expression of pro-inflammatory molecules in the presence of spices (CCPA, 2019) has been demonstrated.

Fig 1: Leaky gut is an alteration of the tight junctions between the cells of the intestinal epithelium

Heat stress: the main effects of high heat

The negative consequences of heat stress are multiple, and it is necessary to act at different levels for complete effectiveness. The reinforcement of the intestinal integrity thanks to specific plant active ingredients allows an even more complete action, in particular on the animal comfort aspect.

Leaky Gut heat stress consequences
Fig 2: The main effects of heat stress