Galacto-oligosachharides for improving health of newborn piglets
Modern sows give birth to more, but less mature piglets. Therefore, early stimulation of the piglets’ intestinal development is required. But how do you know what newborn piglets need? The answer is found in nature. In human breast milk, the most important components are lactose, lipids, proteins and above all human milk oligosaccharides (HMO). This last component is very remarkable, as babies cannot digest it. Now, why did mother nature add them to breast milk? HMO are there to feed the beneficial microbes in the baby’s gastrointestinal tract and have prebiotic and antimicrobial functions, strengthen immunity and as a consequence stimulate gastrointestinal maturation. To improve formula milk, the scientific community developed galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which mimic the function of HMO. When supplied to newborn piglets, longer villi as well as more beneficial microbes and their positive metabolites (short chain fatty acids) are observed in their gut. In addition, gastrointestinal barrier function is improved and the piglets show stronger immunity, all resulting in improved zootechnical performance and health. Farmers witness the positive effect of GOS and have seen that the product is very reliable; they like the concept and want to continue to use it in their farm in the future.