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Study: Yeast fermentate may prevent heat stress-related complications in livestock

Researchers recently found that a specialized yeast fermentate supplement may reduce harmful changes in gut structure that can lead to leaky gut syndrome

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Complications related to heat stress in livestock may be prevented by yeast fermentate, according to a study by Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine researchers. Specifically, the results indicate that the yeast fermentate—EpiCor by Embria Health Sciences in Ankeny, Iowa—may reduce harmful changes in gut structure that can lead to leaky gut syndrome.

The researchers used a heat-stress model with adult rats to simulate the conditions under which leaky gut syndrome can occur.

“This study is the first report about the efficacy of yeast fermentate in the prevention of heat stress-related complications,” said Iryna B. Sorokulova, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Heat stress can cause a number of pathological and physiological responses which can be become lethal if not properly managed, according to the study. Particularly, heat stress can cause significant morphological changes in the gut.

For example, according to the study, it has been found that heat exposure in pigs caused marked injury to the tips of the intestinal villi, inducing epithelial cell shedding, exposing the intestinal mucosa lamina propria, as well as shortening the villus height and crypt depth in the small intestine. These morphological changes alter the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract, the study further noted.

“Heat stress results in annual losses averaged $897 million, $369 million, $299 million and $128 million for dairy, beef, swine and poultry industries, respectively,” Dr. Sorokulova said. “New approaches for mitigation of heat stress adverse effects are of great importance for protecting the health of humans working in extreme conditions and for animal health.”

Results of the study indicate that the yeast fermentate ingredient not only helped to significantly reduce the likelihood of damage to the gut lining caused by heat stress, but also showed noticeable gut health results when heat stress was not applied.

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In addition, the researchers documented other healthy changes in heat-stressed animals pretreated with yeast fermentate: reduction of serum lipopolysaccharides (endotoxins), reduced vesiculation of erythrocytes and a decrease in white blood cell count as compared to the group taking the placebo.

“Future directions of this study will help to understand the feasibility of proposed approaches not only in environmental heat stress but also in heat stress related to physical activity.”

The findings were published in August in the Journal of Thermal Biology.

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