Great news if you’re a pig! Adding daily supplements of fish oil to your trough can improve your immune system!
When animal physiologist Jeff Carroll was with the Animal Physiology Research Unit in Columbia, Mo., he worked with Gary Allee, a swine nutritionist at the University of Missouri, to investigate the benefit of adding various natural supplements to pig diets. They found that fish oil in young weaned pigs’ diets can help build up their immune systems.
Carroll, currently the research leader at the Livestock Issues Research Unit located north of Lubbock, Texas, says it’s been known that fish oils containing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids can be nutritious additions to a person’s diet because they appear to lower the risk of cholesterol and heart disease. However, the Columbia studies showed that compared to corn oil and other supplements, different levels of menhaden fish oil helped 18-day-old pigs better prepare to fight off endotoxin challenges. The omega-3 fatty acids are absorbed through the intestine and help the immune cells cope with disease. U.S. producers could benefit from this finding because fish oil is less expensive than antibiotics.
That last statement is most important. Pretty soon, not only will we not have to worry about antibiotics in our meats, but we’ll also be getting more omega-3 fatty acids as well.