A feed additive boosts the antioxidant defenses of swine, better than vitamin E only


A University study compared the antioxidant status of weaned piglets under stress conditions. It was found that a feed additive combined with vitamin E reached better results that only feeding vitamin E..


Stressing conditions, such as high temperatures, can negatively affect health, growth and meat quality. This is due to the generation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), produced when cells use oxygen to generate energy from feed. During times of high stress ROS levels can increase dramatically, affecting animal performance and carcass quality. Antioxidants protect the animal by neutralizing ROS, reducing the negative effects of free radicals in the body.

Swine producers typically use vitamin E to increase the antioxidant status of animals and prevent economic damages due to the impact in performance. However, vitamin E quickly saturates when dosed above National Research Council (NRC) recommended levels. High dosage of vitamin E is less effective for managing the antioxidant status in swine. That brings into question the efficacy of this treatment.

About alternatives

An array of antioxidants can be found in nature besides vitamin E. Plant polyphenols have a similar structure as vitamin E, but their antioxidant capacity per gram can be substantially higher. Therefore, selected polyphenols can work as highly effective antioxidants in animal tissues. Feed additives, like Selko AOmix, have been developed specifically for this purpose, containing a blend of highly bioavailable polyphenols.

In order to evaluate the antioxidant potential of Selko AOmix Trouw Nutrition set up a study in collaboration with Ghent University. During this study, nursery piglets were fed on one of three diets. Either a diet containing 1) National Research Council (NRC) recommended levels of vitamin E (11 ppm); 2) or a positive control of 80 ppm of vitamin E; 3) or 11 ppm vitamin E + Selko AOmix equivalent to 69 ppm for a total antioxidant capacity (equal to the positive control). After having time to adapt to these diets, the piglets were exposed to heat stress conditions (40°C for 24 hours).

The trial concluded that under heat stress circumstances the feed additive group outperformed the other two. This confirms that combining the feed additive with low doses of vitamin E is the most efficient strategy to protect the antioxidant status of swine.

About the product in the trial
Selko AOmix is an antioxidants’ mixture that can replace a part of the vitamin E content in feed. Selko AOmix is a mixture of specially selected polyphenols with a high anti oxidative effect, a high biological availability and a broad distribution spectrum that supports an optimal antioxidant state in the entire body of the animal. An optimal antioxidant status supports a good working immune system, fertility and a vital offspring.

About Selko
Selko is the feed additives brand of Trouw Nutrition, a Nutreco company. Selko’s portfolio consists of natural feed additive solutions that add value to integrators, feed mills and farmers. Focus areas are Salmonella control, feed safety, gut health in antibiotic-free production systems and trace mineral nutrition solutions. Selko solutions are offered as a complete package consisting of products, know-how and services. The Selko brand encompasses blends of organic acids, organic minerals, betaine and mycotoxin binders. Trouw Nutrition’s global sales organisation commercialises the Selko feed additives brand.