Oxidised derivatives of beta-carotene show promise
Caretenoid antioxidants could help in reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock, this is according to Canadian company Avivagen.
The company produces these 'alternatives to antibiotics' by using the oxidised ß-carotene technology. They state that many of the health properties associated with carotenoid antioxidants are not derived from their antioxidant properties, but rather from previously undiscovered bio-polymer compounds that arise when carotenoids spontaneously oxidise.
This spontaneous oxidation process is believed to apply to carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, astaxanthin from the 600-odd members of the carotenoid family. Avivagen has determined that these naturally-occurring oxidised carotenoid compounds can work with animals' immune systems to optimise overall health and well-being.
OxC-beta is a proprietary concentrated source of oxidised derivatives of beta-carotene that occur extensively in the plant world in minute amounts. The compound has a wide range of health benefits. Results of clinical trials in animals and in vitro studies indicate that this product helps support immune function and inflammatory responses, which can result in general overall health improvement, with specific benefits including, for example, better growth, utilisation of feed and decreased mortality in poultry and swine.
In clinical trials where swine and poultry were given this product instead of antibiotics, swine showed a significant improvement of 8% in feed conversion efficiency as well as an 8% increase in daily weight gain, while poultry showed a growth effect of 3-4%.
Further clinical trials are currently on-going in Asia.
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