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Interpretive Summary: Inulin and isomalto-oligosaccharide alleviate constipation and improve reproductive performance by modulating motility-related hormones, short-chain fatty

By Anne Zinn

A recent study published in the Journal of Animal Science assessed the effects of inulin and isomalto-oligosaccharide, two sources of soluble dietary fiber, on the reproductive performance of pregnant sows. Constipation in sows in the late gestation and lactation period is a common problem and can lead to dystocia or stillbirth, toxins in feces, uteritis, and mastitis and also influences the survival and growth of the piglets; it can also cause postpartum pain in sows and prolongs the time to litter and may also increase the release and absorption of bacterial endotoxins, resulting in postpartum dysfunction syndrome in sows.

Although the effects of inulin and isomalto-oligosaccharide on nutritional and immune health have been previously researched, few studies have investigated their effects on reducing constipation in pregnant sows. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effects of inulin and isomalto-oligosaccharide on gastrointestinal motility-related hormones, short-chain fatty acids, fecal microflora, and reproductive performance in pregnant sows.

Overall, results demonstrated that supplementation of inulin and isomalto-oligosaccharide in the diets of pregnant sows can relieve constipation by increasing the content of excitability neurotransmitters substance P and reducing the content of inhibitory neurotransmitters vasoactive intestinal peptide, improve the sow’s reproductive performance, and regulate the intestinal flora by significantly reducing the abundance of potentially pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, it was shown that isomalto-oligosaccharide enhanced the concentrations of acetic, propionic, isobutyric, butyric, isovaleric, and valeric acids in the feces.

The full paper can be found on the Journal of Animal Science webpage.