An AGP alternative that really is an alternative

As the world moves further toward antibiotic-free production, natural support of a healthy intestinal environment is key.
calendar icon 5 January 2022
clock icon 6 minute read

It’s no secret that enteric disease costs the poultry industry billions of dollars each year, and that maintaining intestinal health has become significantly more challenging with the removal of subtherapeutic antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) from feed rations.

Poultry producers are not only looking for AGP replacements that provide similar health benefits, but the AGP alternatives need to add measurable economic value to their operation, too. A healthy, efficient broiler is the goal, but not if it costs twice as much to produce it.

A Healthy Intestine Is Key

The intestinal environment is where the fight against enteric disease can start and stop — if it’s managed properly. The protective barrier formed by the mucus and enterocytes that line the intestine is the first line of defense against the harmful pathogens and biotoxins that can be present in the lumen. The gastrointestinal tract is also home to over 70% of avian immune cells — that’s another significant layer of defense worth protecting!

An intestinal environment that’s unhealthy and dysfunctional allows pathogens and biotoxins to reach the systemic circulation and have a negative impact on multiple physiological systems. That’s why the poultry industry needs a natural feed additive that can protect the intestine against pathogens and biotoxins while strengthening the cells of the intestinal barrier and gently prime the intestinal immune system to protect against future infections. The good news is this multi-faceted product does exist — it’s Varium® from Amlan International.

Varium Has Multiple Modes of Action in the Intestine

Designed specifically for poultry, Varium is a natural performance additive that enhances multiple aspects of the intestinal environment, creating production results comparable to AGP use. Varium works in the intestine to bind pathogens and biotoxins in the lumen, provide an energy source for the growth of healthy and strong enterocytes and gently stimulate intestinal immune cells to help birds naturally defend against disease.

Varium achieves these intestinal health benefits using a synergistic formulation of proprietary mineral technology from Amlan International, whole yeast cells and cell wall constituents and a functional amino acid. Multiple governments, including China, the United States, the European Union, Korea and Indonesia have recognized the unique mineral-based technology within Varium and have issued a patent for the product’s modes of action.

Varium Binds Bacterial Toxins and Mycotoxins

Varium works in the intestinal lumen to reduce the level of mycotoxins, pathogenic bacteria and bacterial toxins. By reducing the pathogenic challenge, Varium protects the intestinal barrier from pathogens like Salmonella and Escherichia coli, as well as bacterial toxins like those produced by Clostridium perfringens — alpha-toxin and NetB toxin — that have a key role in necrotic enteritis development.

Varium agglutinates pathogenic bacteria in the intestinal lumen
Varium agglutinates pathogenic bacteria in the intestinal lumen

© University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Varium Shows Comparable Performance to an In-Feed Antibiotic

In necrotic enteritis-challenged broilers, Varium improved feed conversion, reduced mortality and increased weight gain, whether it was used alone or in combination with an antibiotic. In this 28-day study, broilers were allocated to one of five treatments, with four groups challenged with C. perfringens and Eimeria maxima oocysts to induce necrotic enteritis. The five treatments were unchallenged control, challenged control, challenged birds fed 55 g/MT BMD, challenged birds fed 0.1% Varium and challenged birds fed 0.1% Varium and 55 g/MT BMD.

Source: Southern Poultry Research, Inc. Athens, GA.
Source: Southern Poultry Research, Inc. Athens, GA.

Weight gain was significantly less for challenged birds compared to control birds as well as from the weight gain of birds fed BMD and Varium either alone or in combination (P < 0.05).

Feed conversion ratio (FCR) was similar for the unchallenged control, BMD, Varium and Varium plus BMD groups, and all of these groups had significantly better feed conversion ratios than the challenged control (P < 0.05). The Varium and Varium plus BMD groups had numerical improvement in FCR compared to BMD alone.

Among the necrotic enteritis-challenged groups, mortality was significantly lower in the Varium plus BMD group compared to the challenged control and mortality was similar between the Varium-only and BMD-only groups (P < 0.05). Additionally, lesion scores of broilers fed diets supplemented with BMD, Varium or Varium plus BMD were significantly lower than the challenged control group (P < 0.05).

Overall, Varium improved weight gain and feed conversion, and reduced lesion scores in necrotic enteritis-challenged broilers, similar to the improvement seen in birds fed BMD alone. Additionally, the combination of Varium plus BMD showed a significant improvement in bird mortality.

Safe and Reliable Mineral Technology

Varium is produced by Amlan International, the animal health business of Oil-Dri® Corporation of America, a leader in sorbent mineral technology. It’s this mineral technology that makes Amlan feed additives stand out from the competition — Amlan and Oil-Dri own and control every step of the mineral production process, ensuring a traceable and reliable mineral ingredient that is mined sustainably. Another Amlan difference is that the mineral undergoes safe thermal processing rather than chemical activation that’s used by other companies that uses harsh, potentially harmful chemicals.

A healthy intestinal environment does more than just aid in nutrient digestion and absorption; it also protects the body from pathogens and biotoxins commonly found in the intestinal lumen. Varium can help promote intestinal health and feed conversion by reducing the pathogen load, strengthening the intestinal barrier, and safely and mildly stimulating intestinal immunity. But perhaps more importantly, it does all of this while adding measurable economic value to the producer’s bottom line with performance results that are comparable to an in-feed antibiotic — a true AGP alternative.

Product availability may vary by country; associated claims do not constitute medical claims and may differ based on government requirements. Varium is not for sale in the USA.

Amlan International

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