Modern animal nutrition: Let nutrition be your medicine

Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.

Modern animal nutrition: Let nutrition be your medicine

Dusan Petkovic |

Taking wisdom from ancient sciences of nutrition and medicine, one can find truth, even today, among the archipelagos of medicinal nutrition supplements.

Let nutrition be your medicine, and medicine be your nutrition. This phrase belongs to the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates of Kos, who lived during the Golden Age of ancient Athens at the time of Pericles. He was born c. 460 B.C. and died c. 370 B.C., but his advice remains as contemporary as ever.

Was he talking about feed additives? Not likely, but we can certainly adapt his advice to modern times. Whether we talk about feed additives, nutritional supplements, nutrients or anything that our animals consume today, the fact remains that modern animal nutrition seems to be getting closer and closer to the above dogma and axiom that apparently served the ancients so well.

Today, we see many nutrients redefined in roles that escape the confines of traditional (classical?) nutrition science. Gut health, immunomodulation and disease resistance are all concepts that are no longer the exclusive realm of (classical?) veterinary science. More and more, we notice that veterinarians and nutritionists collaborate against their common enemy — pathogens and overpopulation that deprive animals of their health and/or valuable nutrients for rapid and efficient productivity.

Is this a call to use more additives? To the contrary; I remain a staunch advocate of judicious use of any product used in commercial animal nutrition. However, one must not discard easily the advances of modern science, and especially those that abide with well-established principles. All I am saying is that feed should no longer be regarded solely as the vehicle of nutrients; it can be a source of health supportive components, most of which remain to be discovered or rediscovered.