Date: 08/07/2019

Over the past 50 years, global meat consumption has increased a lot. Analyzing the results of the sector, there was a growth of 4 to 5 times, going from 71.36 million tons in 1961 to 317.8 million tons in 2014.

As we look at the growth per continent, the numbers surprise us.

European production doubled, the North American was multiplied by 2.5 times and Asian increased its results by an incredible amount of 1392%. This market is expected to move $ 2.1 trillion by 2020.

That is, it is necessary to produce more and better to meet the growing demand. Therefore, optimizing the results of animal breeding systems is a highly efficient and effective strategy that guarantees a significant increase in the profitability of farms.

Within this universe, nutritional supplements have proven to be an excellent option, since nutrition is the highest cost within an animal production. The growth of this additives market is expected to grow between 3.5% and 4% by 2023.

This way, investing in an efficient and, at the same time, less costly diet, results in better direct results to the producer.

Before we talk about the solutions available, let’s clarify some differences between terms.

What is the difference between diet, feed and supplementation?

Although sometimes used as synonyms, there is a difference between the three, so let’s go:

  • Diet: a set of ingredients that will provide all the necessary nutrients for the maintenance, development and production of animals;
  • Feed: the term feed was more used by nutritionists in the past, but “feed” means a fractionated diet that will be provided in a 24-hour period;
  • Supplementation: it is the supply of nutritional substances – or not – exceeding what is necessary for the development of the animal, increasing the productive efficiency and optimizing the production capacity.

Supplementation can be given to all production animals, such as ruminants, non-ruminants and aquatic animals, such as frogs, fish and shrimps. The most common non-ruminant animals on the market are chickens and swines.

Swines need special nutritional attention during the productive cycle, since they have different stages of production (maternity, growth, gestation, reproduction and finishing) with different nutritional requirements for their better performance.

When should supplementation be done?
It is necessary to check with a qualified professional to start with the supplementation of the animals. Usually, this investigation is carried out by a zootechnician or veterinarian responsible for the elaboration of the diets.

Pigs, for example, require 6 general classes of nutrients.

They are:

  • Water;
  • Carbohydrates;
  • Fats;
  • Proteins (amino acids);
  • Minerals;
  • Vitamins.

Energy, even though it is not considered a nutrient, is an important nutritional component and is mainly derived from the oxidation of carbohydrates and fats.

Genetic, environmental, nutrient availability factors in food, disease levels and other stressors can increase the required level of some nutrients for optimum performance and reproduction.

But pay attention: supplementing the diet without necessity, can lead to losses in the development of the animals. Vitamins or minerals in excess, for example, can lead to serious metabolic problems.

What kind of supplementation can be used for pigs?

Numerous forms of supplementation can be added in diets, from energetic foods, proteins, vitamin complexes, minerals, enzymes and medicines.

Check out some options below:


Phytase is an enzyme effective in pig growth diets because, on average, 70% of the phosphorus in products of plant origin is not available to animals. Consequently, by adding phytase to feed, it has the ability to make phosphorus available to be metabolized by the animal’s organism, thereby reducing the excretion of this mineral.

This release through phytase occurs because this enzyme performs phytate breakdown, responsible for not making phosphorus available to animal metabolism.


Iron supplementation in newborn piglets helps in the formation of hemoglobin cells that act on the metabolism and immune system performance of the animal.

Piglets may be susceptible to iron deficiency anemia due to lack of the mineral, which may lead to a large increase in mortality.

Naturally, piglets are born with this deficiency due to the low capacity of transferring nutrients via placenta in the uterus of the milks. In addition, there is a low amount of this mineral present in the milk given by the mother, the main food in the first days of life.


Vitamins are also nutrients that play important roles in the metabolism of animals. They are usually divided into two groups: liposoluble and water soluble.

Foods added to diets provide much of the necessary vitamins. However, in diets formulated without great complexity or using few ingredients, there is a great chance that they do not contemplate the adequate vitamin requirement.

It is also important to note that there is no need to supplement all vitamins, as in the case of vitamin C.


Studies demonstrate the commercial possibility in the progestogen supplementation in pre birth of pregnant matrices. The idea of ​​this supplementation is to avoid early deliveries, since the gestations of the milks in the farm must be accompanied.

When premature births occur or at times when employees are not present, this can lead to mortality of the piglets. Therefore, birth supervision is necessary to avoid such neonatal losses.

The idea of ​​progestogen supplementation is to perform the manipulation of the moment of delivery by maintaining high plasma levels of progestogen during the end of gestation in order to avoid early deliveries.

Chicken Protein Hydrolysate

The Chicken Protein Hydrolysate is a highly proteic and natural ingredient originated from the enzymatic hydrolysis of meat, giblets and liver of chickens, which breaks down these proteins and generates smaller chains of amino acids, the bioactive peptides. Consequently, it has a higher digestibility when compared to more complex protein chains.

At the same time, chicken protein hydrolysate is a highly palatable ingredient, making it attractive to consumption by animals. Consequently, with better palatability and digestibility, there is an improvement in feed conversion rates.

Supplementation in aqua production

The act of supplementation is carried out in any species of zootechnical interest, from the terrestrial and aquatic to the flying ones. In places where there are periods of low food offer, especially in winter, the animals are provided with a protein, vitamin and amino acid supplementation to meet the nutritional need.

In aquaculture production, antibiotic supplementation was widely used to ensure better performance in the growth and sanity of the animals.

However, in recent years there is a strong trend against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics as they cause resistance in pathogenic microorganisms, as well as possible residues of antibiotics in the final products. But there is a way out!


The alternative to replace antibiotics is the use of nucleotide supplementation in the diets of aquaculture animals, in this case, fish and shrimp.

This supplementation improves body weight gain and feed conversion, especially in the first days of life.

In salmon production, for example, when using nucleotide supplementation, a 38% reduction in the number of sea lice infections in the production system was observed, as well as an improvement in the osmoregulation system.

The use of this supplementation in shrimps shows an increase in the growth rate, a higher feed conversion rate of proteins and lipids.

Protein Ingredients

Another interesting option for nutritional supplementation available in the market is the protein ingredients.

Also produced from the enzymatic hydrolysis, the benefits include a high concentration of bioactive peptides, high palatability and, consequently, a better feed conversion.

At the same time, there is an improvement in the water quality of the tanks, since there is a better digestibility, lower phosphorus content, generating less organic matter accumulated in the environment and eutrophication.


The fast growth in the world meat market is an important indicator that we need to produce more and increase quality. Because of that, animal breeding systems as a whole must be optimized to the maximum, seeking for an increase in their profitability and, at the same time, absorb the market demand.

In this sense, nutrition deserves special attention because it represents the greater part of the costs involved in the creation of animals. Often it is insufficient to provide adequate animal nutrition only with feeds.

Therefore, nutritional supplementation is an excellent way to ensure better rates of digestibility, feed conversion, and consequently increase the profitability of the production system as a whole.