Orego-Stim Optimises Intestinal Growth and Function

A Korean study demonstrates that piglets receiving a natural phytogenic feed additive (Orego-Stim from Meriden Animal Health) showed significantly increased intestinal enzyme activity and maintained higher enzyme activity for approximately seven days. The results are published by Meriden as Technical Bulletin No. 17.
calendar icon 12 August 2009
clock icon 7 minute read


With the restricted use of antibiotic growth promoters, or complete bans in many countries, livestock producers are actively pursuing alternative feeding strategies. Researchers are also placing considerable efforts into defining the conditions that are necessary to optimise the gastrointestinal ecosystem to prevent the occurrence of major and economically significant intestinal diseases, and reduce or completely eliminate the need for drugs.

The gastrointestinal tract is a very complex organ and its health and development hold the key to productivity in all domestic livestock animals. The tract has two basic functions that are essential for growth and development of the animal. These are the acquisition and absorption of nutrients, and the maintenance of a protective barrier against infection by disease-causing microorganisms.

For these reasons, it is important for the gastrointestinal tract to be kept healthy so that efficient production of livestock animals can yield a higher profit for the producer.

Orego-Stim and its Role in Intestinal Growth and Function

Orego-Stim is a natural, phytogenic feed additive that contains a characteristic class of phenolic compounds known as isoprenoids, which are widely used for human food flavouring and that act as natural appetisers. These compounds stimulate olfaction and taste by acting on the central and autonomous nervous system, triggering a response in the gastrointestinal tract by increasing its motility and activating the enteroendocrine system to produce digestive enzymes.

To prove this, a study was conducted by Professor Dr Chae Chanhee from the Department of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea to determine the efficacy of Orego-Stim in intestinal growth and function by measuring intestinal dimension, villus height/crypt depth ratio and mucosal enzyme activity in the intestines of pigs.

Measurement of Intestinal Growth and Function

Intestinal growth and function can be influenced by various factors throughout the life cycle of the animal. Biochemical, morphologic and functional changes of the intestine are induced by the animal's growth process and feeding.

There are various methods of studying and measuring the intestinal functions of animals. The most recognised protocols for these tests are intestinal dimension, villus height/crypt depth ratio and mucosal enzyme activity assay.

Intestinal growth was established by measuring intestinal dimension. Intestinal length and weight increases gradually during growth periods. Therefore, the intestinal weight/body weight ratio indicates quantitative features of small intestinal growth and function. Villus height is also known to be correlated with digestion and absorption rate. Therefore, the villus height/crypt depth ratio is a marker of digestion rate. Numerous mucosal enzymes play a role in digestion, with its activity and conditions changing according to the age of the animal. Hence, the mucosal enzyme assay provides important information pertaining to intestinal function.

The Experiment

A total of 54 one-day-old commercial pigs were randomly divided into two groups, with one group receiving Orego-Stim. During the first 21 days, this group received feed containing 1 gram of Orego-Stim per 1 kg body weight in the starter feed. From 21 days up to the end of experiment (weaning period), this same group received 500g of Orego-Stim per tonne of feed. The control group received feed free from any Orego-Stim. Both groups were held in separate isolators and examined at regular intervals. Three pigs from each group were humanely killed and necropsied at days 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42 of age. Intestinal weight and length were measured from all these pigs. The villus height/crypt depth ratio was also measured for each segment. Subsequently, means for this ratio were also calculated per segment.

Mucosal enzymes were measured by assay for alkaline phosphatase, leucine aminopeptidase, maltase, sucrase and lactase. Alkaline phosphatase plays a role in lipid digestion. Leucine aminopeptidase is involved in the digestion of oligopeptidase to dipeptidase and tripeptidase, and plays a role in protein absorption. Sucrase, maltase and lactase participate in the final digestion of disaccharides and oligosaccharides to monosaccharides.


Intestinal dimensions were increased by 30 per cent in the Orego-Stim treatment group and villi length was also increased by 10 per cent in this group compared to the control group. Alkaline phosphatase activity was also significantly higher on the 10th and 42nd day of age in the duodenum and on the 28th day of age in the ileum of the treatment group. During the pre-weaning period from 10 days of age, the levels of leucine aminopeptidase, maltase, sucrase and lactase were significantly increased compared to the control group (P<0.05).

The most important observation in this study was that Orego-Stim significantly increased intestinal enzyme activity and kept the duration of higher enzyme activity for approximately seven days. Therefore, Orego-Stim not only increased intestinal enzyme activity but also continuously maintained this higher intestinal enzyme activity for a longer period of time.

Orego-Stim Optimises Intestinal Growth and Function

Rapid development of agricultural science and modern technology is now paradoxically shifting the livestock industry away from the use of synthetic drugs and currently looks towards nature and the usage of natural products such as herbs and plant extracts to enhance better health and more efficient production of livestock animals. To achieve such results, producers have come to recognise the importance of a well-developed gastrointestinal tract in their animals, one that functions at optimal performance, to allow for such better growth. It is now widely recognised that the unique and distinctive essential oils found in Orego-Stim helps to promote better intestinal growth and function compared to various feeding techniques and methods used in the standard practices of yesteryear.

Orego-Stim encourages the growth of longer villi by eliminating pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli from the gastrointestinal tract of livestock animals. Such bacteria are capable of producing enterotoxins that could potentially damage and cause premature shortening of intestinal villi. Due to the absence of such enterotoxic pathogens, intestinal villi have greater opportunity to grow to its optimal length, providing more surface area for better absorption of nutrients.

Enzymes are biological catalysts that also play an important role in nutrient digestion and absorption, which is a crucial process for efficient growth of livestock animals. Orego-Stim has been shown to be effective in stimulating the production of digestive enzymes naturally, resulting in a significant increase in intestinal enzymatic activity, while maintaining higher enzyme levels for longer durations in the intestines of livestock animals.


The availability of Orego-Stim to the agricultural world signifies a change in paradigm, finally allowing livestock producers to free themselves from their long-lasting dependency upon the usage of antibiotic growth promoters and other drug-based feed additives practiced in conventional livestock production systems. Orego-Stim is capable of increasing intestinal growth, villi length and maintaining elevated enzyme levels, resulting in better intestinal function in livestock animals. This enables producers to economically raise healthy animals for healthy people the natural way, while ensuring a handsome profit for themselves in the business.

July 2009

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