Pet supplement company claims natural alternative to livestock antibiotics?

Avigen, a ‘wellness’ company which promotes antioxidant supplements for pets, says it has done what science cannot – they have created a natural alternative to antibiotics that can be used for livestock.

Their product is based on an oxidation of beta-carotene they call OxC-Beta and they claim it can  not only beneficially support immune function, but say that in their In-feed trials, it is a safe, effective and affordable alternative to antibiotics. The study is in PLOS One, which is an open-access journal where companies, institutions and researchers pay a fee to be published and is the largest-volume publisher in the world.

The article reports on the work by Avivagen-funded research related to biological activities of products obtained from oxidation of carotenoid compounds. Typical examples of carotenoids are things found in carrots and health and feed supplements, such as beta-carotene, astaxanthin, canthaxanthin, lutein and lycopene. Carotenoids are antioxidants but Avivagen says their compounds are totally transformed by spontaneous reaction with oxygen into entirely different products – fully-oxidized carotenoids they call OxC-beta –  and they claim they have beneficial effects on immune function. They highlight what they claim is the previously unrecognized and predominant presence of oxygen-copolymer products that are believed to account for the majority of the immunological activity.

Ranchers are probably not going to abandon science for this just yet.

In their article, they claim the ability of OxC-beta to prime the immune system to more effectively respond to microbial challenges. Specific results are shown on immune receptor levels, cytokine levels and phagocytic activity provide mechanistic and they list function-based evidence of OxC-beta-enhanced innate immunity.

The article says that the effects of fully-oxidized carotenoids may explain epidemiological benefits from diets rich in carotenoid-containing fruits and vegetables and the corresponding lack of any benefit from direct dietary supplementation with intact beta-carotene.

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