Eggcellent Hens Eggcellent Liver
It is well known that eggs have a very balanced nutrition and are amongst the most nutritious food on the planet! But did you know that most of the nutrients in egg white and yolk are derived from synthesis and transportation from the liver? Nutrients from feed are digested and absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and then transported to the liver. Here, the nutrients are metabolised and catabolised into protein, fat and lecithin and transported to the ovary and oviduct through blood circulation for egg production. The liver of layers is very much like a raw material processing factory. Therefore, it is extremely important that the liver of layers be in excellent condition as it will directly affect the production performance and quality of eggs produced!
Figure 1. Bio-regulatory effects of bile acids
A big part of liver health is tied up with its production of bile acid and plays an essential role in:
1. Fat metabolism
The liver produces bile which plays an important role in fat digestion!
Bile acids have a role in emulsifying fat and improving the rate of fat utilization. At the same time, it promotes the absorption of fat-soluble vitamin (A, D, E, K)! Besides fat-soluble vitamins, bile acid also promote absorption of other fat-soluble substances such as lutein and carotene to improve yolk colour.
Furthermore, bile acid also promotes the synthesis, secretion, and excretion of bile. This facilitates the excretion of various toxic and harmful substances from the liver and the body which prevents internal and liver toxicity.
With the participation of choline, the liver can transform fat vacuoles into tissue fats so that the tissues can use them as energy. This effectively prevents liver fat deposition, formation of fatty liver and provide more energy for the animals!
2. Carbohydrate metabolism
Carbohydrates ingested by the birds are stored as glycogen in the liver and excessive carbohydrates are converted into lipids and stored as fat in the body. The liver (together with pancreas) works to achieve blood glucose equilibrium. When animals are under stress, gluconeogenesis also occurs in the liver providing the birds energy to cope with stress.
3. Protein metabolism
Protein digested and absorbed by the birds go through the liver before being transported to other tissues and organs via systemic circulation. Excess amino acids which are not used by the bird are catabolized by the liver. Catabolism of the amino acids forms ammonia which is toxic for birds. To overcome this, the liver converts ammonia to uric acids and are excreted from the body through the kidneys.
4. Mineral metabolism: storage and release of key minerals
The maximum lifespan of red blood cells (RBC) in chickens was found to be 35 days. After this period, the RBCs are destroyed in the liver and the minerals (iron, copper and cobalt) released are stored in liver for the use by the body. Furthermore, RBC formation also occurs in the liver during late embryonic life but is soon succeeded by the bone marrow.
5. Vitamin metabolism:
As mentioned in the above points, the liver helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, K). Vitamin A is stored in the liver and released as required by the tissues. The absorption of Vitamin A and D is especially important to stabilize eggshell quality and reduce the rate of broken eggs. Vitamin K is utilized in the liver for prothrombin formation which is important for blood clotting.
Toxic substances in feeds such as mycotoxins, heavy metals and pharmaceutical products as well as toxins produced by the body such as ammonia are filtered and detoxified in the liver to be expelled from the body as mentioned in the above Point 1 and 4.
7. Others – Anti inflammation, Anti-bacterial
Bile acids produced by the liver also have an inhibitory effect on harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. Furthermore, bile acids have an anti-inflammatory effect by acting on the FXR (Farsenoid X Receptor) and TGR5 (G-protein coupled receptor) which leads to suppression of intestinal inflammation and enhanced anti-inflammatory ability of macrophages.
Omega 3 – Especially EPA and DHA
Omega 6s and Omega 3s are proving indispensable in a properly maintained ratio for numerous biological, physiological, developmental, reproductive, and beneficial health functions in poultry. Adequate supplementation of poultry diets with feed additives containing omega 3s are gaining importance as it is often much easier to fulfil omega 6 requirements compared to omega 3 requirements in poultry diet because omega 3 (especially EPA and DHA) are only found in certain feed ingredients that make up only a small portion of the complete feed. Furthermore, in a commercial setting, we often see excessive omega 6 contents in layer diets.
Figure 2. Layer Liver Protection by Ω-3
The benefits of Omega 3 in Layers:
- Optimizes the intestinal flora of laying hens
- Improves intestinal structural integrity and reduce permeability
- Reduces endotoxin and trimethylamine in blood and liver
- Reduces bacterial translocation
- Reduces liver fat deposition and fatty liver in late laying period
- Lowers liver inflammation
- Omega-3 PUFAs are ligands for the Farnesoid X receptor (FXR), directly involved in the maintenance of liver health.
- Produces a healthy bile acid pool
As we can see the liver is a “heavy-duty” organ that is known to perform more than 500 physiological functions. Therefore, it makes sense to protect the liver as it is one of the most vulnerable organs in animals. Excellent liver health will definitely pay off in the long run!
Lipotech Ω3 Plus
Manuka Biotech carries both bile acid and omega 3 products. Lipotech Ω3 Plus is formulated with both bile acid and omega 3 (especially high in EPA and DHA) to meet your liver care needs. This product is produced using a unique micro-encapsulation technology that can delay oxidation of fats and guarantee the potency of the Omega 3 fatty acids. The product is also pre-emulsified allowing it to dissolve in water easily, forming an emulsion in water allowing faster absorption in the intestines.
Lipotech Ω3 Plus is formulated to:
- Promote the absorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins and pigments, improve feed utilization, and improve egg yolk color.
- Repair liver damage, improve liver detoxification, reduce liver burden, reduce the occurrence of fatty liver, cirrhosis, hepatomegaly, and other diseases.
- Extend the peak-laying period and relieve layer fatigue syndrome with improved eggshell quality.
- Improve stress resistance and immunity.
- Improve the physical appearance of spent hen, potentially increasing the price per spent hen.
By Kayla Wong, Technical Specialist, Manuka Biotech