ONE HEALTH: These nutrients from nature that care for animals and humans


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The virtual congress ONE HEALTH showed, last June 23rd, the existents links between the health of soils and the people health. These new scientific interventions session (2nd session on the 3 session) allowed us to add grist to this big mill of knowledge by focusing on the nutrients that take care of the terrain. The term terrain is used here in its broadest sense:  the one in which the plants that nourish us are implanted, but also the corporal and cell terrain, our health temple.

Is there a match between drugs and nutritional approach?

Care is priority, especially in the actual context of sanitary crisis. Too often, we are looking for a major strike force to free ourselves from the evil that makes us suffer. The drug approach is thus indicated because it has proven its efficiency. But by overexposing our organisms to the pharmacologic defense agents, the tricky pathogens are getting used to their presence and this create a problem of resistance to treatment. Therefore, the Dr Jocelyn Marguerie, veterinary involved in the alter biotic approach, highlighted that this problem has already been identified by the World Health Organization as a growing cause of people death. On the side of the animals, the “demedication process” in the farm consists to put in place a prevention plan of the infections, especially the good food practical to create a virtuous circle of animal health. Fabrice Hegron, dairy cows breeder reminded, during the round table, that breeders say “I’m going to take care of the animal” when they go to feed them.

When there is infection or traumatism, our bodies respond by creating an acute inflammatory reaction caused by our immune system. Pr. Philippe LEGRAND, researcher at INSERM (French National Institute of health and medical research) and inflammation specialist, explained us that these correctives actions put in place by our organism can sometimes be disproportionate or even deleterious: that’s why we use, frequently, anti-inflammatory drugs. He reminded that the inflammation can also be insidious (at “low noise” or even quiet in a first time). The inflammatory low noise is moving in because of our life habits (pro-inflammatory food, repeated cigarettes, chronic stress…) and this type of inflammation is frequently brought into play, especially in the cardiovascular diseases. By consuming nutrients that have resolution faculty of inflammation (the omega-3 are strong at this little game), our bodies become filled themselves with a protective anti-inflammatory bath and are more resistant to daily pro-inflammatory disruptors.

Drugs and nutrients must thus be used in a complementary and reasoned way to modulate inflammatory lighting: one has a more powerful strike force, the other is a better protector in the long run. It is also advisable to bring a particular care to the feed which is given to animals that feed us, to promote their impregnation with important nutrients for the health of all of us .

Two watchwords: density and diversity

The production choices have an impact on the food composition. The Bleu-Blanc-Coeur products have, for example, a lipids composition (especially omega-3 type) optimized because of its commitments which impose a diversified and omega-3 impregnated nutritionfor breeding animals. Moreover, Dr. Marie-Josèphe AMIOT-CARLIN, Human Food Research director at INRAE, pointed on the importance to turn to high nutritional density products, that means food that contain a maximum amount of nutrients in relation to their caloric potential. This nutritional density is, for example, high for fruits and vegetables because they are source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and are low in caloric. But, for a same fruit or vegetable, depending on the  variety type, the sowing date, the fertilization type, or even the harvest stage, the nutrients content (thus the nutritional density) might vary from simple to triple.

Gaps are observed between the actual food diet and what it should be to answer to all our nutritional needs and environmental issues. Adopted an eco-nutritional diet, it is turning to eco-responsible brands or approaches (e.g Organic Agriculture for the obligation of means, Bleu-Blanc-Coeur to measure the nutrient content of foods), but also rebalance your plates by giving pride of place to plants, and by eating meat products in a thoughtful way.

Dr Fabrice PIERRE, director of a research unit at INRAE which focuses on carcinogenesis prevention in food, also put in context the carcinogenic potential of red meats and delicatessens. It is the heme iron of red meats that is mainly blamed. It is interesting from a nutritional point of view because it is easily assimilated to meet our iron needs, but taken in too large quantity or in an unbalanced food bowl, its pro-oxidant power becomes risky for our health. This is where vegetables rich in antioxidants or cheeses rich in calcium capable of chelating iron (…) are useful to accompany our meats. Pierre WEILL, co-chairman of Bleu-Blanc-Cœur, also paid humorous tribute to our grandmothers who were unknowingly excellent nutritionists by serving us the traditional beef-carrots (today too often replaced by the burger-fries filled with empty calories).

Animal and people health: Complementary benefits

Modify the breeding lines way to improve the animals and people nutritional statutes. This has been put in place for example by Bleu-Blanc-Coeur breeders with composed rations of plants with natural omega-3,  most of the time also provided in antioxidants. Indeed, on the basis of the observation that 63% of  French people like too much to eat Pork delicatessent compared to the current official recommendations set at a maximum of 150 g/week, the Fabrice PIERRE team showed that adding anti-oxidant such as vitamin E in the porks’ auger allows to obtain delicatessen whose pro-oxidant effect of heme iron is limited, while preserving its nutritional interests… enough to perhaps improve the recommended limitation if this practice becomes more widespread. Denys Durand, researcher at INRAE confirmed that this antioxidant effect is obtained by the plants varieties that graze cattle. When animals are well fed… definitely people are better.

Henri Cornec, Bleu-Blanc-Cœur pork breeder at EARL CORNEC (France), also shared, during the round table that in addition to obtain quality meat for the consumer, he notices a real interest to improve the food of his porks for their health because 99% of his animals of his exploitation don’t take antibiotics of their life. Furthermore, Fabrice HEGRON, dairy producer of the “En Direct des Eleveurs” group noticed 4 times less mastitis in his herd than the national average. Dominique Marchand, veterinary of the “Réseau Cristal” (Cristal networks), is a support for breeders like Henri et Fabrice, concerned about their animals’ health, because he works on the health animal indicators development. But he indicates that these parameters have to be easily measurable and shareable for the attention about  this type of criteria becomes more widespread and that practices evolve. Some innovation going in that way can be put in place in breeding; and Fabrice HEGRON give us a great example as “En Direct des Eleveurs” uses digital technologies and artificial intelligence to accurately record the health parameters of the cows. He also reminded us the relevance of the breeder’s trained eye and regular contact with animals to evaluate their good health.

To conclude, thanks to societal expectations and currently climate issues, we are let a growing but still insufficient space to the agro-ecology and to the practices that promote eco-health in France. This currently evolution of the production methods and the agglomeration of all the constantly measured data makes us realize that everything is a question of balance (Denys DURAND, INRAE) and that we have to move away from the currently huge models to better guide the breeders toward good practices for the animals and people health.

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