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Impact of Mycotoxins On Pigs

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Mycotoxins Can Hurt Pigs; Can They Hurt You Too?

While it is often denied that mycotoxins have a widespread impact on the health of humans, farmers know better; mycotoxins remain a serious concern to farmers who cultivate both crops and livestock. Farmers know that mycotoxins can seriously affect the health of their animals, and it is in their best interest to know how to mitigate these risks.

In 2018, an article came out detailing some of the problems that mycotoxins can cause in pigs and some of the things that can be done to mitigate their harmful effects. (1) This article was revealing in a few aspects.

First, it was noted that 100% of the feed sampled contained varieties of trichothecenes mycotoxins, primarily deoxynivalenol. These and other mycotoxins found in pig feed are known to cause digestive problems, legions in the gastrointestinal tract, lowered immunity, damage to fetuses, reproductive problems, problems with sexual development and low sperm count in male pigs. Furthermore, it is noted that the presence of more than one mycotoxin can compound many negative health effects.

A few solutions are offered, including a rigorous sampling of feed, and adding a substance that can bind to these poisons, rendering them harmless.

What Does This Have To Do With Humans?

While this article discusses pigs, there are some important parallels that can be drawn. First, it is known that mycotoxins are not just present in the feed we give to pigs and other animals; they are often present in the food that winds up on your plate, too. This has been known for many years; some research suggests that as much as 100% of corn is contaminated with mycotoxins. Knowing this, consider how many products contain corn or ingredients derived from corn (corn syrup, corn starch, etc.). This is when you begin to see the widespread potential impact these poisons may have on people.

Further evidence of this may be in the widespread prevalence of numerous health problems; how many people suffer from digestive problems, or infertility, problems with their immune system? These, after all, are all possible side effects of mycotoxin exposure in pigs, yet how many of these problems in people are considered of unknown etiology? How different is a pig’s anatomy and physiology from a human? Don’t we often use pigs to study the effects of medicines before we use them in people? Ultimately, if mycotoxins can cause problems in pigs, it would make sense that they could cause problems in people, too.

What Is The Solution For Us? 

Unlike a pig, we can change our diet to mitigate the risk of exposure to mycotoxins. One of the best things to do is remove foods that may be contaminated with mycotoxins, such as corn, grains, sugar, peanuts, and soy.

There are other foods that can act as “binders” like those suggested to protect pigs; these include chlorophyll-rich greens and foods high in fiber. Supplements like activated charcoal and psyllium hulls may also be beneficial to this end.

Ultimately, it is simply in the best interest of your health to be proactive in protecting against mycotoxins.


(1) “Impact of Mycotoxin Contamination in Swine.” AllAboutFeed, 5 Mar. 2018,

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