One Health: the Connection between Human and Animal Health for a Healthier World

Human health does not just depend on us; it is deeply linked to the environment and all living beings that share our ecosystem, from microorganisms to large animals. To live in harmony, we must maintain a state of balance.


It is in this context that the “One Health” approach emerges. It is an integrated and unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. After all, we are all interconnected. We seek to maintain and improve human, animal, and environmental health.


The World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) illustrates the importance of this interdisciplinary approach through impressive data. Human actions have severely altered 75% of terrestrial and 66% of marine environments. Furthermore, 60% of pathogens that cause human diseases originate from domestic animals or wildlife, and 75% of emerging human infectious diseases have an animal origin.


There is growing evidence that climate change, unsustainable agricultural practices, globalization, and wildlife trade increase the risk of disease transmission between animals and humans and cause environmental imbalance. In this context, understanding our interdependence is essential, as illustrated below.



How One Health contributes to human health and nutrition


Food production, preparation, and consumption are deeply linked to human health and the planet’s well-being. The global population growth impacts the food supply, which is still largely dependent on livestock.


A meal may contain ingredients from different geographic origins and production practices. For instance, farmers worldwide need to rear animals at high densities, resulting in environmental imbalances and increasing the risk of animal disease outbreaks. According to World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) data, more than 20% of global animal production losses are due to animal diseases.


Therefore, it is essential to understand that the ecosystem and biodiversity health are critical to ensuring sustainable and healthy food production for the global population. It includes vaccination, adequate management practices, quality nutrition, environment, and suitable genetics to maintain livestock health and ensure their food products are safe for human consumption.


An example of the interconnection between nature, animals, and humans is disease prevention by applying responsible animal management practices, vaccinating, monitoring animal gut and immune health, and supplying adequate and quality nutrition to reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases and protect human health.


After all, zoonoses and foodborne diseases have significant economic impacts, as they affect animal productivity, health systems, and life quality. Therefore, investing in more sustainable and safe food production practices is essential to promote people’s health and well-being.


The importance of One Health for pet and human health


Humans and pets share the same space, so their health may be equally affected. Therefore, it is essential to take care of hygiene, minimize exposure to allergens, and keep pets’ vaccinations up to date.


After all, pets can host parasites, such as fleas and ticks. Effectively controlling these parasites is vital for the health of pets and the people who live with them.


Vaccination is an effective way to protect pets’ health and helps prevent diseases that can affect humans.


Adequate nutrition improves pet health by strengthening their immune system and preventing nutrition-related diseases. Therefore, it contributes to the prevention of zoonotic diseases.


Human-pet relationships significantly improve the mental health of both humans and pets. The bond between guardians and pets alleviates stress, anxiety, and loneliness, promoting general well-being.


According to a survey by The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI – 2021), 87% of pet owners in the US said they experienced mental health improvements after adopting a pet, and more than one in five owners have had a pet recommended for their health by a doctor or therapist.


The One Health concept encourages research and innovation in animal nutrition, seeking to develop safer, healthier, and more sustainable pet foods.


Biorigin, understanding this need, has offered natural ingredients for 20 years to meet the demands of the pet food market, providing solutions that aid in improving gut health and immunity. Moreover, Biorigin’s yeast extracts increase pet food palatability. To learn more, read our article on palatability.


Enhance the health of your farm animals with Biorigin


The One Health concept promotes sustainable production practices and adequate animal handling, which influence the nutritional quality of the food available to humans.


Livestock should be free from pathogens and contaminants to ensure food safety and production profitability. It requires maintaining and overseeing animal rearing and feeding facilities, using appropriate preventative treatments, and ensuring the safety of workers exposed to chemicals and pathogens.


Another risk factor that has become important in recent decades is the growing antibiotic resistance, driving changes in animal production practices and regulations in several countries, as it is perceived as a global health threat.


An example is fish reared in cages at sea that share the same environment with different microorganisms, including viruses and bacteria. Some are beneficial, consisting of the non-pathogenic microflora, while others are pathogenic. Gut microbiota imbalance causes disease, resulting in apathy, loss of appetite, stunted growth, and mortality, as the fish immune system actively responds to fight invading pathogens.


Feeding beta-glucans, immunomodulating compounds, is an effective natural approach to strengthening fish defenses. Biorigin’s MacroGard (minimum concentration of 60% purified beta-glucans) has been widely studied and proven effective in approximately one hundred studies. Those studies have shown that MacroGard significantly increases the survival of fish vaccinated against pathogens.


Naraid Suanyuk and Akkarawit Itsaro (2011) observed that the survival rate of tilapia vaccinated against Streptococcus iniae and fed MacroGard was 4.7 times higher compared with the control group and 29% higher compared to the group that received the vaccine alone.


Roberti Filho et al. (2019) evaluated the effects of MacroGard and vaccination of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) challenged with M. viscosa. The results demonstrated that the vaccinated and MacroGard-fed fish had a 90.7% survival rate, which was 26.5% higher than those only vaccinated. To read the complete study, click here.


MacroGard also aids wound healing and alleviates the effects of stress caused by fish handling and transport. For more information on how MacroGard can improve the natural defenses of your fish, visit our website.


Biorigin


The One Health approach encompasses human, animal, and environmental health, and it is particularly relevant when addressing food safety, nutrition, zoonosis control, and pollution issues. It aims to prevent, detect, contain, eliminate, and respond to public health threats involving agents and events that affect both humans and animals, climate change, and deforestation. Therefore, companies and consumers should actively engage in this movement, involving the origin of the raw materials used to produce the food ingredients in each meal.


Biorigin is committed to the health and well-being of people and animals. For over 20 years, we have developed and produced natural ingredients focusing on human and animal nutrition and health.


Biorigin is also committed to respecting the environment by taking sustainable actions. Our production process uses renewable resources, such as molasses, the primary raw material for yeast production derived from sugar production, and our electrical energy is obtained from sugarcane bagasse produced by Zilor.


To reaffirm our commitment to transparency and social-environmental responsibility, we published our Annual Sustainability Report, highlighting the main results of the 2022/2023 harvest year. It includes business, environmental, social, and governance aspects, such as climate change and innovation. To read Report highlights, click here.