Fat soluble vitamins. A review of their levels in animal feed

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Introduction

Fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E y K), as well as other vitamins represent a group of essential micronutrients for animals because they act as enzyme precursors or coenzymes in various metabolic and immunologic processes. Therefore their presence is necessary for:

  • facilitating a correct metabolism.
  • eliciting an adequate immunological response.
  • mantaining a normal physiologic function.
  • and in summary promoting growth, health, and welfare in animals.

However when it comes to fat soluble vitamins there is a misconception that because they are stored in the liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle their addition to animal feed in sufficient quantities is not always critical.

The prevalence of fat soluble vitamins’ deficiencies in supply animals due to insufficient diets or malabsortion presents a problem for their growth and health. Affecting the quality and longevity of products derived from these animals also.

The disappearance of growth promoting antibiotics almost 16 years ago, as well as drug restrictions for animal use (i.e colistin few years ago and Zinc Oxide in the pig industry in a near future) added to the trend of greater vaccine use, has created  a scenario where supply animals depend much more on their immune competency to deal with the health challenges posed by intensive production models.

Although there is a great offer of zootechnical additives and analogous products proven to work as replacements for antibiotics used previously, the addition of a greater vitamin input in animal feed is indisputable considering they are a key part of the immune response.

On a side note the constant improvement in conversion indexes as a result of genetic selection generates greater vitamin demands in animal feed in order to fulfill such genetic potential.

The following article contains a review of some of the latest scientific publications on the effects caused by the supplementation of high levels of fat soluble vitamins in monogastric supply animals.

Vitamin A

This vitamin is well known for being involved in the modulation of the immune system, as well as having a role in preserving intestinal integrity, cell division,  bone development and vision related processes.

According to recent studies, Vitamin A levels of 1500 UI /kg of feed result in maximum yields for broiler chickens and layers.

Recently Savaris et al. (2021) set up a trial with Cobb chickens (500 ind.) fed during their entire production cycle (1-42 days) with varying levels of Vitamin A supplementation added to the base diet which had 8,000 UI/kg:




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