Vitamin E in Calf Milk Replacers

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The “fertility vitamin” plays a role in disease prevention


Vitamin E is able to influence the immune status of an individual.

Immunity is the acquired condition of protection of an organism against specific causes of disease and is characterized by the presence of specific antibodies, in particular the immunoglobulins, and protection from defined infections.  The immunoglobulins are a special group of proteins having antibody activity and occurring in both blood plasma and in other secretions and body fluids.

For the development of immunity the organism has an immune system which is distributed throughout it and in which the lymphocytes occupy a central position in the immune response.  The lymphocytes primarily responsible for antibody synthesis are those which are formed in the thymus (T lymphocytes) and occupy the secondary lymph organs (B lymphocytes).  Work by numerous researchers with elevated levels of vitamin E has shown a stimulating effect on antibody formation (levels in excess of requirements established to prevent signs of clinical deficiency).  Research in most species of animals indicates that vitamins E and C function as in vivo antioxidants.  These vitamins play an important role in allowing good health by preventing disease due to reduced immune funtion.

To supply these needs, manufacturers of milk replacers have for many years supplemented products with levels of vitamin E adequate to meet published requirements.  Two recent research trials indicate both health and growth benefits by providing higher levels of supplemental vitamin E in the daily milk replacer fed to calves.

TRIAL 1 – Evaluation of vitamin E levels in milk replacer fed calves

 

Daily Vitamin E

(IU per calf per day)

 

 

20 IU

100 IU

Number of calves

72

72

Ave. Daily Gain, lbs.

.99b

1.07a

Calf Wgt. Gain, lbs.

27.8b

30.0a

Calf Milk Replacer

  Consumption (lbs.)

 

47.0

 

47.3

Scour Score

1.26

1.23

Scour Days

6.1

5.5

 

TRIAL 2 – Evaluation of vitamin E levels in milk replacer fed calves

 

Daily Vitamin E

(IU per calf per day)

 

 

20 IU

100 IU

Number of calves

72

72

Ave. Daily Gain, lbs.

.87b

.98a

Calf Wgt. Gain, lbs.

24.3b

27.6a

Calf Milk Replacer

  Consumption (lbs.)

 

45.9

 

46.9

Scour Score

1.30a

1.23a

Scour Days

6.4

4.7

a,b  (P