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Over- or under-prediction of some B vitamins

University of California researchers reviewed the information on vitamin B requirements and duodenal deliveries in lactating dairy cows and found over- or under-prediction of some B vitamins.

The paper: Vitamin B requirements and duodenal deliveries in lactating dairy cows: Organization of a limited literature, is published in the August edition of Livestock Science.

Supplementation with 30 ppm of organic zinc, improves the immune response of cattle and speeded up their recovery, compared to zinc sulphate. Photo: Anne van der Woude
Supplementation with 30 ppm of organic zinc, improves the immune response of cattle and speeded up their recovery, compared to zinc sulphate. Photo: Anne van der Woude

Creating a model

8 vitamins of the B vitamin (BV) complex (i.e., thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, folate, cobalamine) are vital to numerous facets of mammalian metabolism. However a lack of organised requirements and duodenal delivery predictions limits their ability to be used in formulating rations for dairy cows. The objective was to create a model to evaluate dairy cow diets for their predicted duodenal BV deliveries relative to predicted requirements. Requirements for each BV were calculated in a factorial fashion with the total requirement for each being the sum of its needs for maintenance (including gestation) and lactation. The amount of each BV exiting the forestomachs was also calculated factorially, with the total outflow of each BV being the sum of its outflow from the diet, from particle free rumen fluid and in rumen escape microbial biomass.

Potential oversupply of B vitamins

Initial model evaluation by the research team revealed over- or under-prediction of some BV sufficient to suggest that net forestomach disappearance and/or endogenous secretions not captured in the model were impacting correct prediction of duodenal flows of some duodenal BV. After correction of flows of some BV based upon relationships of net forestomach BV disappearance or appearance derived from relationships with milk true protein production, the final model suggested the sequence and extent of potential BV oversupply for a representative dairy cow was biotin (∼3300% of requirement), niacin (∼2200%), cobalamine (∼1500%), riboflavin (∼340%), pantothenic acid (∼220%), vitamin B6 (∼190%), thiamine (∼140%), and folate (∼105%).

Research on dairy cattle responses is suggested

Further evaluation of these predicted BV supplies using published studies, where available, of performance responses of lactating dairy cows to supplementation of individual BV suggested that only dietary supplementation of folate has consistently positively impacted performance of lactating dairy cows, although evaluations of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, thiamine and vitamin B6 were severely hampered by a lack of studies. Research on dairy cattle responses to supplemental BV, except biotin, cobalamin and niacin, is suggested, although it is recommended that all dietary BV levels, and an estimate of ruminal microbial outflow, be reported in such studies.

Source: Livestock Science