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Effects of vitamin C supplementation on performance, iron status and immune function of weaned piglets



Effects of vitamin C supplementation on performance, iron status and immune function of weaned piglets



Archives of Animal Nutrition 56(1): 33-40



Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of vitamin C supplementation on performance, iron status and immune function of pigs during the 21-day post-weaning period. In experiment one, 48 crossbred pigs (Chester White x Large White x Yorkshire), weaned at 30 days of age and weighing 7.7 +/- 0.9 kg, were allotted to diets containing either 0 or 300 mg/kg vitamin C. In experiment two, 96 crossbred pigs (Chester White x Large White x Yorkshire), weaned at 20 +/- 2 days and weighing 7.1 +/- 0.5 kg, were allotted to diets containing 0.75 or 300 mg/kg vitamin C. Six replicate pens were assigned to each treatment in experiment one while experiment two had eight replicates. All pens housed two barrows and two gilts. In both experiments, no improvement (P > 0.05) in growth rate, feed intake or feed conversion was observed as a result of vitamin C supplementation. Plasma iron concentration increased (P < 0.10) with increased vitamin C in the diet while free and total iron binding capacity were unaffected by treatment. There were no differences in the intradermal response to the mitogen phytohemaggutinin used as an indicator of cellular immunity (P > 0.05). In trial 2, the plasma levels of the immunoglobulin IgG showed a linear (P = 0.07) increase with increasing levels of vitamin C and the same trend was noted in trial 1. Antibody titers to bovine serum albumin also tended to increase in both trials but the increases were not statistically significant. In conclusion, the overall results of these experiments indicate that weanling pig performance is not improved as a result of vitamin C supplementation. Whether or not vitamin C plays a role in stimulating humoral immune function in pigs requires further study since the results of our experiments do not completely rule out the possibility that such a role exists.

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Accession: 003746650

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12389220

DOI: 10.1080/00039420214176


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