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The effect of dietary calcium intake of ewes in pregnancy on their calcium and phosphorus metabolism in lactation



The effect of dietary calcium intake of ewes in pregnancy on their calcium and phosphorus metabolism in lactation



British Journal of Nutrition 39(1): 213-218



A combination of a mineral balance and a radioactive technique was used to study the effect of the dietary Ca intake of ewes in pregnancy on their Ca and P metabolism in lactation. Ewes which had received a Ca-deficient diet in pregnancy absorbed Ca at a greater rate and with a greater efficiency in early lactation than did the control animals, which had received an adequate Ca intake in pregnancy. The apparent absorption of P was also higher in the Ca-deficient sheep. Since both groups of sheep received the same high Ca intake in lactation, the increased rate of absorption of Ca must have resulted from an increased rate of active transport rather than an increased rate of diffusion. Retention of both Ca and P was positive in the Ca-deficient ewes but negative in the control ewes. This difference in retention reflected a difference in bone metabolism. The maximum rate of absorption possible, which is equal to the rate of irreversible loss of Ca from the rapidly exchangeable pool, was much greater in the Ca-deficient lactating ewes than was previously found in Ca-deficient wethers. This difference is due to the additional pathway of loss of Ca in the milk of the lactating animals. The relationship between these findings and the prevention of milk fever in dairy cows by manipulation of the dietary Ca intake is discussed.

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Accession: 006641751

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