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Interpretive Summary: Evaluation of oxidized beta-carotene on sow and piglet immune systems, sow reproductive performance, and piglet growth

By: Sarah K Elefson, Jason W Ross, Christopher J Rademacher, Laura L Greiner

Beta-carotene is a known antioxidant found in most red and orange-pigmented vegetables and has been documented to have health benefits. However, beta-carotene has been reported to gain oxygen molecules spontaneously, thus oxidizing it. Oxidized beta-carotene has been recognized to provide potential health benefits to animals, although its functions are independent of beta-carotene. Sows in this study were supplemented with an oxidized beta-carotene product to evaluate whether the product could improve reproductive performance, including the number of piglets born alive, piglet birth weight, weaning weight, sow milk quality, and immune function of both the sow and piglets. There were no significant findings between the reproductive performance or difference in colostrum and milk composition of the control sows and the sows supplemented with the product. There was also no difference in piglet growth between the two groups. The product did not affect the measured immune functions of the piglets. However, immunoglobulin G tended to decrease with the use of the product, and there was a decrease in immunoglobulin M. Overall, supplementing the oxidized beta-carotene product did not affect the reproductive performance of sows or the growth performance of piglets.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.