• Relevance of vitamin E in animal nutrition
    Vitamin E is a key micronutrient that enhances animal production, health and welfare and quality of foods of animal origin (e.g. reduction of lipid oxidation). With a growing world population, the demand for animal protein is continuously rising. The importance of production enhancement and thus vitamin E is becoming vital.
  • What is vitamin E
    Vitamin E is the generic term for a group of tocol and tocotrienol derivatives, among which α-tocopherol qualitatively exhibits the highest biological activity. Vitamin E cannot be synthesized by animals and thus must be ingested via their diet. The commercial form of vitamin E for animal feed supplementation is all-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate, an ester which protects the sensitive active α-tocopherol moiety against oxidation.
  • What vitamin E does
    Vitamin E is an essential nutrient, playing a crucial role within the cellular defense system against lipid peroxidation. Alpha-tocopherol molecules are located between the highly unsaturated phospholipid molecules as an integral part of the cellular membranes. In essence vitamin E protects cellular membranes from being attacked by lipid peroxyl radicals. However the physiological importance of vitamin E is much broader: it is required for normal growth and reproduction; it helps to maintain the structural integrity of all tissues, it supports the development of the nervous system and substantially contributes to optimum health and disease resistance of farm animals due to its modulating effects on the immune system. In dairy cows vitamin E plays an important role in enhancing the nutritional value and the organoleptic properties of meat and eggs.
  • Vitamin E deficiency symptoms and its implications
    Insufficient supply with vitamins can lead to disorders. While nowadays a truly deficient vitamin supply for farm animals is only rarely observed in agricultural practice, suboptimal vitamin supply or partial undersupply occurs more frequently.
    The majority of symptoms of vitamin E deficiency is related to disorders of the cellular membrane, due to the oxidative degradation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Vitamin E deficiency generally causes liver necrosis and is the reason for several species-specific disorders such as exudative diathesis (abnormal permeability of the capillary walls) and encephalomalacia (“crazy chick syndrome”) in poultry, Mulberry heart disease, which results in sudden heart failure of pigs and muscular dystrophy ('white muscle disease'), particularly in ruminants.
    Sub-clinical vitamin E deficiency is hardly detectable but will result in retarded growth and impaired feed conversion as well as diminished fertility, higher susceptibility to infectious diseases, reduced stress resistance and impaired welfare of farm animals.

  • Applications of vitamin E in animal nutrition
    The demand for vitamins is one of the most stable regarding feed additives, since it is a critical nutrient for livestock and poultry production, not replaceable by co- and by-products and is used in micro quantities per ton of feed. Ideal vitamin E livestock diet fortification has to meet the physiological requirement of animals and should consider special needs as well. For example vitamin E requirements may increase under conditions of heat stress: in layers, subjected to high ambient temperatures, the basic vitamin E requirement was found to be higher.
    Moreover the beneficial effects of including high levels of α-tocopherol acetate in feed on the oxidative stability and sensory quality of meat have been extensively researched in poultry, pork and beef meat.
    Optimal vitamin E nutrition can make a significant contribution towards safeguarding animal health, productivity and product quality and therefore profitability of animal production.
    Competitive meat, milk and egg production requires constant adjustment in inputs, especially if output are constantly changing.
  • Solutions by the industry
    The composition of nutrients has changed over the years. Vitamin food fortification has become essential to animal production Qualified vitamin manufacturers have capabilities to produce high quality vitamins that are pure, reliable and stable. Synthetic vitamin E possesses standardized high purity, without contaminants (e.g. pesticides) and is GMO-free. As an essential feed additive, it is easy to add to premixes, base mixes, and complete feed for swine, poultry, cattle, and dairy cows. It is also used in a variety of pet care products, including top dog and cat food brands.