Virbac Australia

Health Care

Score 4 (1 Votes)

Vitamins AND minerals for livestock – not vitamins OR minerals

Quite often, nutrition experts are presented with the question, “What’s better? Vitamin or mineral injections?”

Answering this question is a little like answering “What’s better on my roast lamb? Mint or rosemary?” There is no one thing better than the other, but it is actually the combination of both that makes the best dish. The same is true for vitamins and minerals.

What is the difference between vitamins and minerals?

“Vitamins and minerals are completely different,” said Dr Jerry Liu, comparative nutritionist and product manager for Virbac. “In some shape or form, all vitamins and minerals are required by animals for life and production.”

“Ruminants have the ability to synthesise certain vitamins, but even then, others like vitamins A and and E must be obtained through feed or supplements. Minerals can’t be synthesised at all. So they need to be obtained entirely through feed or even an injection.”

The vitamins versus minerals question is becoming increasingly commonly asked by farmers in recent years, particularly since Multimin has grown in popularity. “I often get asked by farmers whether Multimin is similar to ADE”, stated Dr Liu. “Other than both being injectables, the products have absolutely nothing in common. Multimin is a multi-mineral injection, while ADE is an injectable multi-vitamin supplement. The nutrients in both products are needed by the animals, but they have completely different functions within the body.”

Dr Liu’s statements make a lot of sense when you look at the functions of different vitamins and minerals. For example, the trace mineral zinc (present in Multimin) is needed for the body to produce around 100 different enzymes, which are responsible for things like sperm production and maintaining the uterus for embryo implantation. Vitamin A (present in ADE injections) is needed to form components of the eye needed for vision. Simply put, the function of a mineral cannot be replaced by a vitamin, with the exception of cobalt by vitamin B12.

“Nutritional science is always evolving”, added Dr Liu. “I’ve seen it countless times in both human and animal nutrition. It is easy to get confused and even experts are always learning. Fantastic concepts and technologies are constantly being introduced, but they are not always the easiest to understand.”

Multimin is an effective trace mineral ‘top up’

One such innovation is Multimin, a highly bioavailable mineral injection which introduced the “top up” concept. Unlike oral supplements, which are excellent for day to day use, Multimin is used to top up the animal’s mineral levels 30 days before a critical event, like joining, weaning, and calving, when demands increase.

“Cattle are pretty good with some minerals like phosphorus. They know when they are deficient, so they will seek out this mineral. But most of the time, it is difficult for them to optimise their own mineral levels. Even I don’t know how much of something to eat just by the way I feel. It’s unreasonable to expect the same from livestock,” explained Dr Liu. He continued, “Plus, antagonism makes it very hard for them to absorb enough when demands are high.” Antagonism is a process when essential minerals are bound to other components in the feed (e.g. calcium and iron), which will result in the mineral being unavailable to the animal. Injecting a product like Multimin will prevent antagonism and ensure that each animal is getting the required dose when it is needed most.

MULTIMIN® INJECTION FOR CATTLE contains copper, zinc, selenium, and manganese in a chelated form. It provides a rapidly absorbed source of trace minerals that can be strategically used to help increase health, immunity, fertility, and productivity.

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