DSM talks vitamin D and boosting post-weaning productivity

Looking back at World Pork Expo 2018 – The Pig Site discusses exciting innovations in swine nutrition with Dr Jon Bergstrom
calendar icon 25 June 2018
clock icon 4 minute read

What is unique about Hy-D?

In modern swine production, pigs are primarily raised indoors, away from natural sources of vitamin D. Additionally, pigs are often weaned as early as 20 to 24 days of age. Because the sow’s milk is not a sufficient source of vitamin D, it’s critical that weaned pigs are supplemented with vitamin D.

Hy-D is the trade name for the product which is providing 25 hydroxy vitamin D3, which is the form of the vitamin that we, and pigs, store in a way that's readily available when it's needed by our bodies for certain processes.

Most commonly, vitamin D is recognised for being essential for bone growth and development, and calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Why it’s unique to provide this in a form that we already store it in is because traditionally we provided vitamin supplementation in the form of vitamin D3 and that has to go through a conversion step in the liver in order to be in the form that we’re going to be providing directly, that the body naturally stores for when it needs vitamin D to carry out certain processes.

Bottom line, what does this mean for producers?

This is a very exciting procedure because, in 100 years of having vitamins, this is the first new product formed in quite some time. What’s also exciting is that we can very quickly improve the status of an animal feeding on this form of the vitamin.

In some cases, many animals don't receive sufficient vitamin D from the sun as they are reared indoors, therefore we have to supplement the feed in order to attain desired levels of vitamin D. Our research has demonstrated that this particular form of the vitamin does a better job of improving the vitamin D status of the animal.

The best tool we have for determining the status of an animal is serum or plasma levels and this product very clearly improves the status of that when this is utilised in the diet. We know that increased levels of vitamin D in plasma and serum are associated with reduced risk for diseases like Ricketts or osteomalacia. We do have data showing a reduction in osteoporosis in pig herds, even in pigs at 110 kg, with the use of this form of vitamin D as opposed to the traditional vitamin D3 that previous produces have been supplementing for a long time.

So is this product available in the US only?

Only recently it's become available in the US for swine; it's been used for a number of years already in poultry and in swine in Europe and other parts of the world before we had the ability to use it here in the US. So it's already used quite extensively in other regions of the world.

As reported by The Pig Site

For more information on Hy-D and other DSM news, click here

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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