Vitamin D gathers a series of fat-soluble pro-hormones having an anti-rickets action. There are only two ways to take vitamin D, through exposition to solar radiation, and trough the diet, however in both cases vitamin D has to undergo two hydroxylation processes to be transformed into its biologically active form.
The two primary forms of Vitamin D are Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin d3). Vitamin D2 stems from a common plant steroid, whereas vitamin D3 stems from cholesterol and it is synthetized in animal organism only.
Vitamin D3 is hydroxylated in the liver into 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25-OHD3), which represents the circulating and storage form of vitamin in tissues. Finally, it reaches the kidneys where it is converted to an active form: Calcitriol 1,25 (OH)2D3.
Vitamin D3, biological function
- It is responsible of Ca and P absorption in the small intestine,
- It mobilizes calcium from the bones,
- It regulates calcification of bones and of the eggshell in laying hens,
- It regulates the development of immune cells.
Benefits of Vitamin D3 in animals
- It increases the bones quality,
- It increases growth,
- It increases egg production and quality,
- Improves meat quality,
- It improves the animal health and wellness.
Vitamin D3 is of vital importance in laying hens farming, especially in high-productivity ones close to peak periods. A possible Vitamin D3 deficiency, even for a short period of time, can lead to potentially serious problems for the animal.
Vitamin D3 deficiency consequences
- Rickets and bone mineralization deficiency,
- Bones weakness,
- Growth depression and low feed conversion rate,
- Decrease of egg production,