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

  1. It is responsible of Ca and P absorption in the small intestine,
  2. It mobilizes calcium from the bones,
  3. It regulates calcification of bones and of the eggshell in laying hens,
  4. It regulates the development of immune cells.

Benefits of Vitamin D3 in animals

  1. It increases the bones quality,
  2. It increases growth,
  3. It increases egg production and quality,
  4. Improves meat quality,
  5. 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

  1. Rickets and bone mineralization deficiency,
  2. Bones weakness,
  3. Growth depression and low feed conversion rate,
  4. Decrease of egg production,
  5. Lameness.