Continued Research Shows: It’s More than Just Calcium

Accredited Research:
The effects of an oral supplement containing calcium and live yeast on circulating calcium and production following i.v. lipopolysaccharide infusion in dairy cows.

E. A. Horst, E. J. Mayorga, M. Al-Qaisi, M. A. Abeyta, S. L. Portner, C. S. McCarthy, B. M. Goetz, H. A. Ramirez-Ramirez, L. H. Baumgard, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

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Summary
Immunoactivation results in a profound period of hypocalcemia.  Calcium (Ca) plays a multifaceted role in the complex of immune system biochemical reactions.  Thereby it could be assumed that limiting calcium during periods of heightened risk of immunoactivation, such as the prefresh period, could be detrimental to recovery.  The objective of this study was to determine if intravenous supplementation of calcium during periods of immune challenge would expedite cow recovery.  All cows were challenged with LPS but only treatment 2 (LPS-Ca) cows received a supplemental Ca IV.  Using an iStat Blood Analyzer, LPS-Ca cows blood Ca levels were maintained at a eucalcemic state with supplemental Ca IV.  Despite maintaining eucalcemia, Ca supplemented cows were found to have increased inflammatory biomarkers and significant reductions in production parameters.  Ultimately, supplementing with just Ca delayed recovery from an immune challenge and proved not beneficial for challenged cows.