Choline is essential for growth and health of all animals and humans. It is a biochemical building block, and precursor to numerous compounds necessary to support life.
In dairy cattle, choline is required to help the liver process and metabolize fat, especially during the critical transition period. A healthy and properly functioning liver can help cows transition more smoothly, creating a faster and more productive start to their lactation.
Every dairy cow is deficient in choline because dietary choline is degraded by rumen microorganisms and her body can not make enough to meet requirements. While a cow may consume choline in her diet, very little naturally escapes the rumen for absorption in the small intestine.
The Key to a Smooth Transition and Faster Start
ReaShure®Precision Release Choline is encapsulated using a state-of-the-art process to protect the choline from degradation in the rumen. Feeding ReaShure is a proven way to meet the transition dairy cow’s dietary choline requirements during the important transition period. By protecting choline from rumen degradation, it is available in the small intestine to support these critical processes.
Support Fat Metabolism – Cows experience hormonal changes and negative energy balance around calving time which causes fat to be mobilized from body stores. Choline is essential for effective fat transport out of the liver.
Support Milk Production and Milk Fat Synthesis – The cow’s liver uses choline to package the mobilized fat into very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) which are then transported to the mammary gland and is used as a fuel source for synthesizing milk and milk fat.
Reduce Metabolic Disorders – A healthy functioning liver supports improvements in clinical and subclinical transitionrelated disorders such as ketosis, metritis, displaced abomasums and mastitis, reducing treatment costs, death loss and involuntary culling.
Choline’s Critical Role
During transition, the cow’s body enters an intense period of change and adjustment – preparing to support milk production. Choline is a key nutrient for packaging and exporting fat from the liver – part of the normal biology of “all” transition cows.
1. At calving, hormonal changes trigger an intense period of fat mobilization from body stores to meet the increased energy demand for milk production.
2. Hormones stimulate the hydrolysis of triglycerides into glycerol and fatty acids, commonly referred to as NEFA.
3. Blood NEFA concentrations surge and fatty acid uptake by the liver may increase 10-15-fold.
4. The liver’s first priority is to oxidize NEFA completely to obtain energy for liver cell function.
5. NEFA that’s not utilized by liver cells for energy ideally would be converted to triglyceride and packaged with protein, cholesterol, cholesterol ester, and phosphatidylcholine to form very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). VLDL can be exported to other tissues in the body to provide energy for important metabolic functions such as lactation and precursors for the synthesis of milk fat.
6. Without adequate choline in the diet, the liver cannot package and export NEFA. This excess fat is then stored in the liver or converted to ketone bodies. This leads to ketosis, reduced feed intake, lower milk yield, excess ammonia in the bloodstream and reduced milk lactose production.
ReaShure®Precision Release Choline has been extensively tested for more than a decade. This means we have an impressive body of data – University data, on-farm data, composite summary data. No matter how you slice it, ReaShure helps get cows through the difficult transition period and off to a quick start – the key to a successful lactation.
Research from the University of California-Davis measured changes in health disorders when animals were fed ReaShure. The potential economic impact of those differences was calculated using disease costs presented in a 2009 paper by Charles Guard DVM, PhD.
For more ways to improve transition management, visit Transitioncow.net. You’ll find the summaries of the newest research, blog posts from transition nutrition and management experts and tools to help get your transition cows off to a smoother, faster start.