Omega-3 Fatty Acids Influence Bone Strength, Says Optivite

UK - The health-promoting benefits of omega-3 fatty acid consumption are widely documented, according to Optivite. Numerous studies in broilers report positive impacts on animal growth performance, reproduction, immunoglobulin concentrations, tissue/milk enrichment, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
calendar icon 28 August 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

Optivite, one of Britain’s foremost animal nutrition companies, provides an easy to use concentrated omega-3 fatty acid supplement called Optomega – 50/100 which is available in both powdered and liquid form.

Among the many benefits for including omega-3 fatty acids in feeds is that fatty acid metabolism regulates prostaglandin biosynthesis. Prostaglandins (PG) are important regulatory factors derived transiently from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that influence many metabolic pathways, including bone formation and development. Research indicates that PG derived from omega-6 fatty acids display some inhibitory effects on bone development, while PG derived from omega-3 fatty acids display beneficial effects, stimulating osteoblast function and bone formation.

Broiler diets, especially starter diets are usually rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Thus, shifting to a much greater omega-3 / omega-6 balance will most likely benefit bone development in young birds by increasing bone strength and stiffness in addition to size and weight. This is of great relevance to processors as any reduction in bone fracture incidence has huge welfare benefits.

A series of experiments examined the influence of substituting maize oil with increasing amounts of salmon oil on bone structure in young broilers. Salmon oil is a rich source of EPA and DHA, the most biologically active omega-3, and the results demonstrated clear improvements in bone characteristics.

In conclusion, farmers need to ensure their animals achieve optimal performance. And, while there are a number of factors that regulate bone strength and development in poultry, it is clear that dietary provision of omega-3 fatty acids is a clear and effective measure to alleviate potential bone related problems.

Charlotte Johnson

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