Dietary Factors

Normal utilization of dietary calcium and phosphorus by animals requires adequate active vitamin D and an appropriate ratio of these two elements. Mineral interactions often result in a reduced absorption and retention of one mineral under the influence of another. High dietary calcium levels, in particular in the presence of high levels of phytate, reduce zinc bioavailability. Occasionally, interactions may be beneficial, as in the case of improvement of iron utilization by a small amount of copper supplementation. But, a large amount of copper supplementation can decrease iron bioavailability.1-5-1 Dietary fiber may affect mineral bioavailability due to its association with minerals in the feedstuff and/or binding of minerals to undigested fiber constituents in the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, dietary fiber may accelerate the rate of digesta passage through the gastrointestinal tract and thus reduce absorption of minerals. Ascorbic acid decreases copper absorption and utilization, but enhances absorption of iron in several species.[2] Adding citric acid and phytase to a corn soy diet for growing pigs improves their phytate-phosphorus utiliza-tion.[11] Feeding monensin has been shown to improve absorption of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium, but has inconsistent effect on absorption of calcium, potassium, and sodium.[2] Processing may affect both the total quantity of the mineral and its bioavailability. Grinding adds metals such as iron, copper, and zinc to the feed, and pelleting improves the availability of phosphorus in plant ingredients to chicks.

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