L-carnitine supplementation descreases hepatic triglyceride accumulation in Holstein cows during the transition period


  • Rubén D. Galvis National University of Colombia
  • Liset V. Madrid National University of Colombia
  • Nicolás Ramírez-Vásquez University of Antioquia




dairy cows, lipid metabolism, L-carnitine, lipidosis, lipotropic factors, metabolic disorders, peripartum


Background: The increased use of body reserves observed during peripartum leads to higher needs of L-carnitine by cows, which is restrictive under the production conditions of Colombian high tropics. Objective: To evaluate the lipotropic potential of L-carnitine in Holstein dairy cows during the transition period to lactation. Methods: Twenty-one Holstein cows were fed 0, 100, or 200 g/d L-carnitine fumarate from d 260 of gestation to d 20 postpartum. Hepatic triacylglycerides concentration, total carnitine, free carnitine, acylcarnitine, and serum levels of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB) and urea were determined by spectrophotometry. Repeated measures analysis was used to determine the effects of dose, measurement period, and their interactions. Results: Hepatic triglycerides and the different forms of carnitine showed no difference between sampling periods (p>0.05). Hepatic triglycerides concentration was low and decreased in response to 200 g/d L-carnitine fumarate supplementation (p<0.05). This decrease in hepatic triglycerides could be due to increased fatty acid oxidation. L-carnitine supplementation significantly increased (p<0.05) blood urea concentration, possibly through stimulation of the urea cycle, as previously described in other species. Conclusion: Supplementation with L-carnitine decreased the hepatic concentration of triglycerides, possibly due to increased liver oxidation of fatty acids.

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Author Biographies

Rubén D. Galvis, National University of Colombia

Research Group on Nutritional, Metabolic and Reproductive Interactions in Bovines, Department of Animal Production, National University of Colombia, Medellín.

Liset V. Madrid, National University of Colombia

Research Group on Nutritional, Metabolic and Reproductive Interactions in Bovines, Department of Animal Production, National University of Colombia, Medellín.

Nicolás Ramírez-Vásquez, University of Antioquia

Research Line in Bovine Medicine, Centauro Research Group, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agrarian Sciences, University of Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.


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How to Cite

Galvis, R. D., Madrid, L. V., & Ramírez-Vásquez, N. (2019). L-carnitine supplementation descreases hepatic triglyceride accumulation in Holstein cows during the transition period. Revista Colombiana De Ciencias Pecuarias, 32(3), 166–174. https://doi.org/10.17533/udea.rccp.v32n3a01



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