Dietary addition of curcumin favors weight gain and has antioxidant, antiinflammatory and anticoccidial action in dairy calves
Keywords:animal stress, antioxidants, calves, cattle growth, curcumin, Eimeria, parasitology, supplementation
Background: Curcumin has been used as an additive in the diet of animals in recent years due to the potent medicinal properties of this molecule. Objective: To evaluate whether the addition of curcumin to the diet of calves at different phases (pre- and post-weaning) has a positive effect on metabolic profile, performance, and anti-coccidian action. Methods: Thirtythree Holstein calves were selected at various phases of development: Experiment 1 (E1: n=10) 18±7 (pre-weaning), Experiment 2 (E2: n=11) 64±4 (pre-weaning) and Experiment 3 (E3: n=12) 95±8 (post-weaning) days of life. The calves were separated in three groups according to their phase of development. In each experiment, animals were divided into two sub-groups: control and curcumin. The curcumin groups received 200 mg of additive per animal/day either in milk (pre-weaning) or concentrate (post-weaning). Fecal collections were performed on days 0, 10 and 15 of the experiment to count Eimeria oocysts per gram of feces and to perform fecal score analysis. Complete blood counts, oxidant and antioxidant profiles, protein metabolism markers, lipid levels, glucose levels, and animal weights were measured. Analyses of digestibility and composition of the diet used in Experiment 3 (post-weaning) were also performed. Results: Independent of phase, animals that received curcumin had greater weight gain on days 0 to 15 (E1, E2 and E3 p=0.04, 0.001 and 0.001, respectively), probably due to the increased digestibility of hay and concentrate at 72h (p=0.03 and 0.02, respectively). The supplemented calves had lower level of oxidants (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances –TBARS- and reactive oxygen species –ROS-), indicating that free radical levels in serum and lipid peroxidation were lower. This was probably due to increased enzymatic antioxidants gluthatione S-transferase (E1, E2 and E3 p=0.001, 0.001 and 0.02, respectively), catalase (E1 p=0.001) and superoxide dismutase (E3 p=0.001) in treated animals at day 15. Furthermore, calves receiving curcumin had lower numeric number of Eimeria infection during the experimental period, and the difference was significant in day 15 (E1 and E2 p=0.02, and 0.001, respectively). Conclusion: Curcumin supplementation to dairy calves has coccidiostatic potential, favoring weight gain.
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