The importance of the oxidative status of dairy cattle in the periparturient period: Revisiting antioxidant supplementation

A. Abuelo, J. Hernández, J. L. Benedito, C. Castillo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Dairy cows are especially vulnerable to health disorders during the transition period, when they shift from late pregnancy to the onset of lactation. Diseases at this stage affect not only the animals' well-being, but also cause a major economic impact in dairy farms, because apart from treatment costs, affected cows will not reach their peak milk-producing capacity. The overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leads to oxidative stress, which has been identified as an underlying factor of dysfunctional inflammatory responses. Supplementation with vitamins and trace elements attempts to minimize the harmful consequences of excessive ROS production, thereby trying to improve animals' health status and to reduce disease incidence. However, results regarding the effects of supplementing antioxidants on dairy cows' health and performance have been inconsistent, because in most cases, the antioxidant potential of the animals was not assessed beforehand and the nutritional strategy planned accordingly. Therefore, reviewing the physiological and harmful effects of ROS production, along with the different options available for assessing the redox balance in dairy cattle and some of the key findings of different supplementation trials, could bring one step forward the on-farm application of determinations of oxidative status for establishing nutritional strategies early enough in the dry period that could improve transition cow health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1016
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Issue number6
Early online date04 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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