Effect of dietary energy source on energy balance, production, metabolic disorders and reproduction in lactating dairy cattle

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The pathway for oxidation of energy involves a balanced oxidation of C2 and C3 compounds. During early lactation in dairy cattle this C2/C3 ratio is out of balance, due to a high availability of lipogenic (C2) products and a low availability of glycogenic (C3) products relative of the C2 and C3 products required for milk production. This review compares studies which manipulated dietary energy source and shows that dietary energy source can affect the balance of the C2/C3 ratio, as indicated by plasma NEFA, Betta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) and glucose levels. It is shown that glycogenic nutrients increase glucose and insulin concentrations and decrease NEFA and BHBA plasma levels. Extra lipogenic nutrients elevate NEFA and BHBA and decrease plasma glucose concentrations. Lipogenic nutrients generally increase milk fat percentage and decrease milk protein percentage, suggesting a surplus of C2 compounds. The inverse is the case for feeding extra glycogenic nutrients, implying reduced deamination and oxidation of glycogenic amino acids. Feeding extra glycogenic nutrients improved the energy balance (EB), in contrast to ambiguous results of lipogenic nutrients on EB. Moreover, glycogenic feed may reduce the severity of ketosis and fatty liver, but increased the incidence of (sub)clinical acidosis. Since studies are scarce, it seems difficult to draw conclusions on the effects of dietary energy source on reproduction. However, lipogenic nutrients decrease glucose and increase NEFA and BHBA plasma levels. High plasma NEFA and BHBA and low plasma glucose levels are associated with decreased reproductive performance, which might imply the C2/C3 compound balance to be important for reproductive function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-688
JournalReproduction Nutrition Development
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • growth-factor-i
  • ovarian-follicle development
  • feeding calcium soaps
  • chain fatty-acids
  • recombinant bovine somatotropin
  • early postpartum period
  • rumen-inert fat
  • milk-production
  • body condition
  • holstein cows


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