Nutritional Articles

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Temporal folate status during lactation in mares and growth in foals

Published: 2006-02-20

Brief content of the article
The objective of this study was to identify changes in folate status ( a B vitamin) of mares and foals during lactation and growth, respectively. For this study 20 pregnant mares, and following foaling the same mares with their foals, were maintained on mixed grass-legume pasture and fed either a traditional dietary supplement rich in sugar and starch (SS) or a dietary supplement high in fat and fiber (FF). The results showed that mare plasma folate concentrations declined moderately during 6 months of lactation. Mare red blood cell (RBC) folate concentrations initially increased after foaling up to 3 months but declined toward the end of the study. Plasma homocysteine (HCY) concentration was higher for mares fed the SS supplement, compared with mares fed the FF supplement from foaling to 6 months of lactation. Milk folate concentrations decreased during the first 3 months and then increased. Foal plasma folate initially declined but then increased. Stable concentrations of RBC folate were observed in foals. Plasma HCY concentrations in foals were unaffected by growth during the last 5 months. The authors determined references range values for plasma folate, RBC folate, milk folate, and plasma HCY concentrations in healthy lactational mares and young growing foals. The authors concluded that folate status was not impaired in lactating mares and growing foals under the conditions in their study.
Keywords: Folate; vitamins; gestation; lactation; fibre; fat.

Ordakowski-Burk, A.L., Kronfeld, D.S. Williams, C.A., Gay, L.S. and Sklan, D.J. 2005. Temporal folate status during lactation in mares and growth in foals. AJVR 66: 1214-1221.

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