It has been observed in several studies that a post-ruminal supplementation of choline improves milk production and helps the liver function. Increasing the intestinal supply of choline improves milk production in lactating dairy cows approximately 7% over controls.
Table 1: The effect of 50 g/day choline chloride (CC) supplements on dairy cows (Erdman, 1985)
One of the primary roles of choline is the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, an essential component of cell membranes. In addition, this phosphatidylcholine is required for the synthesis and secretion of molecules known as very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) in the liver. VLDL are important molecules necessary to avoid fat accumulation in the liver. Therefore choline status is a key factor in alleviating the severity and incidence of fatty liver and may have some application in the transition dairy cow.
When should rumen-protected choline be fed?
During the transition period, dairy cows are under stress due to the negative energy balance. As a result, body fats are mobilized to supply enough energy to the body. The body fats need to be transformed into VLDL in the liver in order to be used as an energy source by the different body tissues.
Due to the role of choline in VLDL secretion (see previous question) the recommended period for rumen-protected choline application is during the transition period, 3 weeks before and up to 3 months after calving.
CholiPEARL is recommended before and after calving at a rate of 50-100 g/cow/day respectively.
Are all rumen-protected sources of choline the same?
The most commonly used choline products in ruminant diets are unprotected forms. Non-protected choline is degraded in the rumen up to 98% (Sharma and Erdman, 1989.). This approach only adds cost to the supplement due to the high rumen-degradation rate of unprotected choline.
Most of the rumen-protected choline sources use a fat coating protection. The key differentiation point among the products is the technology used in the process. The most common technique is spray cooling. This technology relies on ambient temperatures to cool down the fat during the spraying process. This adds a lot of variability to the final product and inconsistent results can be expected.
Only CholiPEARL uses the spray freezing technology with unique handling and releasing characteristics. Thanks to this technology, each step of the production process is controlled allowing us to optimize the production, delivering a rumen-protected product with optimum rumen protection and high bioavailability.