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Manage Vitamin Costs Through Preservation

Supplementing vitamins in the right amounts at the right time is critical for balanced animal nutrition. But balancing an animal’s nutritional needs and a diet’s formulation cost can become a nutritionist’s nightmare when vitamin availability is compromised, or prices are unusually high. 

When faced with these challenges, producers may consider reducing vitamin safety margins as a cost control measure. However, while this practice may save on upfront feed costs, the health and performance of livestock and poultry may be at stake. Research indicates that animals – even when fed minimum recommended vitamin levels – can experience subacute vitamin deficiency when experiencing stress or disease.1 So, rather than reformulate, producers should consider how they can best preserve their vitamins in premixes and in feed. 

Managing Vitamin Degradation in Premixes

Premixes often contain “reactive” ingredients – choline chloride and/or inorganic trace minerals – which can have an aggressive effect on vitamin susceptibility to destruction.2,3  Specifically, trace minerals – Fe, Cu, Zn, etc. – in a premix can participate in chemical reactions leading to formation of toxic molecules like free radicals and peroxides. Exposure to these toxic molecules increases vitamin susceptibility to oxidation – a key driver of vitamin loss in premixes as well as in feed.

To prevent or slow vitamin degradation, producers can choose to use more stable vitamin forms (i.e. esters, beadlets, spray-drying, etc.). However, even protected vitamins can become susceptible to destruction when stored under certain storage conditions, like high humidity (Figure 1). 

Stability of two Vitamin A sources in a concentrated premix depending on storage time and relative humidity

Figure 1. Stability of two Vitamin A sources in a concentrated premix depending on storage time and relative humidity (RH).4

The Addition of Antioxidants

An alternative option to improve vitamin retention in premixes is the use of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules added to fats, oils and feed ingredients to help reduce lipid and vitamin oxidation. Antioxidants work either by sacrificing themselves to quench free radicals before fatty acids and vitamins can be attacked (primary antioxidants) or by chelating pro-oxidant metal ions – Fe, Cu, Zn, etc. – and acting as oxygen scavengers (secondary antioxidants).5

When using an antioxidant, it’s important to remember that it cannot reverse oxidation that has already occurred. For the best vitamin protection, choosing the right antioxidant is critical for success.

Preserving Vitamins with Antioxidant Systems

Because the oxidation process is a complex series of chemical reactions, an antioxidant needs to contain ingredients to help slow or prevent different stages of the chemical reaction chain. Traditional single dry antioxidants only concentrate on the free radicals, and do not include oxygen scavengers or metal chelators. In contrast, an antioxidant system – like ENDOX® – which includes a blend of oxygen and free radical scavenging antioxidants and metal chelators should be used.

Table 1. Vitamin A loss in a premix as effected by use of antioxidant.6

Time (Days)












A study was conducted to compare the efficacy of ENDOX and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), each applied at 125 ppm, at retaining Vitamin A in a vitamin/mineral premix over three months.

The results (Table 1) showed that over 90 days ENDOX retained 30% and 20% more Vitamin A as compared to the untreated and BHT treated vitamin/mineral premix, respectively.


The best way to protect your vitamins from negative oxidation effects in a premix is to use an antioxidant system. ENDOX contains a combination of an inert carrier, coated with a synergistic blend of synthetic antioxidants, metal chelators and surfactants designed specifically to protect vitamins from degradation in premixes and in feed.


Active Ingredients

Standard Inclusion Rate
(per ton of finished feed)



EQ, BHA, BHT and citric acid

0.25 lb/ton

Complete Feeds

ENDOX® 5X Concentrate

EQ, BHA and citric acid

27 g/ton

Vitamin/Mineral Premix

For more information on how ENDOX can help safe-guard vitamins against degradation, thereby helping you manage vitamin costs, visit Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health at



1 Accessed on March 10, 2020.
2Yang, P., et al. 2019. Effects of Choline Chloride, Copper Sulfate and Zinc Oxide on Long-Term Stabilization of Microencapsulated Vitamins in Premixes for Weanling Piglets. Animals, 9:1154-1176.
3Shurson, G. et al. 2011. Effect of metal specific amino acid complexes and inorganic trace minerals on vitamin stability in premixes. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 163:200-206.
4 Accessed on March 4, 2020.
5Kerr, B., et. al. 2015. Characteristics of lipids and their feeding value in swine diets. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 6:30.
6Improve Vitamin A retention within a vitamin mineral premix, BB-03-00318.

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