The Function and Deficiency Indicators for Important Minerals in Animal Nutrition
Minerals play important roles in physiological, structural and regulatory functions within the animal body. The term ‘essential mineral’ is used in reference to a mineral that has been proven to have a metabolic role in the animal body. The nutritionally important essential minerals are further divided into macro-minerals and trace-minerals. Macro-minerals are those that are present in larger amounts in the body or are required in larger amounts in the diet. Micro-minerals are often referred to as trace minerals and are present in low levels in the body or are required in smaller quantities in the diet.
Mineral nutrition is quite complex as the minerals interact with each other in the animal body. These interactions can result in mineral elements ‘tying up’ or making other mineral elements unavailable for essential body functions.
The following table shows the function and deficiency indicators for some of the minerals that are of concern in animal nutrition.
Skeletal growth Teeth formation Transmission of nerve impulses Muscle contraction Enzyme activation Controls heartbeat Blood clotting Hormone secretion
Osteomalacia Rickets Milk fever (hypocalcaemia) Reduced and depraved appetite Weight loss Growth retardation Reduced fertility Bone demineralisation (Big Head in horses)
Involved in almost all metabolic reactions Bone and tooth formation and maintenance Enzyme formation Amino acid, carbohydrate and fat metabolism Involved in sugar digestion and energy production Muscle building Genetic transmission Acid base balance
Depraved appetite (bone chewing) Weakness Demineralisation of bone Poor appetite, growth and feed conversion Loss of calcium Reduced fertility (failure to show oestrus Low conception rates), Reproductive failure Dull, dry hair/coats Disturbance of energy metabolism Reduced milk yield
Formation of amino acids Detoxifier Important for the manufacture of microbial protein Involved with carbohydrate metabolism Involved in connective tissue Involved with energy metabolism Part of haemoglobin Part of energy regulation
Related to protein deficiency Slow growth Reduced feed intake, digestibility and microbial protein synthesis Poor wool growth Wool and hair shedding Weakness
Required for growth, repair of body tissues Bone and teeth integrity Fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism Enzyme activation Neuromuscular activity Cell respiration Involved in hormonal activity Relaxes nerve impulses Increases rumen pH and can help increase milk yield and butterfats Elevated levels can improve marbling score in cattle fed a fat supplemented diet.
Grass Tetany (Hypomagnesaemia) Hyper-irritability Retarded growth Convulsions Reduced feed intake Anorexia Muscular incoordination Excessive calcification of bone and fat tissue
Osmotic balance Electrolyte essential for acid-base balance Muscle/cell formation Transmission of nerve impulses Necessary for muscle and heart contraction Essential for nutrient transfer to cells and removal of waste Necessary for absorption and metabolism of sugars and amino acids Involved in appetite Involved in body water regulation Enables more efficient utilisation of digested protein and energy
Poor feed conversion Reduced reproductive efficiency Loss of appetite and weight loss Ill thrift Rough coat and lack lustre eyes Reduced water intake Skin dehydration Incoordination of muscles and collapse
Maintain osmotic pressure and body fluid balance Acid-base balance Regulation of water balance Involved in respiration and regulation of blood pH Involved in producing gastric juice and stomach pH Found in large concentrations within and without the cells of body tissues Activation of enzymes Suppresses microbial growth, acidic diets encourage Ca absorption
Alkalosis resulting in slow shallow breathing Muscle cramps Reduced food intake Dehydration Lower milk production Poor growth Convulsions
Nerve and muscular function Digestion of food Fluid transport Osmotic balance Hormone release Embryonic development Acid-base balance Enzyme activation Important for transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide by the blood Protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism Energy production, normal heart activity, required by bacteria Water balance
Reduced appetite Reduced growth Dehydration Muscle weakness Nervous disorders Cardiac weakness Diarrhoea (common cause of deficiency) Trace Minerals
Co-factor in over 200 enzymes in metabolism Essential for skin, bone, cartilage, hoof, hair and feathers Essential role in the immune system Involved in the production, storage and secretion of individual hormones Affects growth, development, reproduction, bone and blood formation Essential for the development and functioning of reproductive organs Involved in wound healing
Reduced growth rate and poor skin condition Poor appetite Bone problems Poor wound healing Poor testicular development Impairs sexual function Poor hair and wool formation Emaciation Affects the immune system Impairment of glucose tolerance Deranged electrolyte balance
Required for development and maintenance of skeletal and vascular systems Needed for blood haemoglobin and myoglobin synthesis Component of or essential in the activity of many enzymes Involved in the body’s oxygen metabolism Important for proper cardiac function and immune system Required for pigmentation of hair, feather and wool A key component of keratinisation of hair, wool and feathers Needed for the structure and function in the central nervous system
Anaemia Poor growth Reproductive impairment Reduced protein synthesis Lameness, swelling of joints Depigmentation of hair and wool Diarrhoea Weak, broken bones Nerve disorders Cardiovascular disorders Abnormal appetite Keratinisation failure in hair, fur and wool Abnormal skeletal development
An essential component of thyroid hormones which regulate the metabolic rate Production of various body enzymes, e.g. in respiratory system, phosphorylation, oxidation and protein synthesis Helps regulate basal metabolic rate Required for growth by some rumen microflora
Goitre (swelling of the neck from enlargement of thyroid gland) Reduced growth rate Reduced metabolic rate Dry skin and harsh, brittle hair Weak, dead or hairless newborns In growing animals a shortening of leg bones
Acts as an anti-oxidant to prevent polyunsaturated fatty acid oxidation to toxic radicals that damage muscle and cell membranes Is part of an enzyme that regulate thyroxine hormone activity Plays a role in resistance to viral infection Protects some tissues from poisonous substances (arsenic, cadmium, silver and mercury) Important for reproduction, growth, and protects muscles from degeneration Involved in liver function Necessary for the repair of DNA Aids in retention of Vitamin E in blood plasma
Poor muscle development and pale, weak muscles (White Muscle Disease) Nutritional muscular dystrophy (NMD) Myocardial disease Reproductive disorders Reduced disease resistance and immune response Poor growth and feed utilisation
Essential for the functioning of brain and nervous systems Enzyme activator Maintains bone mineralisation Maintains normal central nervous system function Involved in carbohydrate, protein, nucleic acid and fat metabolism Involved in formation of chondroitin sulphate in cartilage and joints Needed for blood clotting Involved in cholesterol synthesis and insulin activity Enables the body to use thiamine (B1) and Vitamin E
Poor growth Skeletal abnormalities Reproductive failure Impaired fat and carbohydrate metabolism Nervous disorders Affects membrane integrity Shortening and bowing of joints Reduced Vitamin K-induced clotting response
Incorporated into haemoglobin, muscle myoglobin, storage forms and muscle oxidative enzymes Cellular respiration Metabolism Activation of oxygen and electron transport Immune system
Anaemia (low red blood cell count) Paleness of mucous membranes Changes to skin and hair condition Fatigue and lack of stamina Laboured breathing Diarrhoea Poor growth Reduced appetite Increased susceptibility to disease
Involved in growth and skeletal development Important for connective tissue development Incorporated into joint cartilage Essential for bone formation and collagen synthesis May be a factor in the immune system
Reduced growth rate Affects bone formation Reduced cartilage and collagen strength Hair loss
Involved in enzyme reactions Important for immune response Maintains nervous system integrity Incorporated into the structure of Vitamin B12, which is involved in haemoglobin formation and metabolism
Pining (emaciation, anaemia, listlessness, rough coat, poor appetite) Ill-thrift Reduced conception rates Abortion Rough hair and scaliness of the skin Increased susceptibility to infection and parasitic burdens Poor mucous membranes Loss of appetite and retarded growth Fatty degeneration of the liver
Involved in carbohydrate metabolism and activity of insulin hormone Stimulates insulin activity glucose uptake by organs and muscle Involved in nucleic acid metabolism and therefore protein synthesis Stimulates fatty acid and cholesterol production in the liver
Affects glucose metabolism with high blood sugar and the loss of sugar in the urine Affects protein and lipid metabolism Affects insulin output and activity Protein synthesis is indirectly affected by chromium
Mineral stasis May have an effect on some vitamins, bone structure & regulation of parathyroid hormone.
Low Ca and Mg retention Reduced growth Impaired immune function Poor conception
Plays a role in protein synthesis and oxidation reactions Helps in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates Involved in DNA metabolism A component in the enamel on teeth
Reduced feed intake and growth Impaired reproduction Elevated mortality in mothers and offspring Most often related to Cu and S excess