Effects of a Dietary L-Carnitine Supplementation on Performance, Energy Metabolism and Recovery from Calving in Dairy Cows
Dairy cows are metabolically challenged during the transition period. Furthermore, the process of parturition represents an energy-consuming process. The degree of negative energy balance and recovery from calving also depends on the efficiency of mitochondrial energy generation. At this point, L-carnitine plays an important role for the transfer of fatty acids to the site of their mitochondrial utilisation. A control (n = 30) and an L-carnitine group (n = 29, 25 g rumen-protected L-carnitine per cow and day) were created and blood samples were taken from day 42 ante partum (ap) until day 110 post-partum (pp) to clarify the impact of L-carnitine supplementation on dairy cows, especially during the transition period and early puerperium. Blood and clinical parameters were recorded in high resolution from 0.5 h to 72 h pp. L-carnitine-supplemented cows had higher amounts of milk fat in early lactation and higher triacylglyceride concentrations in plasma ap, indicating increased efficiency of fat oxidation. However, neither recovery from calving nor energy balance and lipomobilisation were influenced by L-carnitine.