Calcium is most commonly recognized as a critical mineral for bone development and skeletal strength. Magnesium also forms part of the bone matrix and contributes towards skeletal development and strength. But what about the other biological functions of calcium and magnesium? More importantly, can we use these additional functions to improve production efficiency?

12 interesting facts about calcium and magnesium in pigs

  • Calcium plays a role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, enzyme activation and energy metabolism (Bronner & Pansu, 1998; Ross et al., 2011).
  • Magnesium plays a role in neuromuscular activity, cell membrane integrity, and is a cofactor in enzymes involved in metabolism and protein synthesis (Jahnen-Dechent et al, 2012; Zhang et al., 2014).
  • Dietary nutrients are digested in the duodenum and absorbed in the jejunum. The extent of absorption and bioavailability of minerals is dependent on stomach pH and solubility of the minerals (McDonald et al., 2011).
  • More soluble source of Ca is absorbed more effectively, reducing acid binding capacity of the chyme (thus lower pH) and improving digestibility (Bronner & Pansu, 1998; Pieterse & Steenkamp, 2009).
  • Low pH of digesta helps to limit pathogenic bacteria growth in the digestive tract (gatekeeper), thus aids in improved immunity and reduced incidence of gastric ulcers caused by Helicobacter (DeRouchey et al., 2009; Friendship, 2004; Tennant et al., 2008).
  • Magnesium is proven to aid in reducing stress and aggressive behavior in swine (O’Driscoll et al., 2012).
  • Calcium is essential in immune response and activation of different white blood cells (Badou et al., 2013; Sweeney et al., 2014).
  • Magnesium deficiency impairs humoral and cellular immunity, and reduces IgG levels in colostrum (Kubenam, 2008; Trawinska et al., 2013).
  • A more soluble source of calcium and magnesium improves bone development (Aslam et al., 2010; Brennan et al., 2017).
  • Bioavailable calcium ions are needed for smooth muscle contraction, thereby aiding to increase the rate of farrowing – less born dead and less oxygen deprived piglets which perform better (Gaál et al., 2004; Zhang et al., 2014).
  • Magnesium supplementation decreases weaning to estrus interval (Elrod et al., 2015).
  • Magnesium helps to prevent constipation in gestating and lactating sows (Hou et al., 2014; Itoh et al., 1967; O’Driscoll et al., 2012).

Acid Buf is a more bioavailable source of calcium and magnesium, which helps to improve skeletal mineralisation and joint flexibility, maintain digestive health, results in calmer behaviour in sows, improves sow productivity and number of piglets born alive, as well as reducing aggression.

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