Next step in layer nutrition
Another important feature of the addition of betaine in poultry and swine diets is the lipogenic capacity, responsible for reducing abdominal fat and prevention of fat accumulation in the liver. The excessive accumulation of fat in modern laying hens, is a worldwide problem that may cause fatty liver syndrome and lower egg production and quality.
Carnitine is a cofactor for transformation of free, long-chain fatty acids into acylcarnitines, and the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix, where they are used for cellular energy production. For synthesis of carnitine, methylgroups are required from the transmethylation cycle. As such, adding betaine to the diet increases carnitine levels in the body and prevents fatty liver problems.
A crucial enzyme, betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase, is responsible for synthesis of both betaine from choline, as well as for the synthesis of carnitine from lysine and methylgroups. Studies suggest that the enzyme has a preference for cholinebetaine conversion.
Due to competition for betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase, choline supplementation might decrease carnitine synthesis; therefore, it might be of greater benefit to supplement with betaine rather than its precursor, choline. Betaine supplementation enhances the lipase activity, and provided a decrease in the concentration of triglycerides and cholesterol in the body.
Another point of interest is the pathway of betaine as an osmolyte. Replacement of methionine by betaine also leads to lower faecal water levels. Both in high methionine and low methionine diets, betaine reduced faecal water content with 39% and 26% respectively. As such, it is expected to lower dirty egg issues. Given the large number of metabolic and physiologic functions, the use of betaine will help to promote maximum animal performance and to achieve satisfactory return of investments.
References available on request
Betaine Academy, a global initiative by Orffa, intends to create awareness on a global scale about all nutritional and physiological parameters that betaine can offer to nutritionists in an attempt to provide sustainable, healthy and cost-effective solutions to the animal feed industry. Betaine Academy is a noncompetitive platform and is supported by various suppliers of betaine. This publication on laying hen application is the first in a series to be published in 2016-2017.
ALL ABOUT FEED Reprint 2016