Role of antioxidants in animal nutrition
In the last blog we saw that an antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules.
In the last blog we saw that an antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. But, why is necessary to prevent oxidation? So basically because the oxidation reactions can produce free radicals which lead to chain reactions which damage cells. And what is a free radical? – Is an organic or inorganic molecule that is known for being very unstable and therefore has a large reactive power.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules, and the result of these reactions generates a disruption in cell membranes. This disorder is lethal to the cell.
They are produced by most cells in the body through metabolism own cell and also by the action of toxic agents.
In the presence of free radicals, the body must neutralize and defend, in order to avoid tissue damage, but the problem itself, appears when the concentration of these free radicals is very high.
Specifically, What is a free radical and how you react?
The free radical is an atom of O2 (oxygen) with 7 electrons (the stable oxygen atom has 8 electrons and becomes unstable when it loses one electron), lacking the electron, is borrowed from the cell membrane and thus produces another radical more free resulting in a chain reaction.
This chain reaction is fought with the action of antioxidants, which neutralize the oxygen atoms.
For neutralization, endogenous and exogenous antioxidants are:
- The endogenous enzymes (proteins) with antioxidant capacity not consumed by reacting with free radicals and are dependent on their cofactors such as copper, iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium.
- The exogenous come from the diet, unlike enzymes consumed by reacting with free radicals, and must be replaced. These are what we care at more nutrition in animal production.
Fats, oils, vitamins (a, b, c, d, e and k), pigments and medicines containing variable amounts of unsaturated bonds which are subject to undergo oxidation. The oxidation takes place in two stages:
- Induction period. – Chemical reaction where there slow accumulation of peroxides, slightly noticeable physical changes occur in the taste and smell of organic materials.
- Rancidity process. – The reaction of the unsaturated hydrocarbon with oxygen, produces a large amount of peroxide, which increases the rate of decomposition of substrates which develop an unpleasant odor, affecting the nutritional qualities of the material in question, between others:
- Loss of energy commodities.
- Protein loss in commodities.
- Destruction of vitamins.
- Undesirable changes in color.
- Formation of toxic metabolites.
- Low feed intake with subsequent involvement productive performance
How antioxidants can be classified?
Antioxidants are specific formulations for use in raw materials used in the production of feed, based on highly effective compounds, there are chemical components as:
- B.H.T. (Butyl hydroxy toluene).
- T.B.H.Q. (Tertiary butyl hydroquinone).
- PROPYL gallates (PG's)
These compounds, when combined, enhanced and supplemented with other chelating additives (citric acid, ascorbic acid and EDTA), help to improve the functioning of the base compounds.
Other ingredients are flavonoids (plant secondary metabolites) possess antioxidant activity and free radical scavenging capacity and increase endogenous defense systems against oxidation, thus modulating the cellular redox state. Natural antioxidant flavonoids are able to prevent the formation of free radicals through the enzymes involved in its production as xanthine oxidase, to sequester transition metals that promote the formation of such radicals and regenerating antioxidants such as α-tocopherol.
Advantages for the use of antioxidants in animal nutrition.
- Prevents oxidation and formation of polymers dangerous for consumption and thus the health of the animal.
- Avoid early decomposition of food and raw materials
- They avoid the low feed intake and growth retardation in animals.
- Increases the shelf life of the products
- Are thermostable
- Protect pelleted and extruded products.
- No toxic
- Avoid the destruction of fat soluble vitamins.
- Provides protection against oxidation of pigments (xanthophylls).
- They keep the energy and protein content of the formulation.