Serum parameters related to mineral homeostasis and energy metabolism in ewes kept on different dietary magnesium supply during the transition period
The present study investigated the effects of dietary magnesium supplementation on mineral status and intermediary metabolism of ewes during the transition period (TP). For this purpose, 19 pregnant ewes (2nd and 3rd lactation) were divided into a control group (Con, n = 9) kept on a daily magnesium intake of approximately 3.0 g ante-partum (a.p.) and 5.0 g post-partum (p.p.), and a magnesium group (Mg, n = 10, 4.2 g a.p., 7.7 g p.p.). Blood was collected at day (d) 30 a.p., d 14 a.p., d 1 p.p., d 14 p.p. and d 30 p.p., respectively. Serum levels of total magnesium were not affected by the treatment. In Con animals, serum levels of total calcium and phosphate were lower at d 1 p.p. in comparison to d 30 a.p. (P ≤ 0.05). Only in Con ewes, serum glucose levels showed significant fluctuations throughout the entire observation period (P ˂ 0.05) and were correlated negatively with those of beta-hydroxybutyrate (r<sup>2</sup>: 0.70; P < 0.01, r<sup>2</sup>: 0.76; P < 0.01) and positively with insulin (r<sup>2</sup>: 0.46; P < 0.05, r<sup>2</sup>: 0.59; P < 0.05) on d 30 and 14 a.p., respectively. At d 30 p.p., serum insulin levels were lower in the Mg group compared to the Con group (P < 0.05). As serum concentrations of calcium, phosphate and glucose seemed more stable throughout the TP, magnesium supplementation might be an approach to promote metabolic health in ewes.