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Table 1 Summary of studies in periparturient dairy cows investigating the effects of supplemental essential fatty acids on performances

From: Role of nutraceuticals during the transition period of dairy cows: a review

Nutraceuticala Form Doseb Period Effectc Reference
ALA (C18:3n-3) Whole flaxseed 9.7   Higher milk yields as compared with control cows or cows fed whole sunflower [22]
  11 −49 to 28 DFCd No effect on milk yield [23]
    Reduced milk fat [24]
    No effect on milk fat [25]
Extruded flaxseed 4 to 9.2 0 to 100 DFC 2.7% to 6.4% increase in MY [26]
  4 to 15 Different phases Reduced butterfat [27, 28]
    No effect on milk fat [29]
Flaxseed oil    No effect on milk yield relative to palm oil [30]
Encapsulated flaxseed oil    Reduced milk fat as compared with cows supplemented with encapsulated saturated fatty acids [31]
EPA (C20:5n-3) and DHA (C22:6n-3) Fish oil 0.8 to 3   Reduced DMI; +/− MY: increase of MY adding up to 1% DM of fish oil, followed by a linear decrease with addition of fish oil up to 3% of DM; consistent decrease of milk fat content [21, 32]
  2   No effect on milk yield [33]
Encapsulated fish oil 2.9 Transition period No effect on milk yield and reduced butterfat as compared with cows fed encapsulated saturated fatty acids or flaxseed oil at the same rate [31]
  1. a ALA Alpha-linolenic acid, EPA Eicosapentaenoic acid, DHA Docosahexaenoic acid
  2. b Expressed as % of dry matter whenever not differently indicated
  3. c MY milk yield
  4. d Days from calving