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Where did the extra milk come from?

Larry Roth, Ph.D., PAS - Vice President of Nutrition, Agrarian Solutions and Caroline Knoblock, MSc, - Director of Nutrition

Independent research confirms 25 years of field experience for DTX's effectiveness for providing mycotoxin protection. Here we will explore how the supplementation of DTX increased the daily milk production of multiple-lactation cows from 115.3 lb. in the control group to 117.8 lb. in the DTX group during the first 150 days of lactation with equal feed intakes.

Despite the DON exposure, slightly over 1,500 ppb, which could be considered high, and Zea contamination, approximately 150 ppb a medium risk, in this study the control cows performed well and might lead to the conclusion that they were not negatively affected by the mycotoxins in the diet. But if the cows were not being negatively affected, why did the cows receiving DTX make more milk?

The answer to that question starts with understanding how cows defend themselves against mycotoxins. All animals (including humans) protect themselves against mycotoxins through defenses in the intestinal lining that keep mycotoxins out of the body. If mycotoxins get through these defenses, the liver can detoxify some amount of mycotoxin. When these functions are overwhelmed, the immune system will work to repair damaged intestinal cells and take care of other damage that was done to the body by the mycotoxins.

The first line defense in the intestinal lining is the most important, because it prevents intestinal cell damage, therefore the liver does not need to shift away from metabolic functions to detoxify mycotoxins, but rather enables the most efficient use of nutrients. In contrast, the immune system uses a lot of energy, amino acids, and vitamin E. DTX enhances the defense system in the intestinal lining and helps the cow do what she already knows how to do.

Since the control and DTX cows ate the same amount of feed, where did the extra nutrients to make more milk come from? The cows fed DTX were able to utilize their natural, efficient defense systems to handle the mycotoxins present in the feed. This required fewer nutrients than an immune response to fight the mycotoxins and avoiding the nutrient loss. We can infer that the cows fed DTX were able to use the nutrients for the intended purpose: milk production.