How does Vitamin D improve piglet performance?
This project aims to measure the impact of exposure to UV light on growth, serum levels of vitamin D, and immune function in nursing piglets.
Vitamin D is involved in various physiological processes including immune function. To ensure adequate intake, pig diets are fortified with vitamin D.
However, in intensively housed pigs, exposure to sunlight is minimal and, for nursing piglets, their circulating vitamin D levels will likely be deficient.
To counter this, nursing piglets will be exposed to different periods of UV light during the night to stimulate their production of vitamin D and its circulating levels in piglet blood will be determined.
Given vitamin D's involvement in immune function, in vitro assessment of immune function will also be monitored.