During the past decade, there has been renewed interest and research in the role of the dietary cation-anion balance (DCAB) in controlling Ca and P homeostasis. Two diets differing in DCAB (either high DCAB, 250 meq/kg DM, or low DCAB, -100 meq/kg DM) were fed to 10 Romney lambs. Feeding low DCAB decreased urine pH by 2.0 pH units; from 8.2 (SE=0.45) to 6.2 (SE=0.50), indicative of the anticipated changes in the ionic balance associated with alterations in the dietary CAB. Plasma concentrations of Ca and P, and whole-body Ca and P balance (intake-excretion) were similar for both groups of sheep. Reducing the dietary CAB caused a 7-fold increase in the urinary excretion of Ca (low DCAB 0.75 g/day vs high DCAB 0.11 g/day; P=0.001).The apparent absorption of Ca in the low DCAB and high DCAB groups were 1.6 and 1.3 g/day, respectively, although there was no significant difference between the two groups. These data indicate that lowering the DCAB increases urinary excretion of Ca of growing lambs without affecting Ca balance due to an alteration in the movement of Ca to and from bone. Similar changes in Ca absorption and utilisation have been observed in dairy cows, suggesting that the growing lamb is a suitable model for future studies in the regulation of Ca homeostasis in dairy cattle.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 58, , 192-194, 1998
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