Dietary supplementation with rumen-protected capsicum during the transition period improves the metabolic status of dairy cows

J. Oh, M. T. Harper, A. Melgar, S. Räisänen, X. Chen, K. Nedelkov, M. Fetter, T. Ott, E. H. Wall, A. N. Hristov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In ruminants, it has been observed that capsicum oleoresin can alter insulin responses and that high-intensity artificial sweetener can increase glucose absorption from the small intestine. Because glucose metabolism and insulin responses are critical during early lactation, these supplements might have an effect on the metabolic status of dairy cows during the transition period. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of rumen-protected capsicum oleoresin fed alone or in combination with artificial sweetener during the transition period on lactational performance and susceptibility to subclinical ketosis in dairy cows. Fifteen primiparous and 30 multiparous Holstein cows (a total of 39 cows finished the study) were arranged in a randomized complete block design during d −21 to 60 relative to parturition. Cows within block were randomly assigned to one of the following treatments: no supplement (CON), supplementation with 100 mg of rumen-protected capsicum/cow per day (RPCap), or RPCap plus 2 g of high-intensity artificial sweetener/cow per day (RPCapS). For both the RPCap and RPCapS treatments, only rumen-protected capsicum was fed during the dry period. From d 8 to 11 of lactation, intake was limited to 70% of predicted dry matter intake to induce subclinical ketosis. Production variables were recorded daily, samples for milk composition were collected on wk 2, 4, 6, and 8, and blood samples were collected on wk −2, 1, 2, and 4 of the experiment for analysis of metabolic hormones and blood cell counts. Supplementation with rumen-protected capsicum increased serum insulin and decreased β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations precalving, indicating a decrease in lipolysis. During the lactation period, RPCap was associated with a trend for increased milk production and feed efficiency following the ketosis challenge. Supplementation with RPCapS appeared to negate the response to rumen-protected capsicum. All cows developed subclinical ketosis during the challenge, and this was not affected by treatment. We conclude that treatments did not decrease susceptibility to subclinical ketosis; however, dietary supplementation with rumen-protected capsicum was effective at improving energy status precalving and tended to increased milk production and feed efficiency. The mechanism underlying these responses is unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11609-11620
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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