Get access

Relationship between dietary unsaturation and vitamin E in poultry


Author's address: Maria D. Baucells, Department of Animal and Food Science, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, E-08193 Bellaterra, Spain, E-mail:


Vitamin E requirements are linked to dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) content as a result of the protective effect of vitamin E from lipid peroxidation. On the other hand, it has been suggested that dietary PUFA interfere with vitamin E absorption. A 4 × 4 factorial study was planned to assess the effect of dietary vitamin E inclusion level (0, 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg) and degree of unsaturation (15, 34, 45 and 61 g PUFA/kg) on vitamin E apparent absorption and tissue deposition in poultry. A total of 192 female broiler chickens were used. A digestibility balance was carried out between 19 and 23 days of age to calculate apparent absorption of fat and vitamin E. The livers of 96 animals were obtained at 44 days of age for vitamin E determination. Increasing dietary levels of vitamin E reduced its apparent absorption. The more saturated diet reduced fat and vitamin E apparent absorption while PUFA levels from 34 to 61 g/kg did not modify this parameter but reduced the hepatic vitamin E concentration, suggesting a greater systemic use of this vitamin. These results suggest that PUFA do not limit vitamin E absorption, although they may increase its degradation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Get access to the full text of this article