Reproductive and oxidative status of ewes supplemented with vitamin C during oestrous synchronization and early gestation
The objective of the study was to evaluate the reproductive efficiency and antioxidant status of ewes supplemented with two levels of vitamin C during oestrous synchronization and early gestation. Sixty-three ewes were allocated to three treatments, namely T0: control group; T1: 3 g vitamin C coated with ethylcellulose (Rovimix C®, powder); and T2: 6 g vitamin C coated with ethylcellulose. The ewes received the dietary supplementation during an oestrus synchronization period and lasted until 18 days after breeding. The occurrences of oestrus, gestation, fecundity and prolificacy were measured. Blood samples were collected at various stages to determine antioxidant capacity and oxidative state, and progesterone, glucose and insulin concentrations. Percentage occurrence of oestrus and gestation was analysed using the Chi-Square test, prolificacy and fecundity by GENMOD, and blood tests by the PROC MIXED procedure. It was recorded that the concentration of vitamin C in plasma increased with the supplementation of 3 g and 6 g vitamin C. The antioxidant capacity was higher in T1 than in T0 and T2. Lipid oxidation, and glucose, insulin and progesterone concentrations were not affected. It is concluded that supplementation of 3 g vitamin C during oestrous synchronization and early gestation does not modify the reproductive responses of the ewes. However, the concentration of this vitamin in the blood increased and improved the antioxidant capacity of the animals.
Keywords: antioxidant, ascorbic acid, gestation, lipid oxidation