Zinc supplementation decreases total thyroid hormone concentration in small ruminants
The effect of dietary zinc (Zn) supplementation on plasma Zn and serum thyroid hormones was evaluated in healthy male Merino lambs and Angora goats. A total of 12 lambs and 12 goats were divided into two equal groups as control and Zn groups in separate experiments. The lambs and
goats of the control groups were fed basal rations alone. The Zn contents of these rations prepared for lambs and goats were 40 mg/kg and 35 mg/kg in dry matter (DM), respectively. Both species of animals in the Zn groups were fed a basal ration supplemented with zinc sulphate adjusted to
250 mg Zn/kg diet in DM. The feeding trial lasted for 12 weeks in lambs and 8 weeks in goats. Blood samples were taken from the jugular vein at 4-week intervals. Both animal species in the Zn groups had higher plasma Zn values than the controls throughout the experimental period, except in
the 4th week in goats. However, the levels of serum total thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) were lower in the lambs and goats of the Zn groups, except in the 4th week, as compared to those in the controls. Moreover, serum total thyroid hormone levels of the goats
were higher at the 4th week than at the 8th week. Although there was a decrease in the levels of free thyroxine and triiodothyronine of both small ruminant species in the Zn groups when compared to the controls, these alterations were not statistically significant. These results may show that
zinc supplementation to the diet at this dose reduces total thyroid hormone levels in small ruminants but does not yet impair the euthyroid status of the organism.