Effect of vitamin supplements on some aspects of performance, vitamin status, and semen quality in boars

J Anim Sci. 2004 Feb;82(2):626-33. doi: 10.2527/2004.822626x.


The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of dietary supplements of vitamins on vitamin status, libido, and semen characteristics in young boars under normal and intensive semen collection. Sixty Landrace, Yorkshire, and Duroc boars were allocated randomly from 6 to 10 mo of age to one of the following diets: 1) basal diet (industry level) for minerals and vitamins (Control, n = 15); 2) basal diet supplemented with vitamin C (ASC, n = 15); 3) basal diet supplemented with fat-soluble vitamins (FSV, n = 15); and 4) basal diet supplemented with water-soluble vitamins (WSV, n = 15). After puberty (approximately 12 mo of age), semen was collected at a regular frequency (three times every 2 wk) for 5 wk. Thereafter, all boars were intensively collected (daily during 2 wk). A recovery period (semen collection three times every 2 wk) followed and lasted for 10 wk. Sperm quality (percentage of motile cells and percentage of morphologically normal cells) and quantity (sperm concentration, semen volume, and total sperm number) were recorded as well as direct and hormone related measurements of boar libido. Blood and seminal plasma samples were taken to monitor vitamin status. High concentrations of B6 (P < 0.05) and folic acid (P < 0.05) were observed in the blood plasma of WSV boars, whereas greater concentrations of vitamin E (P < 0.01) were obtained in FSV boars. In the seminal plasma, folic acid concentrations tended to be greater in WSV boars (P < 0.08). During the intensive collection period, there was a tendency (P < 0.06) for semen production to be greater in WSV boars, the effect being less pronounced (P < 0.10) in FSV boars. During the recovery period, the percentage of motile sperm cells was greater in WSV boars (P < 0.03) and, to a lesser extent, in FSV boars (P < 0.10) compared with Control boars. Sperm morphology and libido were not affected by treatments. These results indicate that the transfer of vitamins from blood to seminal plasma is limited and the dietary supplements of water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins may increase semen production during intensive semen collection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Ejaculation / drug effects
  • Ejaculation / physiology
  • Folic Acid / analysis
  • Libido / drug effects*
  • Libido / physiology
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Semen / drug effects*
  • Semen / physiology
  • Sperm Count / veterinary
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Sperm Motility / physiology
  • Swine / physiology*
  • Vitamin B 6 / analysis
  • Vitamin E / analysis
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamins / blood
  • Vitamins / pharmacology


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B 6
  • Folic Acid