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Adding soybean oil and flaxseed oil to cow’s diet improves milk quality

Publicado em 07 maio 2021

The inclusion of soybean oil and flaxseed oil in dairy cow feed has made milk’s fatty acid content even healthier for human nutrition. The ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 has also increased. They play an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease as well as chronic inflammation and certain types of cancer.

Cardiovascular disease is one of the major public health problems in the world. In Brazil, they are one of the most important causes of death. According to the Ministry of Health, about 300,000 Brazilians have a heart attack each year, killing 30% of cases.

A study led by Arlindo Saran Netto, a professor at the School of Agriculture and Animal Science (FZEA-USP) at the University of São Paulo in Pirassununga, Sao Paulo, shows that dairy cows ingested these oils reduced their levels of saturated fatty acids. Raised the levels of unsaturated fatty acids in their milk that help reduce LDL, known as “bad cholesterol.”

Article published in PLOS ONE We report the results of studies supported by FAPESP. This study was one of a series led by Saran Netto for over five years with the goal of improving food quality and developing new types of milk and meat.

“The quality of milk available on the market is good. Our research aims to increase the chances of seeing that milk helps human health in new ways. Many consumers have a particular diet. I want therapy, “Saran Netto told Agência FAPESP. ..

This study showed that supplementing cow’s feed with these two oils resulted in a milk omega-6 / omega-3 ratio of 2.7: 1. Given the opposite effects of the two fatty acids, a healthy diet needs to be properly balanced. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends between 5: 1 and 10: 1, but 50: 1 can result from a diet consisting mostly of super-processed foods that are low in fish and vegetables. , Causes imbalances and increases the risk of heart disease. cancer.

Like other mammals, humans cannot synthesize omega-6 or omega-3 and must obtain them from food. “Future studies need to assess the health benefits of omega-enriched milk in the human diet,” the article concludes.

In human metabolism, omega-6 and omega-3 compete for the same elongase and desaturase enzyme. High levels of omega-6 impair the metabolism of omega-3. Too much omega-6 can increase blood pressure and triglyceride levels, among other problems. Omega 3 has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce blood lipids. Recent studies have shown that a diet containing both appropriate amounts plays an important role in disease prevention.


The researchers raised 18 lactating Holstein cows for 94 days. All animals were fed the same diet for the first 10 days, followed by 3 experimental periods of 28 days. The control was a regular dairy cow feed without the addition of oil. Soybean oil was then added at 2.5% as a source of omega-6, followed by flaxseed oil at 2.5% as a source of omega-3. Both oils replaced corn, equivalent to 2.5% of total dry matter. These levels were chosen because previous studies by the group enhanced the fatty acid profile of milk without significantly changing yields. Next, we analyzed the fat, protein, lactose, and total solids of milk samples.

According to a 2016 study by Saran Netto’s group, adding canola oil to dairy cow’s feed also changes the fatty acid profile of milk, making it healthier.

Another study, also funded by FAPESP, tried supplements containing sunflower oil, organic selenium, and vitamin E to improve both animal health and milk yield and preservation, while at the same time in the blood of milk-fed children. It showed elevated levels of selenium and vitamin E.


Milk has historically been an important source of nutrition for human consumption. It is rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin B12 and more. However, in recent decades, demand has declined for several reasons, especially in the United States and Canada, including health and dietary concerns. For example, milk fat can cause allergic reactions and usually contains saturated fatty acids associated with weight gain and obesity. Therefore, much scientific research has been devoted to the adaptations needed to meet consumer demand for healthier products.

Brazil ranks fifth among the world’s leading milk producers, with annual production of 34 billion liters. Dairy products are one of the most important segments of the food industry. The average annual consumption of milk per capita is 170 liters, which is lower than the average in developed countries (250-300 liters). UHT (long-lived) milk is the most consumed dairy product, but cheese sales have increased significantly in recent years.

The types of milk obtained by Saran Net and his group are not yet complete in research, but are not yet sold in Brazil. He said the main reason was the logistical difficulties of distribution and industrial processing that are delaying commercialization.

“Often the same truck collects milk from multiple farms. This hinders product development because it is not possible to mix regular milk with milk produced by cows on a particular feed. The same is true in the industry. . Milk. ” “Consumer demand is not large enough to guarantee sales volumes that enable individual processing.” In the future, try commercializing milk supplemented with omega 3 and antioxidants. I’m thinking.

For more information:
Mauricio XS Oliveira et al, The inclusion of soybean oil and flaxseed oil in the diet of lactating cows makes the fatty acid profile of milk nutritionally healthy for the human diet. PLOS ONE (2021). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0246357

Quote: When soybean oil and flaxseed oil are added to the cow’s diet, milk obtained from https: // on May 7, 2021 ( The quality will be improved (May 7, 2021). html

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Adding soybean oil and flaxseed oil to cow’s diet improves milk quality

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