Mineral supplements and Mineral supplements and enhancing the bio-availability of minerals
The proper balance of protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals is needed in the ration of animals to harness their productivity. Deficiency of minerals affects the productivity even if they receive 100% of their protein and energy needs, which shows that the minerals are an integral part of the total nutrient management system as they fulfill several important functions for the maintenance of animal, growth and reproduction as well as health status. The essential minerals are categorized into major (calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, chlorine, sulfur and magnesium) and trace elements (iron, iodine, copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt, selenium, fluoride and molybdenum). These are required in small quantities compared to other major nutrients like protein and energy. Deficiencies of these minerals do not affect the productivity immediately but have a marked effect on productivity, particularly reproduction and health. There is an apparent increase in mineral deficiencies in India due to the changes in traditional cropping practices with poor soil management, improved fertilization methods and modification in traditional feeding programs to improve production. Indian livestock are mostly fed on crop residues, natural grasses, tree leaves and shrubs, which are having low mineral profile and their bioavailbility is also low. The plants derive the minerals from the soil and the animals from the plants / feed that are consumed and there is a direct interrelationship between soil, plant and animals. Because of the role of minerals in the endocrine system and in tissue integrity, they have a beneficial role in the resumption of follicular growth and fertility in dairy animals. Reproductive problems are frequently reported in association with trace mineral (Cu, Zn, Se and Mn) deficiencies.