Stimulation of gluconeogenesis

Gluconeogenesis is the limiting factor of glucose availability in early lactation.

Feeding a high proportion of easily digestible carbohydrates promotes gluconeogenesis. It stimulates the production of propionate in the rumen, the most important glucoplastic substrate 2.

Pharmacologically, propionate production in the forestomach can also be promoted by oral administration of ionophore antibiotics 7 or certain essential oils 13. The use of monensin is regulated in the EU and allowed only in animals at risk of ketosis and on veterinary prescription.

Glucoplastic substrates such as propionate, propylene glycol (1,2-propanediol) or glycerin are added to the feed for the prevention of ketosis or administered in cases of ketosis as a drench. The further conversion of these glucoplastic substrates to glucose can be improved by supplementing vitamin B12 and biotin, which act as cofactors of important gluconeogenetic enzymes (B12: methylmalonyl-CoA mutase 9, biotin: propionyl-CoA carboxylase and pyruvate carboxylase 26). Cows treated with Butaphosphan & Vitamin B12 showed a significant reduction of β‑hydroxybutyrate (BHB) concentrations compared to their placebo-treated counterparts 78.

Glucocorticoids have little impact on gluconeogenesis in cattle, but exert a positive effect by limiting glucose uptake and utilization of certain tissues (glucose-sparing effect) 14.

  • Increase of the availability of glucose precursor molecules

    Starch-rich diets

    Ionophore antibiotics (monensin)

    Essential oils


    Propylene glycol


    Amino acids

    Stimulation of gluconeogenesis enzymes

    Vitamin B12 (+phosphorus)



* see also our references page

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