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Old 11-21-2006, 04:27 PM
 
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Default human vitamins

Hello!

What do you think of using human supplements (vitamins,minerals) with dart frogs? I use human supplements (with beta caroten and small amount of D and E vitamins) with my day geckos and they are doing great. For mineral supplement i use mix of cuttle bone (Ca) and some mineral supplement for reptiles (with D3 vit. and no A vit.). I am using human vitamins because all reptile supplements in our country(nekton, reptivite...) have too much A vitamin (retinol) for my day geckos (you can overdose it very quickly).
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Old 11-21-2006, 04:51 PM
Ed Ed is offline
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The problem with human supplements is that they do not use vitamin D3 they use D2 which is not metabolizable by herps. Even human supplements that may at this moment use the D3 isomer may change without warning (or label notification) as D2 is much less expensive than D3.... This frequently leads to undersupplementation of vitamin D in the affected herps unless there is sufficient exposure to unfiltered UVB to support D3 synthesis (and many full spectrum bulbs do not produce UVB but UVA).

On what are you basing the oversupplementation of vitamin A (as retinol)in day geckos based on the amount in the herp supplement? Typically oversupplementation of the fat soluble vitamins comes from being outside of a 10:1:0.1 ratio of A3:E or being offered too frequently. Typically the problems with these types of supplements are more along the lines of catalyzed oxidation of the fat soluble vitamins resulting in the metabolic problems.
The nutritional needs of herps with some exceptions have fallen within those guidelines of those developed decades ago for domestic animals. As some issues are noted (like those seen in some bufonids with beta carotene) the supplements are then modified.
There has been a lot of anecdotal discussion of what is and what isn't needed in various herp diets but no hard studies.... This has resulted in a proliferation of shotgun supplementation methods in the hobby (and by manufacturers) and comments on sensitivity/or lack there of with nothing but anecdotal evidence. (for example, the National Zoo maintained a colony of Phelsuma madagascarensis for more than 20 years with that ration of A3:E with no issues (as this was a long term husbandry study and these animals were necropsied on death)).

Ed

Some comments,

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Old 11-22-2006, 10:04 AM
 
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Thanks for reply.
I know that in human vitamins is D2 vitamin which is not metabolizable by herps (Does it mean that vit. D2 is secreted from the body or accumulated in livers?). So I use additional mineral supplement for reptiles with D3 vitamin.
According to studies by Dr.Larry Talent of Oklahoma State University, excessive vitamin A in day gecko`s diet can be toxic and seems to cause bone de-calcification. Supplemental vitamin A is still important to day geckos, but it is important to minimize vit. A when possible by providing supplements with a higer ratio of vitamin D3 to vitamin A. One part Rep-Cal Herptivite to two parts Rep-Cal Calcium with D3 are the correct proportions for day geckos (Leann and Greg Christenson, 2003, Day geckos in Captivity). Some reptile vitamins here have A3 ratio 660:1 (Nekton rep) and I think that is too much.
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:57 PM
Ed Ed is offline
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snip " know that in human vitamins is D2 vitamin which is not metabolizable by herps (Does it mean that vit. D2 is secreted from the body or accumulated in livers?). So I use additional mineral supplement for reptiles with D3 vitamin. "endsnip

As they cannot metabolize it, I always took it to mean that they cannot absorb it.. I cannot think of any references off the top of my head discussing absorbtion via oral administration.

snip "According to studies by Dr.Larry Talent of Oklahoma State University, excessive vitamin A in day gecko`s diet can be toxic and seems to cause bone de-calcification."endsnip

Ratios outside of 10:1 A (as retinol) to D3 cause this condition in most herps. This is why many supplements have gone from using retinol as the source of vitamin A to beta carotene. This is not a problem with beta carotene as the animal only converts what is needed to support metabolism. The conversion of beta carotene is controlled through a biofeedback mechanism which prevents this from disrupting calciun metabolism.

snip "Supplemental vitamin A is still important to day geckos, but it is important to minimize vit. A when possible by providing supplements with a higer ratio of vitamin D3 to vitamin A. One part Rep-Cal Herptivite to two parts Rep-Cal Calcium with D3 are the correct proportions for day geckos (Leann and Greg Christenson, 2003, Day geckos in Captivity). Some reptile vitamins here have A3 ratio 660:1 (Nekton rep) and I think that is too much"endsnip


This is the result of people makeing the mistake of confusing vitamin A as retinol with vitamin A equivalence from another source such as beta carotene. Beta carotene is the most commonly used source of vitamin A in a number of herp supplements. Excess beta carotene is excreted via the fecal route in herps and does not cause the problems with calcium metabolism (in herps or people) as it doesn't compete with D3 for uptake in the digestive tract. With your example there with Herptivite, the supplement doesn't contain any vitamin A as retinol but instead uses 100% beta carotene so it doesn't interfere with D3 uptake so the ratios recommended to prevent the issue with vitamin A are based on bad information.
So just going off the units of vitamin A listed on the label can be very very misleading if you do not read the ingredients to see how the vitamin A is actually supplied by the supplement. This is important as vitamin A as retinol competes for uptake with D3 and E which is why when you get a ratio of vitamin A as retinol to D3 to E outside of 10:1:0.1 you get issues. while vitamin A as beta carotene does not....

Ed
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