Deficiencies affect animals by limiting their resources, by what is known as the law of the minimum. This means they are not controlled by the total amount of resources available to them, but by the scarcest resource, which acts as a limiting factor. For example, if the animal has abundant energy, water and protein but does not have sufficient minerals in the diet, the mineral deficiency will limit their performance despite the other nutrients being plentiful.
Deficiencies will impact the animal in various ways; decreased performance (yield, growth and fertility), increased susceptibility to infection due to a immune compromise, poor feed efficiency, which can cause ill thrift and wasting, and can increase incidents of metabolic disease. Mineral deficiencies are progressive; sub-clinical deficiencies lead to poor growth and production but will not show clinical signs until a threshold is reached, when more obvious symptoms will occur.
Some minerals, particularly calcium, if added in excess, will interfere with absorption of other nutrients. As an example, calcium interferes with zinc absorption and results in a skin disorder called parakeratosis in pigs. A combination of a high level of calcium and marginal zinc level can result in this condition. Never mix additional minerals with a commercial supplement,. Calcium and phosphorus are important in skeletal structure development, but their presence in soft tissues is also important. Both aid in blood clotting, muscle contraction, and energy metabolism. Deficiency of calcium and phosphorus will result in impaired bone mineralisation, reduced bone strength, and poor growth. Young pigs with a deficiency of calcium and phosphorus will have clinical sings of rickets. Mature pigs eating a deficient diet will remove calcium and phosphorus from the bone (osteoporosis), decreasing bone strength. Levels of calcium and phosphorus adequate for maximum gain in body weight are not necessarily sufficient for maximum bone development. Borderline deficiency may go unnoticed in the growing- finishing pig, but cause serious consequences in those pigs saved for breeding purposes. Vital Nguruwe is specially formulated as a supplementary mineral to be added to sow and weaner diets to ensure that essential minerals are not deficient in the diet and causing sub-clinical of clinical deficiency problems.