menthol, IGF-1, growth
Menthol is a naturally occurring compound classified as an essential oil that gives plants of the Mentha species their characteristic minty aroma and flavor. Menthol is used as a cooling compound in products ranging from common cold medications to pesticides and has been found to have a wide range of biological activities in different systems within the body. More recently, menthol and other essential oils have been identified as potential alternatives to feed antibiotics and growth promotants. Menthol has been observed to directly affect κ-opioid receptors. Kappa opioid receptors are located in the central nervous system, with a high density found in the hypothalamus. Menthol has been hypothesized to be capable of binding to κ-opioid receptors in the hypothalamus, stimulating neuropeptides involved in the production and release of growth hormone and leading to increased insulin-like growth factor-1 concentration, thus increasing growth. The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate changes in blood metabolites when menthol was incorporated into the diets of steers.
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Van Bibber, C. L.; Miller, K. A.; Aperce, C. C.; Alvarado, C.; Higgins, J. J.; and Drouillard, J. S.
"Menthol Supplementation Has Minimal Effects on Blood Components from Holstein Steers,"
Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station Research Reports: