Antioxidants in feed play a major role in animal health, production and performance. This is due to the detrimental effects of radicals and toxic products of their metabolism on various metabolic processes. It is a well known fact that oxidative stress is involved in many degenerative disorders. The oxidative free radicals are therefore considered as pathobiochemicals mechanism for initiating or progression of various diseases. The prooxidant-antioxidant balance can be regulated by optimal nutrient uptake or providing herbal antibiotics. Thus, the essential step in maintaining the balance between the oxidative damage and antioxidative defence in the animal body would be to boost the antioxidant capacity by optimising the dietary intake of antioxidants.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant. It is an important anti-stress agent. However, it can be easily oxidized. Sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is required in collagen biosynthesis and protein metabolism.
Vitamin E is the found in the biological membranes and lipid droplets. Vitamin E is absorbed in the small intestine with various efficacious depending on the diet composition, level of supplementation, age, sex and other individual characteristics of animals. It is the main chain-breaking antioxidant in biological systems.
Carotenoid is a natural pigment, responsible for yellow, orange and sometimes red pigmentation’s in plants, insects, birds and marine animals. They possess antioxidant activity. They have some health promoting properties, including immune system modulation. They are found in some plant-derived feed ingredients.
Manganese has an essential part of a range of enzymes taking part in antioxidant protection, bone growth and egg shell formation carbohydrate and lipid metabolism including processing of cholesterol.
Zinc is the second most abundant trace element trace element in mammals and they take part in antioxidant defence as an integral part of SOD, hormone secretion, keratin generation and epithelial tissue integrity immune function.
Iron has a vital role in antioxidant defence as an essential component of catalase, energy and protein metabolism, hence respiratory carrier, electron transport, oxidation-reduction reaction.