OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of various herbal adaptogens such as shade-dried powders of Withania somnifera, Ocimum sanctum, Asperagus recemosus, Andrographis paniculata, Asphaltum panjabinum (Shilajith), Gymnema sylvestre, Spirulina platensis, and Panex ginseng on cadmium (Cd)-induced oxidative stress and its accumulation in broiler chicken. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 80 male broiler chicks of day old age were randomly assigned to 10 equal groups. Group 1 birds were fed with basal diet throughout the experiment (1-42 days). Group 2-10 chicks were fed with basal diet containing cadmium at 100 ppm from day 1 to day 28 (4 weeks). From 29(th) to 42(nd) day (2 weeks), basal diet alone was fed to group 2 chicks which acted as toxic control and group 3-10 birds were fed with feed containing 0.1% powder of W. somnifera, O. sanctum, Aspe. recemosus, An. paniculata, Asph. panjabinum (Shilajith), G. sylvestre, S. platensis, and P. ginseng, respectively. Body weight gain, levels of non-enzymatic antioxidants such as reduced glutathione (GSH), lipid peroxidation markers such as thiobarbituric acid reacting substances (TBARS), liver functional markers such as serum alanine transaminase (ALT), kidney functional markers such as blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine and concentration of cadmium in liver and kidney were investigated. RESULTS: body weight gains were significantly decreased in birds of groups 2-10 compared to group 1 at the end of 4(th) week. Supplementation of various medicinal herbs in feed after 4(th) week significantly improved the body weight gain compared to that in group 2 chicks. The increase in TBARS and decrease in GSH concentrations of liver and kidney tissues in cadmium intoxicated birds were significantly reversed by the above-said herbs. The liver and kidney functional markers were also restored to normal levels. Highest concentration of cadmium was found accumulated in kidney, followed by liver in birds of group 2. Herbal supplementation in groups 3-10 prevented Cd bioaccumulation which was most evident in liver, followed by kidney. CONCLUSIONS: Administration of herbal adaptogens at the rate of 0.1% in feed significantly prevented the bioaccumulation of Cd and reversed the Cd-induced oxidative tissue damage.
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