This study investigated the effect of a dietary combination of selenium and olive leaves on rabbit health status in order to evaluate the potential use of these combinations as functional ingredients in feed and food. Sixty weaning rabbits were fed with three diets: control feed (C), control feed + 10% normal olive leaves (OL), or olive leaves enriched in Se (2.17 mg Se/kg d.m.; SeOL). The plasma mineral profile, antioxidant status, and leukocyte DNA damage were determined. Inorganic Se was the most abundant form in the OL diet, while the organic one was higher in SeOL than C and OL. A similar trend was found in the plasma. Protein oxidation showed higher values in both supplemented groups; in addition, dietary Se led to a significant improvement (+ 40%) in ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP). A marked reduction in DNA damage (9-fold) was observed in the SeOL group compared to C. The combination of selenium and olive leaves in the diet of growing rabbits increased plasma SeMet and FRAP and reduced leukocyte DNA damage.
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