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Feeding Spirulina
90g - $11.99
180g - $19.99
1 lb. - $49.99


The microscopic vegetable Spirulina platensis can add a variety of nutritional benefits to your bird's diet
by Ronald H. Henson
To View birds fed this product, visit  -- www.eclectusparrot.com


    
Scientists recently announced that the food Spirulina dramatically strengthens the avian immune system.  This is of great interest to veterinarians and breeders of exotic birds.  It explains why parrots suffering from opportunistic infections recover quickly when fed Spirulina.  In scientific studies, Spirulina protected birds from infection with the antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.
--    What Is It?
    This microscopic vegetable is an edible blue-green microalgae sold as a dry powder.  It deepens feather color and shine, stimulates breeding and enhances fertility.  Simply sprinkle it over fresh fruit and vegetables.  It can also be baked into cornbread or mixed into soak-and-cook feeds.
    Spirulina is a traditional food of Mexican and African peoples.  It is cultivated as human food in California by a biotech company.  Very nutritious, it has a 62% amino acid content.  It is the world's richest source of vitamin B12 and antioxidant beta carotene (20 times that of carrots).  Wild Spirulina sustains huge flocks of wild flamingos in super-alkaline East African lakes.
    Edible Spirulina grown in controlled environments is much different from wild algae found in lakes.  The Spirulina is grown by scientists and highly trained technicians at a special aquatic farm.  It is harvested and packed in a licensed, government inspected, sanitary food-processing plant.  Each batch gets a thorough testing for purity before released for sale.  Always obtain Spirulina and other foods from a reliable source.
--    Medical Benefits
    Several reports now appearing in scientific literature document the medical benefits of Spirulina.  They all show that Spirulina improves the immune system.  Why is this important for breeding and/or pet birds?
    Baby birds are protected from otherwise deadly germs and antibodies from the egg yolk.  The egg yolk antibodies soon wear out as the baby contacts germs in the outside world.  This leaves the young chick vulnerable to infection unless it is able to quickly build its own antibodies.  Antibodies are created by a complex network of interactive white blood cells known as macrophages, T-cells and B-cells.  Spirulina accelerates the building of cellular immune system, allowing it to increase antibody production and protect against invading germs.
    In 1979, Russian scientists reported that small amounts of either whole cell Spirulina or its extracts prevented Yersinia (the family of bacteria that cause Bubonic plague) infection.  This gram-negative bacterium is a deadly one in man and animals.  It can overwhelm the body by inducing an immune deficiency and then death.  Animals supplied with Spirulina reversed the immune deficiency.  The white blood cells quickly destroyed the Yersinia bacteria, protecting the animals.  No harmful effects were observed.
    Many parrot breeders reported that chronic problems with infection disappear within 3 weeks of use.  One person had a pet African Grey that suffered from a chronic Pseudomonas bacterial infection.  In spite of intense antibiotic therapy administered by her veterinarian, the infection stubbornly worsened over a period of weeks.  Within days of starting Spirulina supplementation, the bird began to show signs of improvement.  Two weeks later, there was no infection.  The combination of Spirulina with antibiotics finally wiped it out.
    In 1989, Professor Ernest Ross of the U. of Hawaii and Warren Dominy of the Oceanic Institute also Studied Spirulina-fed birds.  They reported that small amounts of Spirulina cause fertility in quail to go up to very high levels (96.1%), much higher than quail on the standard breeder diet.
    Spirulina recently gained patent approval in Russia as a "medicine food."  It is extremely effective for treating radiation sickness.  Children in the Chernobyl region suffer from radiation poisoning.  Radiation severely damaged their immune systems.  Children who ate just a few tablets each day made dramatic recoveries.  Their immune systems recovered to normal within six weeks.  Children not given Spirulina remained ill.
    Other scientific studies show Spirulina greatly improves T-cells to coordinate the fight against infection.  Scientists observe that Spirulina causes these cells to increase in number, become "activated" and more effective at killing germs.  The entire immune system array of killer cells, helper cells and antibody production was "supercharged."  Birds fed Spirulina are much more resistant to infection and cancer.
    How does Spirulina build the immune system?  It is very nutritious, containing all the essential amino acids.  It is also rich in anti-inflammatory GLA fatty acid, antioxidants and other phytochemicals.  However, two unique natural substances supercharge the immune system.
    The first is the brilliant-blue protein Phycocyanin, found only in blue-green algae.  Phycocyanin acts like erythropoetin, (EPO).  EPO is the hormone that regulates the bone marrow cells that produce white blood cells.  Phycocyanin stimulates the immature or damaged immune system to grow or to repair itself when injured by infection, toxic chemicals or radiation.
    Scientists also found a polysaccharide (a complex sugar molecule) unique to Spirulina.  Spirulina polysaccharide acts similarly to Phycocayanin.  It is highly potent and activates the immune system.  It improves the immune system's ability to detect and destroy foreign microbes or eliminate toxins.  It also enhances T-cells and improves Thymus gland function.  Also observed were increased antibody levels and normalization of other cellular functions.
    This treasure trove of benefits has not escaped the attention of groups in the United States studying ways of treating HIV and AIDS.  Studies are now underway at major institutions; early results show some promise.
-- Other Benefits
    This food is one of the most concentrated natural sources of nutrition known.  Containing all the essential amino acids, it is also rich in chlorophyll, beta carotene and other natural phytochemicals.  It is the only green food rich in GLA fatty acid.  GLA stimulates growth in some animals and makes feathers soft yet more durable.  GLA also acts as an anti-inflammatory, sometimes alleviating symptoms of arthritic conditions.
    Spirulina also feeds the beneficial intestinal flora.  Availability of free amino acids often limits the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidus.  Stimulating these good bacteria reduces problems with E. coli and Candida albicans.
-- In Conclusion
    What does all this mean for the bird breeder and the pet bird owner?  Many breeders of exotic birds report that fertility and hatchability improve.  Birds have less sickness or recover more quickly, often with what seem to be "miracle cures."  Others report fewer problems with feather plucking and better recovery from self mutilation.  Feather quality and coloration reach their peak.  Veterinarians observe that infections quickly respond to treatment, and wound healing improves.  Spirulina supercharges the avian immune system for better disease resistance and increased fertility.
-- References
    Baojiang, g., et al. "Study on Effect and Mechanism of Polysaccharides on Spirulina platensis on Body Immune Functions Improvement," Second Asia-Pacific Conference on Algal Biotechnology.  April 25-27, 1994; p.24.
    Belay, A., et al.  Current Knowledge on Potential Health Benefit of Spirulina," Applied Phycology. Vol. 5(2), 1993.

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