Sea Vegetables


Dr. Elson Haas says: ‘Kelp seaweed is a common health food supplement. It is taken primarily for its iodine conent by people who want to improve thyroid function, though there is no proof that kelp changes this function. They thyroid gland must, however, have suffiecient iodine, and if we do not use iodized salt or eat a lot of fish and seaweed, kelp may be a helpful adjunct. It is also high i other vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potaassium, niacin, riboflain, and choline. Algin, which is helpful at pulling out intestinal toxins and heaavy meatls, is also fiund in kelp. Kelp powder used on food is a good salt substitute but should not be overused.

From a quote by Lillian R. Carquee in Juliette de Barclai Levy’s book: Seaweed is without equal as a source of natural iodine. Organic iodine, the only kind the thyroid gland can appropriate, causes better retention and utilization of calcium and phosphorus; lesser degrees of thyroid deficiency produce bone changes analogous to that of rickets weakness. It is of far greater value in mineral and vitamin content than is much earth-grown produce raised on impoverished soil.”

Juliette says: It is a glandular tonic, stimulates stalwart body development, and promotes strong bones. It is useful for producing strong shelled eggs in chickens.

Balch and Balch say: Kelp is a rich source of vitamins, especially the B vitamins as well of many valuable minerals and trace elements. It is reported to be very valuable to brain tissue, the membranes surrounding the brain, the sensory nervs, and the spinal cord, as well as the nails and blood vessels. It has been used in the treatment of thyroid problems and is useful for other conditions as varied as hair loss, obestiy, and ulcers. It protects against the effects of radiation and softens stools.

Wulf-Tilford and Tilford say: Cautions: Prolonged ingestion may reduce gastrointestinal iron absorption, resulting in a slow reduction in hemoglobin, packed cell volume and serum iron concentrations. Prolonged ingestion may also affect absorption of sodium and potassium ions and cause diarrhea. gloria

My local vet is telling his clients to avoid kelp as it causes immune system suppression. He didn’t provide evidence of this other than to say they were told this at a vet conference recently. The implication apparently was that kelp contains dangerously high levels of iodine and is therefore unsafe to give in ANY dose.

I’ve fed kelp to ALL my animals for the past 20 years (sometimes high doses) with absolutely no ill effects. As a naturopath I haven’t seen any literature about this in respect to humans either. Has anyone else heard of this detrimental effect of kelp? If so, can you direct me to the appropriate literature?

At this stage I suspect it may be just a bit of “alternate therapy bashing” (which happens regularly with the medical and veterinary professions when they feel threatened!) but if there is some actual valid evidence of the immune suppressing action of kelp I would like to know about it. Carole Bryant

I use feed from a certified organic feed source and they add kelp to their feeds. Before there was an organic feed mill in New England, I followed Juliette’s recommendations of approx a pinch per bird. I kind of estimated and just added what I thought was a pinch x the number of birds x the number of days worth of feed to which I was adding it. I hope that makes sense. I also seem to recall that she said to begin feeding it (I think to chicken chicks) after they were 10 days old. I noticed that the turkey starter I bought this spring contained kelp and it was fed from day one to my guinea keets. They’re only 3 months old and thriving so far but obviously I don’t if there will be any ill effects over the long run.

FWIW, the kelp I use for livestock is from Nutritional Research in Indiana. Every time I order, I ask the source and each time they tell me it’s from Norway, way up north in the fjords. I figure that’s probably fairly safe as things go these days. The kind I used to get from the health food store was very powdery and didn’t seem to be as palatable as the kind I use now which is grainier. Nancy


by Ron Henson

Certain special foods are not only highly nutritious, but provide powerful therapeutic effects as well. These include: Spirulina, a microscopic aquatic green plant, Lactobacillus and Bifidus probiotics, the “good bacteria” and Organic Wheat Grass. While antibiotics kill germs after an infection has started, these special foods prevent it from occurring in the first place. They form a barrier against disease causing germs such as E. coli and Candida. They do this by protecting the digestive tract and creating a higher level of activity within the cellular immune system, and also enable a damaged immune system to repair itself. What should you know about recent scientific research concerning these special foods?

Spirulina: The microscopic aquatic vegetable, Spirulina platensis, is one of the very few edible microalgae. Amazingly nutritious, it is 62 amino acids, is the richest source of Vitamin B 12 and beta carotene (twenty times that of carrots). Spirulina sustains huge flocks of Flamingo in super alkaline East African lakes. It is a traditional food of Mexican and African peoples since prehistoric times and is approved by the US FDA as a food for humans.

In 1979, Russian scientists reported that small amounts of either whole cell Spirulina or its extracts prevented Yersinia (the germ that causes 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 by sepsis. Animals supplied with Spirulina developed immune systems so strong that the immune deficiency was reversed. The Yersinia bacteria were quickly destroyed by white blood cells. No harmful effects were observed.

In 1989, Professor Ernest Ross of the University of Hawaii, and Warren Dominy of the Oceanic Institute 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 was approved in Russia in 1994 as a medicine food because 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, while children not given Spirulina remained ill.

Several studies now appearing in scientific literature show that feeding Spirulina to birds accelerates the killing of E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus by the cellular immune system, improves macrophage function, antibody production and T cell function. Why is this important? Baby birds are protected from infection after hatching by antibodies in egg yolk. Antibodies are a kind of molecular ID tag that mark germs for destruction by killer cells. They are produced by means of a complex network of white blood cells known as macrophages, T cells and B cells. These antibodies from the egg yolk are soon used up as the baby is exposed to germs in the outside world. This leaves the young chick vulnerable to infection unless it is able to build its own antibodies quickly. Spirulina accelerates the building of the cellular immune system, enabling it to better respond to antibody production and protect against invading germs.

Proof of this was presented at a recent avian disease conference hosted by the University of California Davis, in Sacramento California. Researchers revealed data showing that Spirulina greatly strengthened avian resistance to infection. Spirulina enhanced antigen processing by macrophages, resulting in higher levels of antibody, larger Thymus glands and greater T cell function. Birds were protected from infection with the anti biotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. Why?

While Spirulina is very nutritious, containing all the essential amino acids, it is also rich in anti inflammatory GLA fatty acid and Vitamin B 12. However, two unique natural substances are thought to super charge the immune system.

The first is the blue protein in Spirulina, Phycocyanin, found only in blue green algae. Phycocyanin acts as 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 in a similar manner as Phycocyanin, but is highly potent and activates macrophages (the primary white blood cell in vertebrate animals) to rally the immune system to detect and destroy foreign microbes, eliminate toxins and enhance antibody levels, improve Thymus gland function, increase antibody levels and normalize other cellular functions. This has not escaped the attention of several groups in the USA studying ways of treating HIV infection and AIDS. Studies are now underway at major institutions and early results show promise.

Spirulina is much different from wild algae found in lakes. It is grown by scientists and highly trained technicians in clean controlled conditions for human food. Wild algae are like wild mushrooms; they are not reliable or safe. Always obtain Spirulina and other foods from a reliable source.

What does all this mean for those concerned with keeping exotic birds healthy? Breeders of exotic birds report that fertility and hatchability improve. Birds have less sickness and health problems. Feather quality, color and general well-being is enhanced. Veterinarians observe that infections quickly respond to treatment and wound healing improves. Lactobacillus and Bifidus: How do these friendly bacteria prevent disease? They convert certain sugars to lactic acid and other good substances. These by-products are not only used by birds as nutrients, they also lower the pH in the GI tract. This slight change in chemistry kills harmful microbes like E. coli and Candida. Harmful germs enjoy a medium pH and die out in the slightly acidic conditions caused by Lactobacillus and Bifidus. These bacteria crowd out the bad germs by overwhelming them with sheer numbers.

While mammals respond well to Lactobacillus and Bifidus when fed a source of milk sugar, usually in the form of milk or whey, birds do not their digestive lacks the proper enzymes for digesting milk. While Lactobacillus and Bifidus can digest milk, they prefer complex sugars called fructooligosaccharides, (FOS). Sources of FOS are Banana or Jerusalem Artichoke, part of the Sunflower family.

When shopping for a probiotic for birds, be sure to use one that is non dairy and has a FOS sugar as food for the good bacteria. Jerusalem Artichoke flour is a preferred source of FOS It will not promote growth of harmful germs or cause diarrhea, while milk will. Lactobacillus and Bifidus are sold as either a liquid culture or freeze dried ones.

In Conclusion: While no food or drug can eliminate all disease, the above mentioned special foods produce birds that are healthier, naturally, without antibiotics, drugs or chemicals. Spirulina, Wheat Grass, Lactobacillus and Bifidus naturally reduce disease by promoting a healthy digestive tract. Spirulina supercharges the immune system for better disease resistance and increased fertility.