I am wondering now if there is a difference between zinc the metal and zinc the mineral.

It is one and the same. Ever since I took a class on “Trace Element Geochemistry and Health” in undergraduate school, I’ve been fascinated by how our bodies (and, of course, our pets’ bodies) use minerals. Zinc the friend vs. zinc the foe is all in the dosage.

Zinc is classified as a “micronutrient”, something that is necessary, but in very small amounts, for optimal body function. Zinc is a component of several key compounds that are necessary to maintain our blood, muscle, nervous, and immune systems. Ditto for birds.

The zinc we ingest naturally is found organically bound in the food we eat. The plants and animals we eat get the zinc initially from the soil. The zinc only becomes available to us when our own bodies break down the food during digestion.

One of the problems of getting too much zinc, as in the form of ingested metal pieces from wire or what-have-you, is that our bodies want to use it. That’s sort of like getting clobbered with millions of atoms all at once, rather than dozens at a time that we’re used to through our food.

The zinc atom is similar in size and atomic properties to iron, calcium, manganese, copper, cobalt, nickel, and chromium. Therefore, any one of these atoms (= minerals) could occupy the spot (site) in a hemoglobin molecule, but iron does the job best. And so it is with other critical body compounds — these minerals can freely substitute for one another, even though in each compound there is only one of these minerals that does the best possible job for our health. Flood the system with zinc, for example, and zinc will beat out other atoms to attach to sites that it really has no business in, thus impairing bodily function. Ditto for copper and the others.

In a system as delicately balanced as a human or avian body, too little of a good thing is as bad as too much. If a body has too little of any essential micronutrient, then another mineral will have to find its way to a compound, again rendering that compound less effective. All minerals need to be in particular proportions to one another so that each compound gets just enough of its proper mineral. For example, we (humans) need 10 times more zinc daily than we do copper, otherwise we’ll have the wrong minerals attaching to the wrong sites again. We need twice as much calcium as magnesium, and so on, for optimal body functioning.

The key word here is BALANCE. Just enough of this, just enough of that.

This treatise isn’t going to win me any scientific awards, but I hope it was helpful to some of you.


Sue vG

Colloidal metals: aluminum

I am curious to hear some feedback concerning the differences between natural plant derived minerals and metallic derived minerals. Following is an interesting article from a lab in Oregon. I am very interested in your thoughts on this matter.

Parrots: More Than Pets, Friends For Life

Chris Biro ESENCE Website: Freeflight List: Trainright List: Tel & Fax (360) 498-5559


Aluminum (Al) is the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust, after oxygen and silicon. An element that makes up about 1/3 of earth’s crust. It is very common in plants and is found in most food we eat. There have been many studies connecting disease with metallic aluminum, even a possible connection with Alzheimer’s disease. For that very reason, over the last 20 years many persons have avoided aluminum cookware and products with metallic aluminum. But they eat lettuce, potatoes, wheat, and tomatoes that contain plant-derived colloidal aluminum on a daily basis.

Don’t feel bad if you have been confused about products with plant-derived colloidal aluminum in them. Even leading nutritional doctors and leaders of countries such as Finland did not know the difference. Finland is now in the process of changing their federal law because it was unlawful to consume more than 2 mg of aluminum daily. They made no distinction between metallic aluminum and plant-derived colloidal aluminum. When they became aware that the plant-derived colloidal form was not harmful, and that their law would make it illegal to eat more than just a sliver of a banana, they took steps to change it.

Aluminum is contained in many foods, as well as many other products. A paper published in 1990 by the Harvard Medical School counters the “scientific studies” that have mistakenly attacked aluminum. (Note: They’re now attributing Alzheimer’s to some sort of “plaque accumulation”, and have ceased naming aluminum.) The following is an excerpt quoted from this Harvard Medical Newsletter.

“Dr. McLachlan believes that the controversy over aluminum derives in part from the inability of one laboratory to reproduce the results found in another. Some of this he attributes to the difficulty of the analytic methods needed to detect aluminum accurately. You have to look at the form in which the aluminum is being delivered. Does this mean that some aluminum compounds are dangerous and others are not? We know very little about that, says Dr. Perl.”

Here are some results from the ATL Agronomy Handbook, under the section “Plant Analysis Guide Nutrient Sufficiency Ranges.) PPM and Mg/L (parts per million and milligrams per liter) are considered equal since there are 994,000 mg in one liter.


Plant Food in PPM:

Asparagus 90 Oil Palm 98 Bananas 97 Peas 45 Beans 165 Peanuts 75 Brussels Sprouts 65 Peppers 75 Celery 190 Pineapple 100 Coffee 97 Potatoes 100 Corn 140 Root Crops 140 Cucumbers 90 Small Grains 135 Soybeans 75 Leaf Crops 50 Tomatoes 90 Melons 65 Wheat 140 Mint 140 Head Crops (lettuce) 90

from: C & M Laboratories Int’l, Inc. 338 Ramsey Ave. Grants Pass, OR 97527


The avian vet I used to work for put a lot of his budgie patients on iodine mixed in the water. He said budgies were prone to thyroid problems. Now, let me say that once I became an educated bird owner there were a lot of things this vet did that I didn’t agree with. He also did not test for a thyroid deficiency before prescribing the iodine. I do not agree with a great deal of his pratices. However, my own budgies did not suffer (that I could tell) from the iodine prescribed, although when we stopped it many years ago I didn’t notice any change then either.

I also give Barleygreen by Aim to my budgie because she won’t eat any vegetables. To think, I converted her to pellets & can’t get her to eat veggies! I don’t give it everyday & I just give a very light sprinkle on her seed (I use Noah’s Kingdom, so it sticks to the outside of the seeds, you could also moisten the seed) or on tofu (the only other thing she’ll eat). The amount I use is less than a pinch, almost like you were applying salt to the food it’s so little. I beleive I remember reading in the Aim literature that 1 teaspoon of Barleygreen is equal to 150 teaspoons of barley leaves (supposedly concentrated & more bioavailable because it is juiced), that’s why I give so little.

So far no one will go for the carrot or beet powders unless I mix them with water, then my Quaker loves it. Both of these are very sweet, very tasty! Leanne

Kelp and other sea vegetables are high in iodine and other healthy trace minerals, balanced naturally. Adding a sea vegetable to your green food supplements would be a natural way to add iodine to your birds’ diet. gloria


Dr Haas has Aluminum listed under toxic minerals in his book. He says that although it isn’t very toxic in normal levels, it also isn’t essential. It isn’t one of the *heavy* metals, because it is number 13 on the periodic table. He doesn’t feel that at the time of writing his book that evidence connecting aluminium with Alzheimers was conclusive.

Aluminum is found in the lungs, brain, kidney, liver, and thyroid. The body eliminates most of what it takes in through urine, feces, and sweat.

Although aluminum is present in natural food sources, and some additional aluminum is ingested by using aluminum cooking utensils, the highest sources of contamination are from food additives, antacids, and antiperspirants.

Increased aluminum levels have been found in patients with Alzheimers disease. It has also be correlated with weakened tissue of the gastrointestinal tract. (hmmmm) It can bind pepsin and weaken protein digestion.

He says “Acute aluminum poisoning has been associated with constipation, colicky pain, anorexia, nausea and gastrointestinal irritation, skin problems, lack of energy. Slower and longer term increases in body aluminum may create muscle twitching, numbness, paralysis, and fatty degeneration of the liver and kidney. It is worse with reduced renal function.”

“It is not known exactly what levels of aluminum or what other factors cause it to become a problem.” (If they don’t know in humans, then they also don’t know in birds. I do know that baking soda, baking poweders, and jiffy corn bread mixes, etc. are loaded with aluminum. It may be something to keep in mind when cooking up our bird’s favorite birdie bread)

Tetracycline is a mild chelator for aluminum. Calcium EDTA also binds and clears aluminum from the body. Deferoxamine, an iron chelator, also binds aluminum.

My thoughts, Chris: Aluminum and Iron are two different metals and have differing degrees of toxicity. Part of the issue is that Iron is hard to get rid of and aluminum is easy. Food sources of aluminum don’t seem to be a problem…it is the food additives that are the problem with aluminum.

Most forms of iron are not readily absorbable, but once it is in the body, it causes several degenerative diseases. Bleeding seems to be the accepted method for relieving the body of excess iron. gloria