It has been discussed in many avian circles that birds in the wild consume clay to detox their systems from toxic foods they may consume. While this is partially correct, research has also revealed that birds in the wild consume clay for the sodium content. Now, I have found even more information why birds in the wild consume clay for the sodium it contains.
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Researchers were on the right track when they deduced birds consume clay to flush out toxins from their system. Clay contains negative ions that attract positive ions. Positive ions are what we all are exposed to from cell phones, computers, televisions and the wiring inside the walls of our homes and buildings along with many other sources of these harmful ions. The combination of positive ions and harmful bacteria are breeding grounds for illness including internal parasites. Heavy metals are even flushed from the system when clay is consumed due to the polarity of ions present in clay vs. the polarity of ions in toxins.
Dr. Donald Brightsmith and his Tambopata Research team deduced that birds in the wild flock to the clay licks for the sodium in the clay, soon after eating their servings of fruit. (Video– the very beginning mentions the eating of fruit; at 5:01 the discussion of sodium begins) After much research, I learned that sodium triggers the hydrolysis process (breaking down of dietary proteins and other nutrients). Sodium aids in the drawing out of gastric acids, in particular, hydrochloric acid that is so very necessary in proper digestion and metabolism of whole foods.
Additional research performed reveals that salt is probably the number one aid in reducing and eliminating internal parasites. Many of us have used herbs to reduce and eliminate parasites from our birds’ digestive tracts, but adding sodium from a highly nutritional source such as Terramin® Clayand/or Himalayan saltonly increases the effectiveness of all items used to reduce/eliminate parasites.
Plaque buildup in the digestive tract is what parasites feed on.(1) Many of our birds have plaque buildup in their digestive tracts due to crappy, highly processed diets too high in Omega 6s, improper calcium to magnesium ratio in their long-term diets, and added preservatives and flavorings such as MSG. Sodium cuts through the plaque depleting the digestive tract of bacteria and other harmful waste parasites feed on.
Sodium chloride (salt) is a halide. Halides perform specific functions in a living creature’s system, mainly to break down other nutrients and help maintain system alkalinity. However, halides are only required in the diet in miniscule amounts. The main halides are iodine, bromine, fluoride and chloride. Of all of these, chloride and iodine are probably the most important even though they should be consumed in small quantities. Current research indicates that most living creatures consume way too little iodine compared to an overabundance, to the point of toxicity of bromine and fluoride. By the way, bromide is used in many highly processed foods as an emulsifier, used in the manufacturing of carpets, cell phones, computers and many other sources. Flouride is found in municipal water sources and toothpaste. It’s easy to understand that both humans and their pets are exposed to way too much bromide and fluoride while the entire world is deficient in iodine. Furthermore, we have been misguided in thinking that salt is bad for us. As long as we are consuming the correct kind and level of sodium, it is healthy for both us and our pets!
It is for all of the benefits discussed above that Origins Wild Diet includes both Terramin® Clay in all of our daily diet foods. Also, we include tiny, trace amounts of Himalayan Salt in some of our foods and treats.
Not only does the Terramin® clay and Himalayan salt aid in flushing the system of potential toxins, but they also aid in the breakdown of dietary proteins and other nutrients for complete absorption, and furthermore they aid in the reduction and/or elimination of internal parasites. Clay is not only helpful in the event of breaking down proteins it is absolutely necessary for the ionization of calcium as well. As proteins are broken down the calcium is "unlocked" allowing it to pass through the gut walls and into the metabolic system for complete uptake and absorption.
No wonder birds in the wild instinctively know their body requires sodium from dirt and clay! All of the benefits that come from ingesting naturally occurring sodium found in clay and other natural sources of salt (never use table salt – it contains a lot of unnatural chemicals) are prime reasons we should be sure to add clay, specifically Terramin® clay and very small amounts of Himalayan salt to our bird’s overall diets.
Why Terramin®? Why Himalayan salt?
Terramin® clay is FDA approved for human consumption which makes it safe for our beloved companion birds. In addition, it is of the correct particle size for a bird’s digestive tract. Finally, Terramin® contains balanced naturally occurring trace minerals, and it contains a good ratio of calcium to magnesium, something that is not intrinsic in regular, white bentonite clays. In fact, many white bentonite clays are considered “industrial clays” used in the manufacturing of wallboard.
Himalayan salt is mined from the Himalayan mountain regions of Punjab, Pakistan; it is not salt mined from the ground which does not provide balanced trace minerals and is higher in sodium than Himalayan salt. We want to add a pinch of Himalayan salt every so often to our birds’ diets, but we don’t want to use a variety of salt that is extraordinarily high in sodium. Himalayan contains a multitude of other naturally occurring trace minerals to help balance the lower amount of sodium it contains vs. regular table salt. Also, Himalayan salt comes from pristine sources while Sea salt is derived from putrefied oceans where petroleum leaks into the waters from off-shore drilling.
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Ref: (1) https://askabiologist.asu.edu/plosable/isnt-it-ionic.