Now that most city water supplies have fluoride the problem of giving birds iodine supplements has become acute. The trouble with fluoridation is that fluorine tends to rob the body of iodine. For years now we have been told how essential iodine is to the living body. And that certain locations are deficient in the vital trace element. But now we are making matters worse still, by adding fluoride too our water supplies. It is the very nature of fluorine to rob the tissues of iodine. This is one of its inherent chemical properties, the way it reacts with iodine, if we may use the term. Iodine is of course essential for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, which is a very important organ. It is particularly important during the moult. The more fluoride there is in the water, the less iodine there is, within limits of course.

Birds that are suffering from a lack of Iodine produce clear eggs and chicks die in the shell they have difficulty moulting and some have breathing problems. They also have reduced activity and sing less if at all, and the bird is usually overweight. The chicks that do survive are apt to be under sized and of poor quality and longevity.

In Australia there is a product called Soluvet which comes in Liquid form or powder. This is a mineral supplement specifically for Birds.

Prepared by: Tim Myles 2005
- from a publication by the Vancouver Island Bird Society & by Sibylle Faye AvianWeb:

Some members face thyroid problems with their birds. There isn't much information on the Internet on this condition specifically affecting birds. Yet, the below information may be transferable to avian patients and help you and your vet in addressing the problem.

Herbs supportive of the Thyroid function are: Mullien, parsley, kelp, black walnut, Irish moss, bayberry, white oak bark, skullcap, black cohosh, sage (gets rid of toxins). As well as Kelp. (There has been some controversy about Kelp containing some toxic components maybe caused by polluted waters. Discuss this with your vet.) The seaweed Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) has been used in the past, and whilst it has much to offer it is only truly specific where an iodine deficiency is present.

A cause of hypothyroidism, more common outside of the US, is iodine deficiency.1 Iodine, which must be supplied by the diet, is an essential component of thyroid hormone. If there is insufficient iodine available in the diet, enough thyroid hormone cannot be produced, and this leads to hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is an under-activity of the thyroid resulting in too little production of thyroid hormone. Although it may be caused by a variety of diseases that affect the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, this condition is due primarily to disorders of the thyroid gland itself. Inadequate secretion of thyroid hormone leads to a general slowing of all physical and mental processes. There is a general depression of most cellular enzyme systems and oxidative processes, and as metabolic activity of all cells of the body decreases, reducing oxygen consumption, decreasing oxidation of nutrients for energy and producing less body heat.

The signs and symptoms, all resulting from the slowing of metabolism, range from non-specific complaints to severe symptoms that may be life threatening if unrecognised and untreated ... The thyroid gland may enlarge, producing a goiter in the neck.

Selenium Deficiency and Hypothyroidism

Dr. Havashida raised the topic of a relationship between selenium deficiency and hypothyroidism. T4 deficiency can occur in several ways. It is often associated with dietary iodine inadequacy, commonly exacerbated by goitrogens in water or food supplies (Matovinovic, 1983). Goitre also may occur in individuals consuming excess iodine. To illustrate, in China, it is associated with drinking water containing > 300 micrograms/litre of iodine or the consumption of large quantities of seaweed (Tan et al, 1990). Depressed serium T4 levels, however, are not necessarily accompanied by below normal serum T3. When severe iodine inadequacy is present, serum T3 tends to remain stable, or may even rise as T4 levels drop (Pharoah et al, 1976). This relationship occurs because T3 contains less iodine, weight for weight, than does T4. It is, however, more metabolically active and hence is produced by the thyroid when iodine is scarce (Hatzel, 1989). Only in extreme iodine deficiency, when there is inadequate iodine even to produce T3, does its level decline. However, the T4 to T3 conversion requires the catalytic selenoenzyme iodothyroninedeiodinase. As a consequence, T4 and T3 deficiencies together are commonest in individuals living in environments depleted in both iodine and selenium. In contrast, depressed T3, without unusually low serum T4, is a characteristic of the populations of regions where diets contain adequate iodine, but lack selenium. Furthermore, animal studies suggest that just as excess iodine consumption results in lowered serum T4 levels, an elevated intake of seleniummay depress serum T3 (Benheet al, 1992).

Kelp: Kelp contains nearly thirty minerals, which nourish the glands (especially the thyroid and pituitary). By enhancing the action of the glandular system, it helps balance the body's metabolism and rate at which it burns calories. Kelp, also known as seaweed, grows in the rich ocean beds, far below surface pollution levels. Because of its high nutrient content, this herb is reputedly beneficial for a wide range of applications. It is known to nourish the sensory nerves, brain membranes, also spinal cord and brain tissue. Kelp contains alginic acid which can help protect the body against the effects of radiation. " Regarding Kelp Toxicity: This is a controversial subject and I would recommend discussing it with a vet who is knowledgeable in alternative medicine. On the Internet I found the following information ( - Please note that they are mostly talking about effect on humans -- there's little research on its effect on birds; yet, I find it to be interesting and potentially valuable: "Kelp has no known toxicity. [In fact, it is effective in treating aluminium toxicity! Kelp has a balanced mineral content and acts as a detoxifier of excess metals. (

The degraded carrageenan, derived from two red seaweed's (Irish moss), has been implicated in causing colonic lesions in rats, but none of the brown seaweeds or their derivatives have been found to be carcinogenic. Even Irish Moss, if ingested in whole, i.e, non-degraded, form is perfectly safe, since it is non-absorbable.

Some kelp species are known for their relatively high arsenic content; however, extensive testing has found the arsenic, although certainly present, is in biologically unavailable form.

Recently, four men were fed different kinds of seaweed in order to monitor the urinary excretion of arsenic. For kelp, 100 % of the ingested arsenic was excreted in the urine within 60 hours, providing further evidence for the biological inertness of arsenic in seaweed. Thus brown seaweed appears to be neither carcinogenic nor toxic."

Sibylle Faye AvianWeb: