VITAMIN C IN PARROT DIETFunctions, Sources, and Comments
by Sally Blanchard
Basic information: It is believed that healthy parrots manufacture their own vitamin C and it is, therefore supposedly not needed in a parrot's diet. However, fruits and veggies that have vitamin C also have other essential nutrients like phytonutrients and bioflavonoids that are important for a parrot's health. Parrots with some health problems may not be able to manufacture vitamin C.
It is not a problem to feed vitamin C rich foods a few times a week. Most fruits have good amounts of vitamin C with sweet red pepper and oranges being the highest. Other good sources include tomatoes, green peppers, kiwifruit, strawberries (organic are best), Brussel sprouts, and cantaloupe.
Vitamin C is a vitamin that is needed to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in bones. It is also important to help heal the body. It is an antioxidant that seems to help protect cells from free radicals. These are molecules that are produced when the body metabolizes food or is exposed to toxins like radiation, and cigarette smoke. It is believed that free radicals can be a causative factor in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.
One problem is that vitamin C can help the body to unlock and store the iron in from foods. Since too much iron may cause iron storage disease in some parrots, it is a good idea to be careful about feeding too much high vitamin C foods, especially at the same time that you feed foods that are high in iron like some leafy greens.
Please also read the articles on Iron Storage Disease and Phytonutrients with links at the bottom of this article.