THE IMPORTANCE OF VITAMIN B IN THE PARROT DIET Function and Sources
by Saly Blanchard
Basic information: Vitamin B is mostly associated with proper nerve function but can also be associated with other health problems. There are several B vitamins and they are all necessary for good health. It is important to get these vitamins from fresh foods and not pellets or supplementation.» Vitamin B1 - Thiamin» Vitamin B2 - Riboflavin Vitamin B1 and B2 help with various functions throughout the body especially involving muscles, heart, and nerves. These vitamins are also essential in producing energy. B1 is found in whole grains, cereals, potatoes, and some beans. The main source for B2 in parrots is leafy greens and digestible dairy products like yogurt and white cheeses. Both Thiamine and Riboflavin are heat sensitive and may be reduced in cooking and in extruded pellets that are heated at a very high temperature in processing.» Vitamin B3 - Niacin Niacin helps keep the skin, nervous system, and digestive system healthy and produces energy in the cells. Sources for parrots include well-cooked chicken, nuts, whole grains, and cooked dried beans. » Vitamin B5 - Pantothenic acid Pantothenic acid is needed for normal growth and development. Vitamin B5 is found in most fresh foods.» Vitamin B6 - Pyridoxine Pyridoxine keeps the red blood cells, nervous system and parts of the immune system healthy. It also helps the body break down protein to make it usable by the body. In the parrot diet, B6 is found in fish, chicken, potatoes, wheat germ, bananas, and cooked dried beans.» Vitamin B7 - Biotin Helps the body make hormones and to break down protein and carbohydrates. Biotin is made by intestinal bacteria and is found in egg yolks, bananas, watermelon, and grapefruit (too acidic too feed to parrots often). » Vitamin B9 - Folate (Folic acid) Folate is important in the proper production of red blood cells and also helps the body make and maintain DNA. For parrots, folate is found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, peas, cooked dried beans, and whole wheat bread. Folate is heat sensitive and may be reduced in cooking and in extruded pellets that are heated at a very high temperature in processing. » Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin B12 is important for proper growth and development, healthy nervous system function, production of blood cells, and the body's proper use of folic acid and carbohydrates. For parrots, vitamin B12 is found in eggs, lean cooked meat, well-cooked poultry, and digestible milk products such as plain yogurt.