Expert Nutrition

Chelated Minerals

Are chelated minerals better then mineral salts?

Chelated minerals are those which are chemically bonded to amino acids or organic acids which assist in the mineral’s absorption. These chelated minerals mimic the natural mineral chelates that form during the digestion process making them subjective to less competition and therefore are more readily absorbed and utilized by the body. Research suggests that minerals that come in the chelated form have greater bioavailability than the less expensive mineral salts, with the exception of iodine.

Minerals joined to organic acids such as citrate, malate, succinate, alpha-ketoglutarate and aspartate are also believed to be preferentially absorbed as these organic acids are essential to the metabolic pathway of the cell. Consequently, they are selectively absorbed through the gut, along with the attached mineral (which piggybacks along for the ride).

Beware of the Chelated Pretenders!

A word of caution about chelated minerals, many companies promote the use of hydrolysed proteins, or “proteinates” as their form of mineral chelates. Proteinates are nothing more than minerals that are joined to large proteins. The problem with these large proteins is that they must first be broken down into amino acids and as such they loose the bound mineral making them subject to the same competition as the less expensive mineral salts.

In summary as a general rule when looking to buy mineral supplements, minerals in the chelated form will be more bioavailable to the body than the cheaper mineral salts. These supplements can be identified by reading the nutritional information panel. The exception to the rule is iodine which is best supplemented as a mineral salt.

1. MacWilliam, L.D. Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. Northern Dimensions Publishing, 2005.
2. Mann, J., Truswell, S. Essentials of Human Nutrition. Oxford Medical Publications, New York. 2000.

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