You may have heard the term "chelated minerals" and wondered what they are. Chelated minerals can be thought of as a mineral that has been wrapped in another molecule to protect it from being excreted by your body. The chelator wraps around the mineral and attaches to an amino acid, such as glycine or glutamine, for example. This process helps keep the mineral stable inside your gastrointestinal tract so you will absorb more of it than if it were non-chelated.
Minerals are crucial for optimum health, but they are difficult for the body to absorb. Minerals affect bone health, muscle health and many other bodily functions.
Consumers are getting more and more educated on what they are buying, putting into their bodies and want to get value out of what they are choosing. If you knew that your multivitamin used more bioavailable (better absorbed) ingredients, would that make a difference in your choice of supplement?
Are Chelated Minerals More Expensive Than Non-Chelated Minerals?
Chelated minerals are more expensive than non-chelated minerals because they have gone through an additional process. However, chelating a mineral helps your body absorb the nutrient better so you actually use less of it in order to get the same benefits as its cheaper counterpart. It's also important to note that if you're supplementing with high doses of zinc, magnesium or calcium then it is often preferable to purchase chelated forms rather than regular supplements containing these nutrients since their absorption rates are lower and your body may excrete more of the non-chelated versions.
What Minerals Are Chelated?
Some of the more common minerals available in chelated form are calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, molybdenum, chromium magnesium and cobalt. Not all chelates, however, are created equal. And the body has the ability to create its own chelated minerals but it is not very effective in doing so. That is why you find chelated minerals in quality supplements.
What Are The Benefits Of Chelated Minerals?
Absorption is the most talked about benefit of using chelated minerals.
One study with 15 adult participants found that chelated zinc (as zinc citrate and zinc gluconate) was absorbed 11% more effectively than non-chelated zinc (as zinc oxide).
Another study in 30 adults noted that magnesium glycerophosphate (chelated) raised blood magnesium levels significantly more than magnesium oxide (non-chelated).
There is also research that indicates that taking chelated minerals may reduce the total amount you need to consume to reach healthy blood levels. This is important for people at risk of taking too much of a mineral, such as iron toxicity. An example of this is a study of 300 infants, giving 0.34 mg per pound of body weight (0.75 mg per kg) of iron bisglycinate (chelated) daily raised blood iron levels to levels similar to those caused by 4 times that amount of iron sulfate (non-chelated)
Another benefit that some experience is that people who may have stomach pain after taking supplements could benefit from chelated minerals as they are less dependent on stomach acid for digestion. Remember, the chelated minerals are wrapped and smuggled into your body so they have a better chance of being absorbed before excreted.
The next time you pick up a multivitamin or any supplement containing minerals, check to see if any are chelated. If there are chelated minerals in the product, that supplement company spent more money to make the product more bioavailable. Remember, minerals are key nutrients to support optimum health. We all need them. Is it worth paying for a supplement that has a better chance of being absorbed and not just flushed away?