Chelated Minerals: The Most Absorbable Supplement Form

27. 6. 2024
Reviewed by Mgr. Kristýna Dvořáková
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Chelated Minerals: The Most Absorbable Supplement Form
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Minerals in the chelated bond form are becoming increasingly recognised by dietary supplement users, including both athletes and the general non‑sporting population. Despite this growing awareness, there is still a lot of hype and confusion surrounding them that needs to be clarified. That's why you're about to read the most comprehensive article on chelated minerals yet. Attention, we are starting!

Mineral or trace element?

Minerals are a common part of living organisms, including the human body. They play many important roles in the human body. Minerals are involved in the transmission of nerve impulses, are part of some of our tissues and hormones, and act as biocatalysts for most chemical reactions in our bodies. We can divide them into two major groups.

Mineral substances (macroelements) - The main representatives of this group are minerals whose intake exceeds 100mg per day. These include the well‑known calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, chlorine and sulphur.

Trace elements  -This group includes minerals whose daily requirement does not exceed 100mg. Most often, their intake is in the order of tens and units of milligrams, or even lower, in the range of tens to hundreds of micrograms (μg). Examples include iron, zinc, copper, selenium and iodine.

Iron Bisglycinate + Vitamic C

Chelated Iron Bisglycinate and Vitamic C Capsules

Organic vs inorganic forms

Minerals and trace elements are not consumed as separate substances in our diet. These elements are highly reactive, so we encounter them through their salts, which can be either inorganic or organic in origin.

  1. Inorganic form: These are salts of minerals such as oxides, chlorides, sulfates, carbonates or phosphates.

  2. Organic form: These are compounds of an organic origin, such as citrate, fumarate, gluconate, lactate, picolinate, threonate or bisglycinate.

The main difference between these two groups is their origin. Inorganic forms usually have physicochemical properties that make them less absorbable from the digestive tract into the blood, whereas organic forms generally achieve much higher absorption and thus availability to our organism.

Magnesium Bisglycinate

Chelated Magnesium Bisglycinate Capsules

Chelates as the most absorbable minerals

The organic forms of minerals include those in chelate form, which differ significantly from other forms. The name chelate comes from the Greek word "cheilos," meaning "claw." When a mineral combines with certain substances capable of chelation, such as specific amino acids, it produces an amino acid‑mineral‑amino acid complex, which is usually shaped like claws or pincers. This complex forms a highly absorbable form of mineral that outperforms other forms.

However, the chelate bond is advantageous in that it also protects the absorption of the mineral from certain dietary influences, such as the current intake of phytates, fibre, tannins and phosphates. These substances can hinder the absorption of minerals in other forms.

By far the most widely used form of chelate nowadays is bisglycinate (two amino acids of glycine), which binds the desired mineral atom. We can thus encounter bisglycinate forms of magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese, or copper.

Zinc Bisglycinate

Chelated Zinc Bisglycinate Capsules

Bottom Line

Mineral chelates are much more beneficial to the body and more easily absorbed than other organic and inorganic forms of minerals. This should play a major role in choosing s dietary supplement containing minerals and trace elements. Therefore, look for products that contain minerals in the form of bisglycinate, or at least in readily absorbable organic forms (citrate, fumarate, threonate, gluconate).

In the case of magnesium, the current gold standard is magnesium bisglycinate, and in the case of zinc, it is zinc bisglycinate.

Minerals and trace elements in chelates are the most absorbable and safe forms authorised by European Union legislation for use in food supplements.

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