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Chelation (key-lay-shun) refers to the process during which minerals, such as calcium or selenium, are bound to an amino acid or peptide. The word chelated comes from the root word khele, which is Greek for “claw.” The mineral is bound to another substance, making it more readily absorbed by the body.

Chelation is also a natural process that happens in the gut to facilitate the transportation of nutritional minerals across the intestinal wall during digestion. However, during digestion, only a relatively small portion of the nutrient will be chelated in the gut. Utilizing chelated forms of the minerals in dietary supplements and foods will improve the efficiencies of absorption.

Chelates are organic forms of essential trace minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, and zinc.

Both humans and animals absorb, digest, and use mineral chelates better than inorganic minerals. This means better efficacy, while at the same time, lower concentrations can be used.

There are three main categories of chelates:

  • Chelates are organic molecules that generally consist of 2 organic parts with an essential trace mineral occupying a central position and held in place by covalent bonding.
  • Proteinates are a particular type of chelate in which the mineral is chelated with short-chain peptides and amino acids derived from hydrolyzed soy proteins.
  • Amino-acid complexes, such as glycinates and methionates, are types of chelates in which the mineral is chelated with an amino acid.
  • Several minerals are essential for health. Without these minerals, the body cannot build bones, create new blood cells, or maintain an effective immune system.
  • When selecting a multivitamin or mineral dietary supplement, many consumers look for supplements that include chelated minerals. This is particularly the case for calcium and magnesium. Calcium citrate, for example, is widely believed to be more readily absorbed than straight calcium.
  • Chelated minerals may be essential as a person ages. As people age, stomach acid strength may decrease, which could lead to poorer absorption of minerals.

Chelated minerals are thought to be more digestible than the nonchelated forms. In other words, chelation is believed to make the minerals more bioavailable, able to be absorbed, by shielding them from the effects of other dietary elements in the digestive tract.

When selecting a multivitamin or mineral dietary supplement, many consumers look for supplements that include chelated minerals. This is particularly the case for calcium and magnesium. Calcium citrate, for example, is widely believed to be more readily absorbed than straight calcium.

Chelated minerals may be essential as a person ages. As people age, stomach acid strength may decrease, which could lead to poorer absorption of minerals.
 

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