17 Sep 2007
The word "chelate" is derived from the Greek word "chele" which means claw. Originally, it referred to the clamping down of a crab's claw. Its relationship to chelated minerals refers to the action of one or more amino acids (proteins) attaching itself and completely surrounding a mineral. A new complex has now been formed in this protective coating. The quality of this coating varies from product to product, and that old saying "you get what you pay for" is true.
When ingesting a tablet or capsule of a commercially prepared chelated mineral product, the initial environment is stomach acid. In the acidic medium many of the less expensive, poor quality tablets tend to fall apart completely. This causes the protective chelate coating to be destroyed and the mineral to be prematurely released and possibly destroyed.
The HCL (Hydrochloric acid) medium is the stomach disintegrates a capsule in about two minutes. A tablet takes about fifteen minutes. In that time, the chelate coating is broken away and ionizes the mineral allowing it to go free. The mineral may then react with anything in the vicinity and not reach the small intestines. Therefore, it can't be properly absorbed and utilized.
It is therefore essential to purchase mineral supplements that have been chelated with a pH sensitive amino acid coating of milk solids and not amino acids from vegetable proteins (which tend to break down faster) to protect them.
A high percentage of mineral supplements when ingested may not provide the actual amount of that product you are expecting to obtain because of this problem. Before chelated minerals are sold, larger doses of minerals were prescribed to offset the percentage of destruction that occurred before the body had a change to utilize the mineral.