How Chelated Minerals Work in the Body

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Interviewer: You mentioned some foods, what are the difference between a mineral from a chelated form and just from a food source in terms of how our bodies processes? 

Max R. Motyka: Here's the thing mattering on the food. Typical your vegetables and fruits and things like that. The form of the mineral is going to be basically, an inorganic type of material more of a salt type form. The absorption from those foods of that type of mineral are usually lower. However, if you take an eat fish or beef or chicken most of the mineral in those forms would be in some type of chelated form. Typically, the absorption rate in say a hamburger would be better than the absorption rate from broccoli because of that. 

Interviewer: How does your body recognize a chelate and what happens when you take on internally?  

Max: Here's the thing. It's not so much quote, "that your body recognizes" it's the way the chelate is from a chemical standpoint if you will because I was talking about the way it was formed and I mentioned the word stability constant. The chelate stability constant is such that it can go through the stomach and not break apart.

That's important because this is what leads to the chelate not having the typical side effects that you would get from ferrous sulfate, things like that, because those things quote, "ionize" come apart in the stomach. The ionized iron causes people to get the side effects that people might complain about gastric upset, things like that. Zinc, for instance, has a high instance of nausea inducement when you take it in a non-chelated form. Then, the chelate stays intact for a longer period of times.  It doesn't react to cause side effects, but also typically people like to take their supplements with a meal. If you take it with breakfast it's going to have cereal possibly, which has phytates and other vegetables have things that oxalates.

These things bind to, like I mentioned, ferrous sulfate ionizes, these things will grab on also eventually to that charged iron and cause it not to be absorbed. Interfere with absorption because the chelates is intact further down it does not get its absorption interfered with by what you're taking in as food.  Then, once the chelate gets to a certain point it doesn't necessarily completely ionize. It will start to ionize and then at the mucosa of the gut, which is the lining of your intestine that you have to be absorbed across, the chelate will give up the lig and the glycine or whatever and go through the mucosa wall at that point and we have the absorption. The other thing about this is the chelate has a longer part of the intestine to be absorbed in because of its chemistry.

So you can get greater absorption and you're not going to have the charged iron or magnesium or calcium that's not absorbed because you're not going to absorb a 100 percent, as you know of anything. So any not absorbed iron or whatever that's free, that's what's causing the side effects. Since you're not doing a whole lot of ionization if you will of ferrous bisglycinate or Ferrochel iron chelate, so side effects are lower.  In fact, that's one of the things that I hear most often about people who are, especially people who are expecting, they take prenatal vitamins that have iron and women often have different gastric problems during pregnancy. The last thing they need to do is to be taking a supplement that's going to further cause gastric side effects and I've had people who told me they cannot take iron. It causes them to become constipated. They get uncomfortable feelings in their GI tract. They go and take Ferrochel or ferrous bisglycinate chelate, they say it's a miracle, I can't believe I can take this form of iron.  The doctor's like it because they get better compliance from their patients when they use that type of iron because the side effects are so small, yet the absorption is very good. We've got a lot of clinical studies out there that have been done over the years, demonstrating the various advantages of the true chelates.

Interviewer: So part of what you're talking about bioavailability and how much better does your body absorb the chelates better than maybe different supplements?

Max: Absolutely, and it's all related to the chelate structure. The fact that it has a greater portion of the GI tract to be absorbed and it's's a controversy. Some people say some portion of the chelate is absorbed intact and there is some evidence of that, but for the most part, it's when it's transferred across the mucosa lining into the mucosa cell it absorbs themselves. That's where the separation takes place.  The chelate gives you higher bioavailability, better tolerance, less GI interaction with other foods and medications. Iron for instance, will interfere with ferrous forms that are ionized will interfere with the absorption of certain drugs. For instance, one is called Lanoxin or Digoxin, which is medication for your heart and it's know that iron charged ionized iron will decrease the percent absorption of that medication, which is not a good thing. It's that ionized part that causes that.
How are chelated minerals different than those from a food source and what does the body do with them? Max Motyka describes the characteristics of chelates as well as what happens to them when ingested. He discusses absorption and other potential benefits of chelates as well.

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