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Understanding Mineral Chelates- Mechanisms and Health Benefits
Published on: June 27, 2024

Understanding Mineral Chelates: Mechanisms and Health Benefits

Mineral chelates play a crucial role in nutrition, offering significant benefits over traditional inorganic minerals. Understanding the mechanisms behind chelation and its impact on health can help us make informed choices about dietary supplements and food fortification. In this blog, we will explore what mineral chelates are, how they work in the body, and the health advantages they provide.
Using chelated minerals in dietary supplements and foods enhances absorption efficiency. In this blog we will provide you a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms and health benefits of mineral chelates.  [1,2]

What Are Mineral Chelates?

Mineral chelates are organic forms of essential trace minerals like copper, iron, manganese, and zinc. Both humans and animals can absorb, digest, and utilize mineral chelates more effectively than inorganic minerals. This results in better efficacy, allowing for the use of lower concentrations. It is a natural process which is known as chelation. It helps in the gut to help transport nutritional minerals across the intestinal wall during digestion. However, only a small fraction of the nutrient undergoes chelation during digestion. [1,2,3]

What are the types of Mineral Chelates?

You will find various types of minerals in chelated forms-

The mentioned chelated minerals are typically produced using amino acids or organic acids.
Amino Acids
Here are the list of amino acids frequently used to produce mineral chelates: Aspartic acid: used in zinc aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and others.
Methionine: used in copper methionine, zinc methionine, and others.
Monomethionine: used in zinc monomethionine.
Lysine: used in calcium lysinate.
Glycine: used in magnesium glycinate.
Organic Acids
Here are the list of organic acids generally used to make mineral chelates:
Acetic acid: used in zinc acetate, calcium acetate, and others.
Citric acid: used in Ferric citrate, magnesium citrate, and more
Orotic acid: used in magnesium orotate, Calcium orotate etc.
Gluconic acid: used in iron gluconate, zinc gluconate, and more
Fumaric acid: used in iron (ferrous) fumarate.
Picolinic acid: used in chromium picolinate, manganese picolinate, and others. [1,3,4,]

chelated minerals and its benefits

Mechanisms of Mineral Chelation

What is Chelation Process?

The chelation process involves binding minerals to organic molecules, generally organic and amino acids. These acids form stable complexes known as chelates. This binding occurs through the formation of coordinate bonds, where the organic molecule donates electron pairs to the mineral ion. This process can be facilitated through synthetic methods in supplements or occur naturally in foods. The resulting chelated mineral is more stable and less likely to react with other compounds, making it easier for the body to handle and absorb. [3]

Role of Chelates in Absorption

Chelation increases the bioavailability of minerals. In the digestive tract, minerals can meet several inhibitors like phytates, oxalates, and tannins. These inhibitors reduce the absorption. Chelates protect minerals from these inhibitors by keeping them in a stable, soluble form. Additionally, the body often recognizes chelated minerals as peptides, which can be more readily absorbed through specific transport mechanisms in the intestinal lining. It also help in utilizing in the body.  [4]

Interaction with Body Systems

Once in the gastrointestinal system, mineral chelates interact optimally with the body’s absorption processes. The chelated form prevents precipitation and enhances the solubility of the minerals, ensuring they remain available for absorption. In the intestines, chelated minerals are absorbed through different pathways compared to non-chelated minerals, often using amino acid transporters.
This selective absorption mechanism helps to optimize mineral uptake, reduce competition with other minerals, and improve overall nutrient status. This interaction ensures that essential minerals reach their target tissues and organs more effectively, supporting various physiological functions.

Chelated Minerals Benefits

Enhanced Absorption and Targeted Health Benefits

When it comes to mineral supplements, not all are created equal. Chelated minerals stand out from the rest due to their enhanced bioavailability, reduced gastrointestinal irritation, and targeted health benefits.
Enhanced Mineral Absorption

Chelated minerals are bound to amino acids, making them more easily absorbed by the body. This enhanced bioavailability means that your body can utilize the minerals more effectively, leading to improved overall health and wellness. Reduced Gastrointestinal Irritation

Individuals with sensitive digestive systems often experience side effects from non-chelated minerals. Chelated minerals benefits are numerous and these APIs are gentler on the stomach, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal irritation and making them a great option for those who require mineral supplementation. [6]

Different chelated minerals offer specific health advantages:

Calcium Chelates: Most of the calcium chelates like Calcium bisglycinate support bone health and prevent osteoporosis.

Magnesium Chelates: Promote muscle function, heart health, and stress reduction like Magnesium bisglycinate.

Iron Chelates: Effectively treat iron deficiency anemia with fewer gastrointestinal issues like ferrous bisglycinate.

Copper Chelates: Enhance immune function and skin health like Copper bisglycinate/glycinate.

By incorporating chelated minerals into your supplement routine, you can experience the benefits of improved mineral absorption.
5. Mineral chelates and inorganic minerals have distinct differences in terms of bioavailability, side effects, and tolerability, making chelated minerals a preferred choice in dietary supplements. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

Bioavailability Comparison:

Mineral chelates: These are minerals bound to amino acids or other organic molecules, making them more easily absorbed by the body. Chelation enhances bioavailability, allowing for better utilization by the body. [6,7]

Inorganic minerals: These are minerals in their pure form, often found in rocks and soil. They have lower bioavailability and may not be easily absorbed by the body.

Side Effects and Tolerability:
Mineral chelates: Considered gentle on the stomach and less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects like constipation, diarrhea, or stomach cramps.
Inorganic minerals: May cause gastrointestinal side effects due to their poor absorption and potential irritation to the digestive system.

Efficiency in Supplementation:
Mineral chelates: Preferred in modern dietary supplements because they offer superior absorption and utilization by the body.
Inorganic minerals: Less effective as supplements due to their poor bioavailability and potential side effects.
Overall, mineral chelates are a more effective and tolerable choice for supplementation, ensuring that the body receives the essential minerals it needs to function optimally.

Applications of Mineral Chelates

Dietary Supplements
Mineral chelates are extensively used in nutritional supplements to enhance the bioavailability of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. These supplements help improve nutrient absorption, ensuring that the body receives the necessary minerals for optimal health.
Ferrous Bisglycinate is commonly used to treat iron deficiency anemia, providing an effective way to increase iron levels without causing common side effects like constipation or stomach upset.
Calcium chelate calcium bisglycinate is particularly beneficial for individuals who need to improve their calcium intake to support bone health, muscle function, and overall metabolic processes. [7]

Chelated minerals in animal nutrition

Chelated minerals in animal nutrition play a crucial role in improving the absorption and utilization of essential nutrients. This leads to better health, growth, and productivity in livestock, poultry, and pets. Copper and zinc bisglycinate are two major chelated minerals for animal nutrition. [8]


Mineral chelates are used in fertilizers to improve the availability of essential nutrients to plants. Chelated minerals help prevent nutrient deficiencies, promoting healthy plant growth, increased yields, and enhanced resistance to diseases. [6]

Medical Applications

In the medical field, mineral chelates are utilized in treatments for mineral deficiencies and related conditions. For example, iron chelates are often prescribed to treat iron deficiency anemia due to their superior absorption and reduced gastrointestinal side effects.

Food Fortification

Mineral chelates are added to fortified foods and beverages to enhance their nutritional value. This application helps address mineral deficiencies in the general population, particularly in regions where dietary intake of essential minerals is inadequate. Fortified foods with chelated minerals provide targeted health benefits. [5]

Sports Nutrition

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts use supplements containing mineral chelates to support muscle function, energy production, and recovery. Chelated minerals are preferred for their high absorption rates and reduced risk of gastrointestinal discomfort.

Cosmetic Products

In cosmetics, mineral chelates are incorporated into skincare and haircare products for their stability and bioavailability. They help improve the delivery of essential minerals to the skin and hair, promoting health and appearance.

Pharmaceutical Formulations

Mineral chelates are used in pharmaceutical formulations to enhance the efficacy and absorption of mineral-based medications. This application ensures that patients receive the maximum therapeutic benefits from their treatments.

Choosing the Right Mineral Chelates

While choosing chelated minerals, one should consider the quality of the product, ensuring it is from a reputable manufacturer with verified chelation processes. A fully reacted chelate is a mineral amino acid chelate where all bonds between the ligand (amino acid) and the mineral are completely formed. At West Bengal Chemical Industries Limited, we ensure our mineral products are fully reacted chelates by utilizing Fast-Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. This advanced technology accurately identifies and verifies the bonds between the ligand and the mineral, guaranteeing that chelation has taken place. [3,4]
Our rigorous process ensures that each batch of minerals has the correct molecular structure to confirm complete chelation. We are proud to provide our consumers with the clinically proven benefits of true chelated minerals.
WBCIL produces these proven, fully reacted mineral chelates under tightly controlled conditions, using specific manufacturing processes and state-of-the-art facilities to ensure the highest quality.


Understanding the mechanisms and health benefits of mineral chelates reveals their superior bioavailability and reduced gastrointestinal irritation compared to inorganic minerals. Whether used in dietary supplements, animal nutrition, agriculture, or medical applications, chelated minerals provide enhanced absorption and targeted health benefits. By choosing high-quality chelated minerals tailored to specific health needs; you can ensure optimal nutrient intake and overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions on: Understanding Mineral Chelates: Mechanisms and Health Benefits
What are mineral chelates?

Mineral chelates are minerals bound to organic molecules like amino acids or organic acids to enhance their stability and absorption in the body.

How do mineral chelates improve absorption?

Mineral chelates improve absorption by mimicking the natural way minerals are absorbed in the intestines. It helps reducing interactions with other dietary compounds that can inhibit absorption.

Are mineral chelates better than regular mineral supplements?

Yes! mineral chelates are generally considered better than regular mineral supplements due to their enhanced bioavailability and reduced gastrointestinal side effects.

Which foods contain natural mineral chelates?

Foods rich in natural mineral chelates include leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and animal proteins, as they naturally contain minerals bound to organic molecules.

What are the benefits of calcium chelate?

Calcium chelate provides better absorption and utilization in the body, promoting bone health and preventing deficiencies more effectively than non-chelated calcium supplements.

How do I know if a supplement contains mineral chelates?

To identify if a supplement contains mineral chelates, check the label for terms like “chelate,” “amino acid chelate,” or specific chelated forms such as “magnesium glycinate/bisglycinate” or “zinc aspartate.”

What are the side effects of mineral chelates?

Common side effects of mineral chelates may include mild gastrointestinal issues such as nausea or diarrhea, but they are generally well-tolerated compared to non-chelated forms.

Can mineral chelates help with iron deficiency anemia?

Yes, mineral chelates, particularly iron chelates, are highly effective in treating iron deficiency anemia due to their improved absorption and reduced gastrointestinal side effects.

Are mineral chelates safe for children?

Mineral chelates are generally safe for children when taken as directed, but it’s important to consult a healthcare provider to ensure appropriate dosing and safety.

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