Minerals: Chelated, Colloidal and Ionized
Chelated basically means “firmly attached.” Chelated minerals are minerals which are usually attached to an amino acid or other organic “living” component so that the two do not separate in the digestive system. Scientists developed Chelated Minerals because most people don’t eat properly to receive the amount of minerals necessary for good health. It is believed by some that chelated minerals are better absorbed than non-chelated minerals. With certain minerals like chromium or zinc, this is quite possibly the case. However, in most cases chelated and non-chelated minerals have the same rate of absorption.
How are Chelated Mineral Supplements Made?
Chelation, when referring to mineral supplements, is a very specific type of chelation. Basically, the mineral ion is bound to another component which is usually an organic “living” compound or amino acid which will make it easier for the mineral to be absorbed through the intestine into the bloodstream. This method of delivering minerals bypasses the natural pathway used for ionic “living” mineral absorption. Ionic minerals are “naturally” chelated by our body once they are absorbed by the intestinal membrane.
Only a specific chelate can bypass digestion and not separate from its attached mineral(s) as it is absorbed through the stomach. All chelated minerals are not made with the same binding component. If the label lists one of these chelates, it means the mineral is bound either too tightly or not tightly enough, and will be released improperly. Chelation of minerals to be used as nutritional supplements is a very precise science. The following is a list of substandard chelates, or binding agents, which are used by some manufacturers because they are cheaper to produce:
Definition of colloid, per Random House Dictionary:
- Colloidal system, one in which a finely divided solid is suspended in a liquid: such colloids range from solutions to gels.
- A colloidal suspension
- A substance that when suspended in a liquid will not diffuse easily through vegetable or animal membrane.
Colloidal minerals are simply extra-small mineral particles suspended in a solution. Colloidal minerals, which have been described by some as “mud” or “crushed rocks,” are sold as elixirs, capsules, and oral sprays. It has been stated that colloidal minerals are so small that they require no effort to be absorbed. The hype behind the colloidal minerals tells us that the particles are so small that they absorb directly into your body’s tissues. Yet, by definition, we are told that colloidal substances…. “will not diffuse easily through vegetable or animal membrane. ”
How are Colloidal Minerals Made?
Soaking specific types of pulverized shale in water allows some of the shale’s organic matter to dissolve, creating a liquid that is termed a shale leachate. “Colloidal mineral supplements” are nothing more than shale leachates. Fine particles, which do not dissolve, are also suspended in these leachates. At least some, if not all, of Colloidal Mineral elixirs are water-leached from carbonaceous shales mined from the Emery coalfield of Emery County in central Utah. The organic matter in the shales of the coalfied is essentially the same as the organic matter that composes purer coal. The organic matter in the shales and coals originated as plant material that accumulated in wetlands and bogs.
After being mined, this carbonaceous shale is crushed and then soaked in water. After a period of time, perhaps 3 to 4 weeks, the water (leachate) is filtered off, bottled, and marketed as a “colloidal mineral supplement.” Colloidal minerals are promoted to be absorbed at a rate of up to 98%. There is no scientific documentation on colloidal mineral absorption. Colloidal minerals are not readily absorbed by the body due to the absence of an electrical charge and their relatively large size, unlike other mineral forms. By definition, a colloidal mineral is that mineral finely divided and suspended in a liquid. Why suspended? Why not dissolved?
Because the mineral forms in the colloidal minerals are not soluble. When a mineral form is dissolved in a liquid, it then exists in its smallest possible form – either as a part of a bioavailable molecule or as a positively charged atom (cation). When the other mineral forms present themselves to the absorptive surfaces of the intestine, they are in their smallest possible form or liquid form. Colloidal minerals are much larger in size than other mineral forms. It is argued that colloidal mineral forms are more easily dispersed in the body; however, this does not improve their absorption. In fact, it is necessary for the body to break these minerals down into smaller constituents in order for them to be absorbed.
An ion is a part of a molecule that has either a positive or a negative charge. A positively charged ion will seek a negatively charged one to react with and to turn into a new compound.
Colloidal vs Ionized Minerals
Colloidal minerals are suspended in a liquid, ionized minerals are DISSOLVED in it! Ionized minerals are more easily absorbed into our blood stream and body cells. Ionized (ionic) minerals are smaller particles than colloidal minerals. A better way to get your macro and trace minerals is in ionized form, the form in which plants and mammals are designed to absorb inorganic minerals. To be absorbed, minerals must be reduced to the ionized state (charged particles of elemental minerals). If minerals are received in this form, they are immediately absorbed without intermediate processing.
Converting minerals requires stomach acid – something in which many people, and particularly the elderly, tend to be deficient. Clinical research have shown very clearly that ionized forms of minerals are the ones that the body is able to selectively absorb and utilize. Ionic minerals easily come apart in a watery environment and become either positively charged or negatively charged. The body is very discriminatory. The body knows when it needs minerals in greater amounts and when that happens, the body reaches out for those minerals. The density of the transporter proteins goes up on the intestinal cell surface and the body is actually looking for those minerals.
How are minerals transported to cells?
When mineral compounds are consumed in food, the body must somehow absorb the minerals from the digestive tract and make them available to the tissues and cells where they are needed. The process is not a simple one. The minerals cannot simply diffuse into our tissues and through cell membranes into the interior of cells – if they could, their concentrations would fluctuate in accordance with whatever amounts of minerals we happen to consume at any given time. Instead, the mineral-containing compounds (or ionized mineral atoms taken from these compounds) are transported into (or out of) cells by transporter proteins – molecular devices embedded in cell membranes that recognize the minerals and allow only certain kinds to pass through the membranes.
This system permits cells and tissues to regulate their internal concentrations of minerals. Now those transporters bind those minerals tightly but they need to be ionized. The transporter picks up an ionized form [of the mineral], binds it and immediately pulls it in and then it goes into the bloodstream and is carried to where it is needed. Whatever the charge of a mineral, it still needs to get through a dense, negative charge on the surface of the intestinal cell and it may be that negative charge is designed to keep out certain undesirable agents including undesirable minerals. Transporters have such a high affinity that once an ionized form of a mineral can get into the region, the transporter will pick it up. Essential minerals are absorbed in their ionic form ranging from 20 to 90 percent depending on how hungry your body is for the mineral at that time.