Health & Wellness Facts


Categories: Nutrition

In an earlier Nutrition Facts Article on minerals, I discussed what chelation was and its importance for improved bioavailability of minerals in a diet. Now I would like to dig deeper into this subject by examining things like antagonistic interactions, diet efficiency, environmental concerns, and impurities.

Certain minerals are essential in our daily diet, and the same is true for our pets. These minerals must be present and at balanced levels to maintain a healthy, high quality of life. The mineral requirements are based on historical research and reviews of current studies published in scientific animal and veterinary journals, which are then reviewed by the National Research Council. They, in turn, are incorporated into regulations and guidelines by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

In pet food, certain minerals essential to the diet can have an antagonistic interaction with one or more of the other minerals in the same recipe. Therefore, to avoid this from occurring, the formulation must be precise. An example is calcium and phosphorus; both are essential, but an excess of either can interfere with the absorption of the other. Another instance is calcium and zinc; a surplus level of calcium can decrease the absorption of zinc. Likewise, an excess of dietary copper can affect the absorption of iron from the intestine, causing anemia. By using combinations of minerals (chelated or proteinated), we reduce interactions and improve absorption, thus aiding in reaching optimal health. Also, by using chelated or proteinated minerals (versus inorganic minerals), we enhance the bioavailability at the cellular level by as much as 30% to 50%.

Due to concerns over contamination of soil and water, some countries are starting to regulate the inclusion of certain minerals over fears of excess minerals excreted as waste. The result in using organic minerals means less energy is used by the pet to convert any excessive and undigested portion of inorganic minerals (non-proteinated/chelated) into waste. By reducing these inorganic minerals, we achieve a healthier environment.

Inorganic minerals are essentially salts, meaning that the minerals element is attached with another element to form a salt such as sulfur or oxide.  Laboratory analysis has shown that these forms of the minerals can come with impurities, usually heavy metals. These heavy metals can be harmful to pets if ingested and accumulate in the body to higher than allowed levels.  A familiar heavy metal found in some inorganic mineral supplements is lead, which is not an essential nutrient and is considered a major environmental pollutant. High levels of lead can be toxic in both humans and animals. Studies with companion pets have shown similar health effects of lead as those observed in humans, such as blood disorders, brain development, and heart problems.

When it comes to mineral choices, proteinated and chelated organic trace minerals are a better choice. They are far less likely to have a negative impact on essential nutrients than inorganic sources. Nutritionists must pay greater attention to their selection of ingredients and where those ingredients are sourced. This awareness will not only aid in environmental concerns but will maximize nutrition as well as aid in the quality and stability of pet food.


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