What Are Amino Acid Chelates?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 January 2020
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Amino acid chelates represent a stable bonding agent that attaches to mineral molecules to aid absorption. When minerals are bound to amino acid chelates, they are carried along through the stomach and small intestine wall, where vitamins and minerals are absorbed into the bloodstream. Chelation defines a complex chemical process of electrically charged molecules in the digestive tract, which regulate how nutrients pass from the intestine into the bloodstream.

Essential minerals bound to amino acid chelates stand a better chance of retention by the body to support cell functioning. Different minerals perform various functions, including the creation of strong teeth and bones. Some minerals contribute to healthy muscles, hormone production, adequate blood supply, and enzyme health. The human body cannot produce minerals; they must be obtained through food or supplements.

When a diet lacks sufficient nutrients, or minerals consumed through food are not readily absorbed, a deficiency might occur. Several factors could contribute to minimal amounts of iron, copper, zinc, calcium, potassium, or manganese in the diet. If poor farming techniques deplete these vital sources from the soil, fruits and vegetables might contain sparse levels of these nutrients. Produce picked before it ripens also might affect mineral content in fruits and vegetables.


Digestion begins in the mouth, where saliva breaks up starches before a meal passes into the stomach. Acids and enzymes in the stomach continue transforming food, such as protein and some carbohydrates, into usable forms. Amino acid chelates keep mineral molecules from breaking apart in the stomach before they travel into the small intestine, where penetration takes place.

A complicated chemical process in the small intestine is where chelation occurs. Amino acid chelates block mineral molecules from developing electrical ions with weak positive or negative charges, which maintains a zero status necessary for absorption. These static molecules are capable of attaching to the intestinal wall and passing into the bloodstream along with amino acids.

All living things depend on amino acids, often called the building blocks of protein. This essential molecule produces energy needed to survive. Synthetic chelates only attach to metals, such as copper, zinc, and iron. Natural amino acid chelates bind to metallic and inorganic minerals, including calcium, phosphate, and potassium.

Another important factor for proper absorption of minerals involves the way they interact with each other. Calcium, for example, might deplete stores of vitamin D and magnesium as it enters the bloodstream. A similar process might occur when iron is absorbed, decreasing the bioavailability of vitamin C, B vitamins, and copper. Some mineral supplements address these interactions by adding other vitamins and minerals to the primary supplement.


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