About Chelated Trace Minerals
Trace minerals are, generally, uncommon minerals that practically all organisms need in minute quantities in order to trigger the production of enzymes and hormones for growth, reproduction and healthy maintenance of the animal or plant body. Nutritionally speaking, trace minerals by definition are those which are required by the human body in micro amounts, i.e., in 100 milligram (mg) dosages per day, or less. Copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, and zinc, are required in milligram amounts, while chromium, iodine, molybdenum, and selenium are needed in microgram quantities (units of 1/1000 of mg.).
What Trace Minerals Are, and Are Not
For our purposes though, trace minerals are not simply rare minerals, or what geologists, physicists and chemists may call trace amounts of certain minerals found in conjunction with others. Likewise, just because a mineral is found in large concentrations, or deposits, it does not mean it is not a trace mineral. Iron, for example, is quite common, but should only be ingested in “trace” amounts. Conversely, minerals required by the human body in macro dosages, i.e., dosages of a few grams, or at least in excess of 100 mg per day are not classically, trace minerals, even though they may be found only in “trace amounts” in mineral deposits. In summary, what connotes “trace amounts” to physical scientists are usually stated in parts-per-million. Nutritionists think of trace minerals in terms of dosages in micrograms and milligrams. (See above.)
Furthermore, the reader should be aware that the basic term “mineral(s)” is used in more than one way in this website. The different disciplines of Chemistry, Geology and Nutrition each have their own unique definitions. Please refer to our own Definitions section to reconcile the alternative ways in which we discuss mineral(s).
In nature, over 90 elements occur. Using nuclear technology, man has been able to observe or theorize about two dozen more. The precise number and names for each has been a subject of much debate, and is still under discussion. A lot of elements are minerals; many are not. Don’t be confused by ions, (cations and anions), isotopes, compounds, or molecules with similar sounding names as some elements. Elements may be found in a solid, liquid or gaseous state. All minerals are solids except for mercury and water which of course are liquids. A mineral may be defined as a homogeneous, inorganic solid that occurs naturally, and exhibits a crystalline structure. Coal is, therefore, not a true mineral because of its organic origins; although it has certain mineral characteristics. (Remember the children’s guessing game: “animal, vegetable, mineral”?) About 2500 different minerals have now been described.
Another confusion people have is between metals and minerals. Metals are minerals, but not necessarily vice versa. Metallic minerals do not allow light to pass through them. Nonmetallic minerals are usually translucent or even transparent along the edges. Most of them are not heavy. Calcite, feldspar and quartz are nonmetallic minerals. (None of these three are unique elements, however.)
The total amount of all trace elements found in the healthy human body is only about 25 to 30 grams, or 1% of the total minerals in the body. Calcium constitutes 1-2 kg of body weight by contrast. (It is not merely because a lot of it is found in the body that it cannot be considered to be a trace mineral, but because the body requires a substantial amount of new calcium each day to promote the growth and repair of teeth and bone.) We, therefore, call this a macromineral. Besides calcium, other macrominerals are: chloride, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and sulphur.
On the other hand, typical trace mineral examples in addition to those listed in the first paragraph above are: cobalt, nickel, and silicon. A further distinction needs to be made between those elements which are essential for humans (those listed above) and those which are also essential for livestock and other animals. In this latter category one particularly finds arsenic, boron, cadmium, lead, lithium, tin, and vanadium. There is some debate in the literature over these two categorizations. Considering nitrogen, and certain other elements, vegetable life may constitute yet another category. Therefore, depending upon your application of our company’s unrefined multi-mineral composite, you will need to pay close attention to percentages of certain minerals in our mix, and make your own formulations.
Finally, trace minerals which have been pre-processed by other organisms are deemed to be chelated. (Refer to the Important Questions section for more information about chelation.)
After centuries of farming, the topsoil is virtually bankrupt in nearly every corner of the globe. Farmers generally add only nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to their fertilization routines. How can a mere 3 out of over two dozen, agreed upon elements providing valuable life functions, be adequate? More conscientious soil amendment is required for the food chain to work properly.
In conclusion, the terms “elements” and “minerals” are to be used precisely, and should not be used interchangeably, just as we have seen that “minerals” and “rocks” aren’t completely synonymous, either. There is more than one connotation for “trace”, and some elements, particularly gases, will only be useful for nutrition if found as part of solid compounds. Minerals which are not chelated offer little, or possibly zero nutritional value, and may even be toxic. For more technical information about agreed upon elements, and their functions, please refer to the Periodic Table typically found in chemistry textbooks, and consult the Bibliography and Links section of this Website, or go immediately to this link: http://pearl1.lanl.gov/periodic/default.htm.