Chelated Minerals and Why DUWELL Uses Them


Are they really more absorbable than inorganic minerals?


Minerals are essential to life, but cannot be manufactured by life. All minerals must be absorbed into the body from the outside.


The journey to fully understanding the difference between various forms of a particular mineral, is a great opportunity to learn. This knowledge can help us make better choices for our nutrition and that of our horses.

When we begin to explore the various ingredients in our horse’s diet, this can leave us feeling that we should have paid more attention in science class at high school. It is very common to not understanding the differences between a vitamin, an inorganic mineral and a mineral chelate.

Let's start with defining vitamins: A vitamin is an organic compound and an essential nutrient that an organism requires in limited amounts to remain fit and healthy. Thirteen vitamins are universally recognized at present. An organic chemical compound (or related set of compounds) is called a vitamin when the organism cannot produce the compound in sufficient quantities, and must then obtained through the diet. The term vitamin is conditional upon the circumstances and the particular organism. For example, ascorbic acid (one form of vitamin C) is a vitamin for humans, but not for most other animals. Vitamin D is essential only for people who do not have adequate skin exposure to sunlight, as ultraviolet light promotes Vitamin D synthesis in skin cells.



How does it all fit together?

The world in general is made up of elements or compounds. Elements are molecules in a basic state in the earth, as pure molecules, with no other ingredients. They are the building blocks of ALL other compounds.

Compounds are made up of two or more elements. For example, water is made up of two elements (molecules) of hydrogen and one element (molecule) of oxygen (scientifically written as H2O).

Vitamins are compounds.

Understanding the element and compound concept is key to understanding what nutritional minerals are and how living organisms use them. Nutritional minerals are elements and can be found on the periodic table.


Macro Minerals

The major minerals, also called "macro minerals," that are important for life are, in alphabetical order:


Calcium (Ca)

Chloride (Cl)

Magnesium (Mg)

 Phosphorus (P)

Potassium (K)

Sodium (Na)

Sulphur (S)



Trace Minerals

Another grouping of minerals based on intake requirement, is trace minerals. The requirement for trace minerals is lower than for macro minerals:


Boron (B)

Cobalt (Co)

Chromium (Cr)

Copper (Cu)

Fluorine (F)

Iodine (I)

Iron (Fe)

Manganese (Mn)

Molybdenum (Mo)

Nickel (Ni)

Selenium (Se)

Silicon (Si)

Tin (Sn)

Vanadium (V)

Zinc (Zn)



Please note that, like other rules, there are exceptions to this one. Nature has exceptions to general mineral intake requirements, but for the sake of understanding, we will not address these exceptions.

Inorganic and Organic

All minerals are found in earth in their natural, pure form. They can also be found mixed with other elements that have formed compounds such as copper oxide, calcium carbonate or magnesium oxide. In their natural state, these minerals are all known as "inorganic elements." You may have thought that anything coming from the ground was organic, right? In terms of biology and organisms (which includes all living things such as humans, animals, and plants) elements/minerals are inorganic, or in other words, not biological (living) in origin.

Generally, compounds of biological origin are referred to as organic. This is important to understand before we move on to a special organic compound called a chelate.


Chelation, which literally means, "bringing together,” refers to a bonding formed between a metal ion (mineral) and a ligand (protein or amino acid chelating agent) carrier.

Here is a very good video from Albion Minerals based in the USA that explains how chelated minerals are absorbed by the body.  


How do living things utilize different mineral forms?

Natural feedstuffs such as corn, wheat, soybean meal, etc. contain essential trace elements, which are required by animals. However, these trace elements are often in a form which renders them unavailable to the animal. Also, even if the elements were totally available, in many cases, they would not be in adequate concentrations to meet the animal’s requirement. Therefore, when deficiencies of one or more of the trace mineral elements exist in a diet, they are usually provided to the animal in an inorganic or organic supplemental form.

Living organisms cannot use inorganic minerals directly. If an inorganic mineral is presented to a living organism for use, the organism must first convert this inorganic mineral to an organic form, biological form, or organic compound. In the human digestive process, when an inorganic mineral is presented to the digestive system, the chemical process of this system starts to work, chemically bonding the inorganic molecule to an organic molecule. This process is called chelation, and the end product of this process is called a chelate. This chelate is now seen on a cellular level as an organic compound that can now be absorbed and used in the body of the organism.

But (there is always a "but" isn’t there) it is not a perfect biological world in the digestive process. Many things can affect the efficiency of the natural chelation process. As the mineral element moves through this process, there is not enough organic matter to bond with the mineral before it passes through the organism unabsorbed. The mineral may come into contact with what are called "antagonists" and then get passed through the organism unabsorbed. The health of the organism may prevent the assimilation of this mineral and it would be passed through the system. In nature, it may be very difficult to absorb enough minerals from food intake alone to keep the organism at optimal health.

This is where science and patented technology come into the picture to create an organic molecule that is already in a form the body can assimilate. Albion is one such company based in Utah USA, that manufactures molecules that are then called "a mineral amino acid chelate”. This chelated organic form of inorganic mineral elements substantially increases the probability that the digesting organism will absorb the mineral for its use and benefit.

In summary


Advantages of minerals chelates


     Chelates in animal nutrition protect trace minerals during digestion as the mineral is "bound” keeping it free from unwanted interactions.

     Smaller amounts of chelates are needed to meet nutritional needs due to superior absorption.  

     Bioavailability of chelated minerals is increased better supporting the animal’s metabolic functions, immune system and improving fertility and reproductive performance.

     Scientifically and clinically proven to be safe, predictable, and effective.

     Soluble and stable in acidic environments.


Disadvantages of these inorganic forms of minerals. 


  • Irritation of the gastrointestinal tract can occur when inorganic minerals are fed at levels required to meet nutritional needs.
  • Toxicity can occur when larger doses of the mineral may be required for specific nutritional needs.
  • Undesirable mineral interactions can suppress rates of absorption.
  • Inorganic minerals are regarded as "unstable” in the digestive tract and can bind with food particles and pass out of the animal without being utilized.
  • Minerals such as magnesium oxide have a high ph which can interfere with absorption in digestive tract.