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IN IT TO WIN IT: Chelated Minerals

Welcome to In it to Win it, an ingredient spotlight series where we break down what's in your horse's food, and how it helps drive winning nutrition! Today's ingredient: chelated minerals.

Organic and inorganic minerals are structurally different - organic minerals are bonded to a molecule containing carbon, while inorganic minerals are not bonded to a molecule with carbon (ie, sodium chloride). Chelation allows for an inorganic form of a mineral to be made into an organic form by combining the metal with amino acids & peptides. As a result, the mineral will contain an amino acid or proteinate in the name (ie, zinc methionine).

Chelation protects the minerals from chemical reactions during digestion, allowing the chelate to easily pass through the intestinal wall into the blood. Once the chelate reaches the plasma, it is able to be metabolized and utilized by the body. As chelated minerals are more bioavailable, less is required in the diet - in fact, chelated trace minerals can replace 25-40% of supplementary inorganic minerals (Gayathri and Panda, 2018).

While inorganic forms are sufficient to meet requirements, organic trace mineral supplementation is more efficient, so the two are often done together - especially for horses with increased tissue requirements of these trace minerals. For instance, chelated manganese, copper, and zinc supplementation improved hoof growth in Thoroughbred and Quarter horse yearlings when compared to inorganic forms (Ott and Johnson, 2001).

As mineral absorption tends to decrease with increasing inclusion levels, and minerals compete for absorption, supplementing with these more bioavailable forms can help reduce the risk of mineral imbalance caused by nutrient competition (Gobesso et al, 2021). While animal caretakers can be put off by their obscure names, chelated minerals are actually high-quality ingredients that can improve your horse's nutrition to support optimal health!



Ott, EA., Johnson, EL. 2001. Effect of trace mineral proteinates on growth and skeletal and hoof development in yearling horses. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 21(6): 287-291.

Gobesso, AAO., et al 2021. Comparison between different sources of minerals in horses with nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism. Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinaria e Zootecnia, 73(1).

Gayathri & Panda, 2018. Chelated minerals and its effect on animal production: A Review. Agri Reviews 39(4): 314-320.


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