MYTH: Chelated minerals, citrates and picolinates are more efficiently absorbed than most other mineral compounds.
TRUTH: Not necessarily. If mineral supplements are taken with meals, there is usually no significant difference in absorption.
If mineral supplements are taken with meals, there is no difference in their rate of absorption, regardless of the form that those minerals happen to be in. Always take mineral supplements with meals in order to enable the body to do its own chelating. The minerals need to be present with food for this to happen in the stomach. If digestion is weak, then overcome this weakness by taking supplementary digestive enzymes that will improve the body’s ability to utilize both food and supplements. This approach is far more effective for overall health than taking pre-chelated minerals which bypass digestive weakness. Chelated minerals may be better absorbed on an empty stomach but offer no particular advantage compared to minerals taken with food.
In one study, fasting subjects were given 500 mg. of calcium from each of five calcium compounds and milk. No significant differences in absorption were found among the various sources of calcium. The mean net calcium absorption in each case was 39% from calcium carbonate 32% from calcium acetate, 32% from calcium lactate, 31% from milk, 30% from calcium citrate, and 27% from calcium gluconate. Calcium from calcium carbonate is well absorbed if taken with a meal– even if stomach acid is otherwise too low. Calcium carbonate provides the highest amount of calcium (40%) of all supplementary sources (e.g., calcium citrate provides 24% and calcium gluconate 9%). Similarly, magnesium oxide provides the highest amount of magnesium (60%) and potassium chloride has the highest amount of potassium (52%).