What is a chelate?
Most simply, chelate means 'claw or grab.' A chelated mineral is one that has been bound to or �clawed to� another substance � usually an amino acid or an organic acid such as citrate, malate, succinate or aspartate. Sometimes other substances are used as chelators such as gluconate (gluconic acid, an oxidation product of glucose) or picolinate (a derivative of tryptophan). The form of chelate that will be best absorbed depends on the mineral, and varies. Some, like selenium, are best-absorbed bound to an amino acid (selenomethionine), others like calcium, when bound to one or more organic acids (such as citrate or citrate-malate). Overall, chelates are better absorbed that inorganic mineral salts such as oxides and sulfates. These forms are less expensive and occupy less space than chelates, however, so are used by many manufacturers of dietary supplements for all or part of their mineral content.