Please tell me how these terms relate to vitamins and minerals?


I am the exercise physiologist for Westinghouse Energy Center. I received this question via e-mail. I was wondering what your explanation would be?

Please tell me how these terms relate to vitamins and minerals?

  • oxide
  • chelated
  • malate
  • aspartate
  • ascorbate
  • citrate
  • lactate
  • colloidal

I realize that the minerals are chelated or oxidized for the purpose of absorption, but is there a simple explanation for how these descriptions are related to vitamins and minerals? Thanks for your time.

Your list is a mix of compound types as well as compound names. Because it is a mixed bag of chemical terms, I have a mix of definitions, mostly scientific. Sorry, but there is no simple explanation. If a person wanted a specific nutrient supplement, the label on the supplement should tell how much of the nutrient is in one pill based on a percent of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance). For instance, there is calcium citrate and calcium lactate.

Mineral supplements can come in various compounds, some forms more absorbable than others and it depends on the mineral which form is more absorbable. Absorption also depends on the age and medical condition of the person and if a deficiency exists. It would be best to look up the specific chemical name for a vitamin or mineral to determine absorption for that particular supplement. Here is a brief explanation of these vitamin or mineral compounds with use.

  1. oxide examples: ferric (iron) aka rust which is not absorbed as well as ferrous (non-oxidized iron); Vitamin C, E, selenium, and zinc are superoxides which scavenge free radicals that cause possible damage to cells, free radicals are often thought of as causing cancer; milk of magnesia is magnesium hydroxide.
  2. chelated binds with a mineral to form an insoluble compound.
  3. malate salt of malic acid found in plant juices, for example, calcium citrate malate in calcium supplements
  4. aspartate salt of aspartic acid which is an amino acid
  5. ascorbate salt of ascorbic acid aka vitamin C
  6. citrate salt of citric acid decreases thiamine (vitamin B1) effect, examples: calcium citrate in calcium supplements; ferric ammonium citrate in iron supplements; magnesium citrate in laxatives; potassium citrate in potassium supplements; sodium citrate used to induce vomiting or to increase the excretion of calcium or lead
  7. lactate salt of lactic acid examples: calcium lactate in calcium supplements for pregnant women; sodium lactate used as an antacid
  8. colloidal particles dispersed in a solution, but not dissolved which are incapable of passing through a semi-permeable membrane like the intestines.

FYI, I have previously performed a search of the medical literature and could not find one article on colloidal minerals or their estimated absorption.