Many people have misunderstood the term chelation as it applies to mineral nutrition. There is an alternative therapy process on the market known as ‘Chelation Therapy’ which sometimes gets confused with the nutritional terminology of ‘chelated minerals.’ We would like to clarify some of the confusion by explaining specifically what each one is.
Let’s start with the scientific term 'chelation' or 'to chelate'. On a molecular level, scientists have a specific name for different types of bonds between atoms and molecules. Chelation refers to a molecule that attaches to a single atom (or mineral) at two places. This particular two-point bond is unique and thus carries some unique qualities. The molecule that attaches to the mineral at two points is called a chelating agent. There are many different chelating agents available to bond with minerals. Some chelating agents will bond easily with minerals when eaten. Some chelating agents require a precise laboratory condition to chelate to minerals. Also, some of these chelating agents exhibit very strong bonds to their host mineral, while still other chelating agents will easily give up their mineral (dissolving the bond) in the body’s specific biomechanical functions.
"Chelation therapy" is a distinctive practice that is generally used as an alternative therapy option when a condition of mineral toxicity is indicated. Minerals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic are just a few of the known toxins to the body. This therapy procedure involves the administration of a chelating agent into the body to perform the chelating process in the body to remove these toxic minerals. It is important to note that this process is not selective in the mineral the agent will chelate with. The administered chelating agent will bond with all the good nutritional minerals in the body as well as the toxic ones. The agent will bond with the minerals in a strong way that pulls these minerals from the body and causes them to be excreted. This process must be very carefully monitored, as an imbalance may occur with the good nutritional minerals and cause physical trauma.