The majority of mineral vitamin supplements are made from chemicals rather than natural substances. However, there is a steady growth in the demand for natural mineral vitamin supplements. This is due to the amount of debate that there is as to whether chemical mineral vitamins can be more harmful than beneficial in the long term.
The fact is that chemical mineral vitamin supplements are not as easily absorbed as normal food particles are. The mineral vitamin industry is constantly striving to create products that are more easily processed by the body and therefore more beneficial.
Every now and then the industry comes up with a new 'more bio-available' form of a vitamin or mineral. To overcome this, a large number of mineral vitamins have been developed that combine other elements with the vitamins and minerals to enable them to be more easily absorbed by the body. Iron is commonly combined to form iron gluconate* which enable the mineral vitamin supplement to be more absorbable.
The amount of a nutrient in a mineral vitamin supplement needs to be far greater than it would be in a more natural form for the body to be able to absorb the amount that is required. This can obviously lead to problem where a toxic level of the particular nutrient is being consumed by the large doses of the mineral vitamin supplement that are needed. It is therefore extremely important that a person does not simply take vast quantities of all of the mineral vitamin supplements that are advertised on television and should seek advice from a health professional. It is also worth being aware of the developments in the mineral vitamin supplement industry as there are constantly new and better combinations being developed.
One method that mineral vitamin manufacturers have developed to help aid absorption is through culturing the raw materials with yeast cells. This form of mineral vitamins are known as ‘food state’ and are up to four times easier for the body to absorb the required nutrients as the yeast is completely digested.
Of course, the need for mineral vitamin supplements depends on the diet that a person has. There is no doubt that it is far more preferable for a person to obtain the nutrients that they require from their food rather than by taking mineral vitamin supplements wherever possible. During certain periods it may be necessary for a person to take mineral vitamin supplements on a temporary basis but their long term use is not recommended for a number of the supplements that are available.
* : Iron gluconate is the salt of gluconic acid, which is a product of
glucose oxidation. Gluconic acid contains one carboxylic acid group and
5 hydroxy groups, so it tends to chelate.
(Note: This article is the opinion of the author and may or may not be substantiated by scientific fact.)