Chelated minerals are a common ingredient in pet food products, and pet supplements. Chelated minerals aren’t so healthy for your pet. I won’t give my dogs, or cats food or supplements that contain chelated minerals.
In 2012, the NCBI reported on a study assessing levels of heavy metals in the liver and kidneys of dogs from an urban environment. Pet food was confirmed as a source of heavy metal contaminants (i.e. cadmium, lead, and mercury), as was environmental pollution.
Another NCBI report states,
“…food can affect health not only be their nutrient content and the amount consumed, but also by non-nutritive components, such as pesticides, fertilizers, preservatives, heavy metals and microbiological components”
Trace minerals are heavy metals that occur, or are required at low concentrations to sustain life. These minerals (i.e. copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc), are present in whole fresh foods. When soil health is good, the trace mineral content in fresh foods is optimal. When soils are depleted, (typically from use of conventional fertilizers), the trace mineral content in plants are less than optimal. This is one reason why food grown following organic farming practices is nutritionally superior to conventional non-GMO, and GMO farming practices.
Like us, our dogs and cats require trace minerals to maintain health. In the past (tens of thousands of years past, to present day), dogs and cats obtained required levels of trace minerals from their natural diet of fresh whole foods. An appropriate, good quality fresh, whole food diet (raw or minimally cooked) is not trace mineral deficient, and will not cause over-intake of trace minerals.
Industrially produced trace minerals were introduced to the canine and feline diet when highly processed pet food became popular. Which by the way, also coincides with the escalation of serious health issues (inflammatory, chronic disease, including cancer), and the foreshortened life spans we see in today’s dogs and cats. Industrial trace minerals are NOT the same as trace minerals naturally obtained from fresh whole foods.
Natural, Bioavailable Trace Minerals
Dogs and cats naturally obtain required levels of essential trace minerals from consuming a quality fresh, raw food (or minimally cooked) diet – raw meat, raw bones, healthy fats, and select botanicals, including herbs. For example, raw meat (muscle meat and organ meat) is an excellent source of iron, selenium and zinc, spinach also provides selenium and zinc. Raw pumpkin seeds, pineapple and spinach are rich in manganese (and other essential trace minerals). Raw liver is a good source of copper. Food sourced from pasture-raised, grass feed, organic, or wild-crafted sources provides the best trace mineral profile. Conventional farming methods result in less mineral rich whole foods. GMO farming methods result in a further loss of trace minerals.
Trace Mineral Loss in Manufacturing of Highly Processed Foods
Dry pet food, and canned (wet) pet food is a ‘highly processed’ product. Ingredients undergo a series of complex processing steps, which include high heat cooking.
Trace mineral loss occurs when whole food ingredients are cooked at high temperatures. The typical range of trace mineral loss from high heat cooking is 30% to 40%.
Additional trace mineral loss can occur due to one, or a combination of the following…
- Meat, fat and bones sourced from factory farm (CAFO) raised animals. CAFO animals are fed a species inappropriate diet of GMO corn and GMO soy, supplemented with chelated trace minerals. The end-result of this terrible diet (as pertains to trace minerals, there are many other adverse impacts as well):
- Meat, bones and fat that are trace mineral deficient, and may also be contaminated with toxic heavy metals (i.e. arsenic, mercury and lead).
- If condemned, denatured meat, bones and fat are included in the pet food product additional trace mineral loss occurs during the denaturing process.
- Fruit and vegetables grown in soil treated with conventional fertilizers, result in mineral depleted produce. Most dry, and canned pet food contains conventional, or GMO grown produce – not organic grown.
The end result is a product that is at minimum 40% trace mineral deficient.
To ‘make-up’ for the loss of trace minerals, the pet food industry adds industrial trace minerals, called chelated minerals.
- Approximately 70% of these minerals come from China.
- Chinese-sourced minerals can be tainted with other heavy metals, i.e. non-organic arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel and strontium from environmental pollution.
Industrial Trace Minerals
Industrial trace minerals fall into two basic categories – inorganic, and organic. Inorganic (chelated) and organic trace minerals are mined using the same methods – extraction from rock.
Inorganic trace minerals are not readily absorbed by the body, nor readily eliminated. Organic (chelated) trace minerals are more bioavailable than inorganic. Neither can match the bioavailability of trace minerals obtained from a fresh whole food diet. When inorganic or chelated trace minerals intake exceeds the body’s requirements, the body’s eliminatory system will work hard to remove as much excess mineral as possible. Some of the excess may be stored in the body’s organs – over time this can lead to a range of issues (i.e., anemia, digestive upset, fatigue, inflammation, oxidization, poor immune system response, increased risk of urinary tract infections, etc.), organ fatigue, toxicity, and at worst death. Insufficient mineral intake can also cause a multitude of health issues, and at worst death.
Chelated Minerals (organic minerals)
First, we need to define the word ’organic’ in context of industrial trace minerals. The term ‘organic’ when used in this context indicates the presence of carbon – it does NOT mean organic as in organic farming. The chelated minerals used in pet food are not an “organic food additive”, that ARE a synthetic food additive.
The first step in making chelated minerals involves industrial mining of rock, from which the minerals are then extracted. After extraction, the inorganic minerals are bound to a carbon-based substance using a synthetic-chemical process. Binding the inorganic mineral to a carbon-based substance increases the bioavailability of the mineral. When the binding process is complete, the trace mineral is said to be ‘organic’. Any remaining unbound particulate is removed. The resulting substance is then dried and ground to a powder.
Now we need to quickly talk about chelating agents. Chelating agents used in the manufacture of chelated trace minerals are natural or synthetic-chemical amino acids, i.e. cysteine, l-cysteine and glycine, or partially hydrolyzed proteins. Hydrolyzed proteins are obtained by intense processing in which the animal proteins (i.e. from factory farm raised animals), or plant proteins (i.e. GMO soy), or synthetic proteins are treated with caustic denaturing agents to separate the amino acids from proteins. The caustic, denaturants used are, for example – hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, and hexane (a solvent made from crude oil).
Pet Food Products That Contain Chelated Minerals, and Inorganic Minerals
- Dry Processed Pet Food (Kibble) – all contain chelated minerals, including:
- Premium dry food diets
- Veterinary prescription dry ‘food’ diets
- Grocery store and tractor supply store kibble
- Wet / Canned pet food – many, but not all
- Veterinary prescription
- Grocery store and tractor supply
- Freeze Dehydrated and Freeze Dried – many, but not all
- Raw Frozen – some, but not all.
- I consider the presence of chelated or inorganic minerals in a raw frozen pet food product to be indicative of a problem with the whole food ingredients used in the product.
- A truly good quality raw food does NOT contain chelated minerals.
Take A Look at your Pet Food Labels
If you are using multiple items that contain chelated minerals, your dog and cat’s eliminatory system is working over-time to excrete the excess, partially bioavailable chelated minerals for his/her body.
- An example of a chelated mineral –
- Copper proteinate
- Copper amino acid chelate
- An example of an inorganic mineral –
- Copper sulfate (copper sulphate)
- Copper carbonate
- Zinc oxide
Chelated minerals are industrially mined heavy metals, pulverized, and bound to synthetic amino acids and proteins that have been processed with toxic chemicals resulting in a partially bioavailable trace mineral. I consider chelated minerals to be a source of toxins.
The high incidence of inflammatory and chronic disease, premature aging, renal failure, cancer, etc. seen in today’s companion animal population is not ‘natural’, it is a man-made epidemic.
Dogs and cats are, casualties of the greedy pet food industry, and the unethical individuals behind the industry.
You now know one more reason why I will NOT feed my dogs, cats or ferrets highly processed food products. And why I do not recommend highly processed food to my clients.
For the love of dogs and cats, pass it on.
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