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To the editor. (Industry News).

I have just completed my perusal of the article on minerals by associate editor Tim Wright in the September issue of Nutraceuticals World. I am very concerned by the use of Mr. Bill Downs' statement on page 64 to editorialize my comments. It appears that we are in agreement on the problem of mineral bioavailability, which is not the case.

Mr. Downs says that chelates have become low cost, generic and poorly characterized commodities. Certain manufacturers of chelates do fit those criteria, but not all. There are companies in the industry, such as Albion, that have expended the necessary research funds to characterize the chelates that it makes. For example, Albion has obtained CAS numbers for the chelates that it manufacturers, so that any chemist in the world can ascertain the reproducible structure of these patented molecules.

Mr. Downs also states that it is burdensome to conduct research that justifies the superiority of chelates. Perhaps, but doesn't the consumer warrant this effort? Instead of flashy advertising campaigns full of confusing puffery, wouldn't solid research data be more appropriate? At least then the consumer could make an evaluated choice. For example, if the consumer were exposed to clinical data showing that based on typical absorption rates and compartmentalization of chromium pools, absorption of chromium from either chromium chloride or chromium polynicotinate was 30% of the dose compared to 37.5% absorption for chromium picolinate and 57.5% for a chromium nicotinamide-amino acid chelate, would it not be easier for him/her to choose the source of chromium that best fits his/her needs?

What about safety issues? Why should a manufacturer of chelated minerals find it onerous to report to the consumer just how safe his/her product is? Wouldn't the prudent consumer want to know if one form or source of mineral was safer, less contaminated with heavy metals or microorganisms, or had fewer side effects than another? For example, Albion has been pleased to provide to the U.S. FDA, as well as other regulatory agencies throughout the world, published clinical and toxicological data on its amino acid chelates providing both safety and efficacy--data, which, by the way, is also available on many non-chelated inorganic sources of the same minerals. If non-chelated inorganic minerals are commodities, as Mr. Downs suggests, and yet their manufacturers can justify conducting efficacy and safety research, why would Mr. Downs be reluctant to submit his or other chelates to the same research criteria? It doesn't make sense not to do that research.

Mr. Downs's comment that conducting this research will not grow the market is also incorrect. Our experience has demonstrated that while there are few companies and/or individuals that are satisfied dealing with minerals that may or may not be chelates, but have no valid scientific research basis for any of their claims, most people prefer the comfort of knowing that what they purchased is really what they got. And because of that desire for validation, we have found that the market for chelates is growing very rapidly even though Albion is the most expensive and validated source of chelates in the marketplace.

H. DeWayne Ashmead


Albion Advanced Nutrition

Clearfield, UT
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Publication:Nutraceuticals World
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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