Human Nutrition & Health FAQ
Everything You Need to Know About Balchem Human Nutrition & Health. You’ll find the answers below to some of the most common questions we get asked.
Food & Beverage
How do I purchase products from Balchem?
You can purchase products through your current Account Manager or Distributor. If you don’t have an account manager or distributor, contact Customer Service at 877-639-6002 or email us for more information.
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Please direct media inquiries to us via email.
Where is Balchem located?
Balchem is headquartered in the United States and is a global company. We have sales offices, manufacturing and research facilities around the world. Contact us if you have specific requests.
Where are Balchem products manufactured?
Balchem products are manufactured in dedicated facilities around the world. We have multiple centrally-located manufacturing facilities that provide peace-of-mind to our customers through our redundancy in production.
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Can I purchase and pay for products online?
We do not currently offer an online store. You can purchase products through your current Account Manager or Distributor. If you don’t have an account manager or distributor, contact Customer Service at 877-639-6002 or email us for more information.
Who is my Account Manager?
If you don’t have an account manager or distributor, contact Customer Service at 877-639-6002 or email us for more information.
How do I access Quality and Safety documentation for the products I already buy?
Each dedicated manufacturing facility is subject to audits appropriate to the ingredients handles and products manufactured. Specific information tied to products can be accessed here.
What is your commitment to sustainability?
Balchem publishes and annual sustainability reports you can reference here.
When did Balchem acquire Albion?
Balchem acquired Albion in 2016. You can find more information on all the chelated minerals in our Minerals & Nutrients business segment.
When did Balchem acquire SenoryEffects and IFP?
Balchem acquired SensoryEffects in 2014 and IFP in 2018 and integrated into the food business segment.
When did Balchem acquire Zumbro River Brands?
Balchem acquired Zumbro River Brands in 2019 and integrated into the Food business segment.
Is Balchem seeking more acquisition targets?
Inquiries related to acquisition targets can be directed to us via email.
How do I find out more about jobs at Balchem?
We are growing and our careers page is the best place to learn about employment opportunities with Balchem.
What are nutritional minerals?
As simple as it may seem, this question is the first step in examining the role of minerals in nutrition. The dictionary describes minerals as solid, crystalline substances (diamond, copper, quartz, etc.) not of animal or vegetable origin. The keywords are “not of animal or vegetable origin” meaning they are inorganic elements. Because minerals intended for nutritional purposes cannot be synthesized by the body, they must be utilized as natural elements – they must be eaten and successfully absorbed.
In context, we are talking about nutritional minerals. Nutritional minerals are a small sub-group of the above broad, general statement. Though nutritional mineral requirements differ between plants and animals, generally the nutritional minerals are regarded as Boron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Sulfur, Potassium, Calcium, Vanadium, Chromium, Manganese, Iron, Cobalt, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, Molybdenum and Iodine.
Why are minerals important to the body?
Each of the following systems in the body utilize minerals. Research shows that imbalances or deficiencies in mineral nutrition can affect these systems:
- Immune System: Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe) and Selenium (Se)
- Energy Production:Magnesium (Mg), Phosphorus (P) and Manganese (Mn)
- Hormone System:Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Magnesium (Mg) and Potassium (K)
- Vitamin Production: Cobalt (Co)
- Blood Production: Copper (Cu) and Iron (Fe)
- Enzyme Systems: Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Potassium (K), Manganese (Mn), Magnesium (Mg), Iron (Fe), Calcium (Ca) and Molybdenum (Mo)
- Skeletal System:Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn), Boron (B) and Phosphorus (P)
What are mineral antagonisms?
A mineral wheel illustrates the impediments to absorption that exist between certain minerals. The arrowheads point toward the ionic minerals that are suppressed in intestinal absorption by the presence of the ionic forms of the mineral at the opposite end of the line. Double and opposing arrowheads on the same line show a mutual suppression between elements. Mineral antagonisms cause imbalances of some minerals in relation to others that cause problems with mineral utilization. This interference is called “mineral antagonism.”
What are chelated minerals?
“Chelated minerals” is a scientific term referring to a very specific molecular reaction that takes place between a molecule and a nutritional mineral. Chelation is a natural process that happens in the gut to facilitate transportation of nutritional minerals across the intestinal wall as a part of digestion. As our body is not very efficient at producing chelated minerals, we look to these mineral forms in nutritional supplements to assure greater efficiencies of absorption.
At Albion, we create these chelated minerals in our laboratories under very carefully controlled conditions. Albion’s most commonly used molecule to create organic chelated nutritional minerals is glycine. Glycine is an amino acid that the body readily identifies and which is efficiently absorbed across the intestinal wall. Albion’s glycine amino acid chelates are actually small enough to be transported right into the cell itself.
How are mineral amino acid chelates absorbed?
Because the body is very efficient at absorbing individual amino acids, it allows a mineral chelated to an amino acid to be carried along with its amino acid ligand into the intestinal cell during absorption. Clinical studies have shown that the intestinal absorption pathway of an amino acid chelate is different than the absorption of minerals from inorganic metal salts. As the amino acid chelate approaches the intestinal wall, it remains the same molecule that was ingested. The chelate does not require digestion prior to absorption due to its size. The glycine amino acid chelate, for example, is stable and does not become disassociated in the stomach.
Along the intestinal wall are finger-like projections called villi. The villi increase the surface area for the amino acid chelate to be absorbed. On each villus are microvilli. It is through the membranes of the cell walls of the microvilli that the amino acid chelate is absorbed. Once inside the cells, the components of the chelate are used by the body as any mineral and amino acid would be after absorption. Chelating with ligands like glycine to form a glycine amino acid chelate makes more of the ingested minerals available for metabolic purposes (growth, reproduction, immunity, etc.) compared to other inorganic and organic mineral forms (metal proteinates or amino acid complexes).
Numerous clinical studies have proven that Albion’s metal amino acid chelates are better absorbed than inorganic minerals, metal proteinates, or amino acid complexes. In fact the absorption pathway of a metal proteinate is unknown. Amino acid complexes are hydrolyzed in the stomach and intestine, and the minerals are absorbed similarly to inorganic metal salts.Due to pH constraints, minerals from amino acid complexes or digested metal proteinates can only be absorbed in the upper portion of the small intestine (duodenum). Proteinates do require digestion prior to absorption due their large size. Complexes are not stable compounds and will disassociate in the stomach.
What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability is the measure of the amount of an ingested nutrient that is absorbed and made available to the body for metabolic use. Bioavailability is important because nutrients must be absorbed to be available to various body systems for growth, maintenance of body tissues, reproduction, and other performance factors. No matter how high the nutrient levels or how well formulated the product, if the nutrient is not bioavailable for use by body tissue, then money and effort have been wasted.
Why are Albion chelated minerals better?
Through years of extensive research, clinical analysis, third party critiques and careful laboratory manufacturing, only Albion can produce this highly effective and bioavailable mineral form. Albion’s patented process assures the customer they are getting a unique product in the market place that closely duplicates the natural chelation process that occurs in the body.
Albion’s science turns inorganic minerals into very small individual organic mineral molecules which are neutral and therefore highly bioavailable and effective.
Picture in your mind the fuel filter on your car engine. The filter allows fuel to pass through but holds back large particles from entering the engine. The same idea applies to the absorption of minerals from the intestine to the bloodstream. Large particles cannot easily pass through the intestinal wall. Many mineral products on the market have molecular weights that are too large to be absorbed intact. Through patented technology, Albion produces chelated minerals with molecular weights small enough to easily pass through the intestinal wall. The Albion chelate is similar to that which the body itself produces by natural chelation.
The process of chelation results in the final mineral compound becoming neutral, i.e., containing no electrical charge. This is important because electrically charged mineral compounds can interact with other dietary components, such as phytates and other oppositely charged molecules, and from substances that are not absorbable. In addition, charged mineral compounds are reactive and can deactivate other important nutrient factors, such as vitamin E, ascorbic acid, various B-vitamins, and certain medications.
How does one compare Albion chelates with other mineral forms?
Simply ask the following questions:
- Are the minerals truly chelated to amino acids or just complexed or are they simply trace minerals mixed with protein?
- Is there proof of the chelate bond formation in the product?
- Is the product stable when subjected to various pH ranges found in digestion. (pH 2.0 – 7.5)?
- Is the mineral product small enough in size to allow unhindered movement through the intestinal wall?
- Does the product have test data to show that it really works?
- Compare pricing. You may pay less for some reported chelates and complexes, but are they really cheaper? If the product is not truly a chelate, then you are essentially buying inorganic minerals at a premium price. Without guaranteed availability, you lose two ways: cost and mineral utilization.
What proof does Albion have of producing a truly chelated mineral molecule and its bioavailability?
Only Albion has been able to demonstrate that its patented technology produces totally reacted, nutritionally functional mineral amino acid chelates. And only Albion has incorporated many scientific procedures showing the validity of their chelation technology. Numerous clinical studies have been performed over the years by leading universities and independent researchers, demonstrating the superior bioavailability of Albion’s chelates. Only Albion has been able to demonstrate the superior bioavailability of the unique chelates formed through Albion’s patented processes.
Testing procedures utilizing some of the following determinative methods are part of the proof.
- X-ray Diffraction
- Electron Paramagnetic resonance Spectrometry (EPR)
- Infrared Spectrometry (IR)
- Fourier-Transformed Infrared Spectrometry (FT-IR or FTIR)
What is stability and why is it important?
Simply mixing inorganic minerals with amino acids in a liquid or dry mixture does not allow chelation to occur. Simple ionic and hydrogen bonding of minerals to amino acids does not produce a stable product. Minerals and amino acids must be processed according to a specific formula in order to create a stable (coordinate covalent) bond, which is essential for greater bioavailability. Albion’s patented processes assure that this bond is formed Many products on the market are reported to be chelates. Some of these products are only complexed mixtures of minerals and proteins and cannot be identified as true amino acid chelates. These complexed mixtures lose stability during digestion, compromising the availability of the mineral nutrient. When looking for available minerals, look for Albion chelates. We guarantee purity and stability.