How much emphasis do you put on the form of the supplemented nutrient, as in the various forms of magnesium, or selenium, zinc, etc.?

The importance of choosing minerals that are in the most biologically active and absorbable forms can make substantial difference to your health or the health of your patient.

The body’s physiology is intricate and complex, and it often converts orally absorbed nutrients a number of times before it is in a form that is useable. A good example is the amino acid tryptophan. It has been traditionally used as precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, however, it first must be converted to 5- hydroxytrytphan (5-HTP) before serotonin is formed. It is advantageous to supplement with 5-HTP since it is a step closer to the desired molecule.

Minerals such as magnesium, selenium, and zinc are combined with another molecule to stabilize the compound. Each combination, referred to as a chelate, (such as magnesium citrate) has different absorption, bioavailability and therapeutic value. These additional molecules can really impact the medicinal value of the minerals and some even have beneficial effects. It’s important to consider the research evidence and activity of each form to choose one that is most appropriate for you or your patient.

This question was answered by Leah Linder, ND