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4 minute read

The Difference Between Inorganic, Organic and Performance Trace Minerals

Performance trace mineral absorption
Dr. Terry Ward

Global Director
Research & Nutritional Services (RNS)
Zinpro Corporation

Although the amount needed is measured in milligrams — one thousandth of a gram or 0.00003527396 of an ounce — essential trace minerals are necessary to sustain life, fight disease and promote growth, development and healthy reproduction in livestock.

Trace minerals are an important part of raising healthy animals, and all living things need trace minerals to survive. To thrive in today’s modern animal production system, trace minerals must be added to an animal’s feed in such a way that the animal can take full advantage of the nutritional and health benefits they bring. Healthy animals contribute to a profitable and sustainable operation.

Trace Minerals 101

While a total absence of essential trace mineral causes death, mineral deficiency is a far more common problem. Here’s a rundown of each trace mineral, their benefits and signs of deficiency.

Comparing Inorganic, Organic and Performance Trace Minerals

Trace minerals come in three varieties: inorganic, organic and performance. These three mineral types vary

at the most basic molecular level, and only one category provides consistent animal performance.

Inorganic Trace Minerals for Animals

The most basic and inexpensive of trace minerals. Inorganic trace minerals are bonded to an inorganic molecule (one that doesn’t contain carbon) such as sulfate or oxide, making them relatively easy to produce and inexpensive to administer. Inorganic trace minerals are useful, but they can only do so much for your animal.

Organic Trace Minerals for Animals

Any trace mineral that is linked to a carbon-containing molecule is, by definition, organic, and organic trace minerals are more easily absorbed than inorganic. However, how well a trace mineral performs depends first on how strong and stable the link is to its carbon-containing molecule and secondly how vital that molecule is to animal wellness.

Performance Trace Minerals for Animals

Zinpro Performance Minerals® are the only kind of trace mineral that structurally bonds the metal to at least one essential amino acid, resulting in a mineral that is more soluble, stable, absorbable and metabolizable than other organic formulations.

Inorganic vs. Organic Trace Minerals

Inorganic and organic trace minerals are structurally different. Put simply, organic trace minerals are those whose metal is chemically bonded to a molecule-containing carbon. Inorganic minerals are relatively easy to produce, inexpensive to administer and are fed as a baseline portion of an animal’s diet. But an animal can’t optimally function on inorganics alone, because the amount of inorganic minerals an animal is able to absorb is limited.

Organic vs. Performance Trace Minerals

While organic trace minerals are bonded to a molecule containing carbon, performance minerals are a complex trace mineral bonded to an essential amino acid — resulting in a mineral that is soluble, stable, absorbable and metabolizable. This directly impacts the animal’s health, well-being, and productivity. By feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals®, you can ensure that more essential nutrients are being absorbed and used by the animal. This is especially important in today’s animal production environment, where the pressure continues to increase to raise healthy animals with less waste.

Trace Minerals Affect How Efficiently Animals use Vitamins

Trace minerals also play a role in the retention and stability of fat-soluble vitamins A (known as retinol), E and D3. All three play a critical role in animal immune systems. 

If fat-soluble vitamins are reduced in diets due to shortages or price spikes, using inorganic trace minerals will make the problem worse by degrading vitamin activity during storage, according to a University of Minnesota study (Shurson et al., 2011). The same study said, due to their unique formulation, the addition of Zinpro Performance Minerals “to vitamin-trace mineral premixes significantly reduces vitamin activity losses by 40-50% during storage of up to 120 days compared to adding inorganic trace minerals and comparable to vitamin losses in a vitamin premix containing no trace minerals.”

For more research results on the advantages of performance minerals for beef, dairy, poultry, swine and companion animals, contact your Zinpro representative.

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