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Traditionally, trace minerals have been fed to livestock in an inorganic, i.e., chemical salt form, such as zinc sulphate. However, trace minerals, such as copper, manganese and zinc, are found in plants as the central element to many enzymes, just as they are in animals. The mineral is bound to a range of small proteins and is, therefore, the form of mineral that animals have evolved to actively absorb and utilise.
Bioplex trace minerals mimic the form of trace minerals as found naturally in plants, using a process to create the same bonding of the metal to a range of small proteins.
The inorganic minerals salts split easily into the metal and salt fractions in the intestine. As the metal (copper, manganese or zinc) moves towards the intestinal wall for absorption, the pH increases, causing these unbound, positively charged metals to bind to any negatively charged molecules. Large proteins are found in the mucus layer of the intestine and form part of the animal’s natural defence mechanism against bacteria. They actively bind the metals (Power, 2006). Once the metal is bound to these large proteins, they form a solid molecule that is unable to be absorbed and is passed out in the manure.
Bioplex trace minerals, by being supplied in a form identical to nature, are therefore already totally neutral. This allows the metal to pass through this mucus layer to be delivered to the intestinal wall for absorption, avoiding the large protein binding. It is these events prior to absorption that appear to have the biggest impact on mineral uptake from the gut.
Feeding excessive amounts of inorganic minerals, in an attempt to overcome these problems prior to absorption, can have negative effects on animal performance (Peters, 2008).
Trace elements fulfil many different functions within the animal in metabolism, antioxidant status and reproduction. For example, zinc is involved in over 300 different enzymes. Studies using Bioplex trace minerals, either in addition to, as partial replacement for or in total replacement of inorganic minerals in the diet have shown:
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