Colloidal Minerals, Facts and Fiction
Colloidal minerals are falsely proclaimed to be the best source of mineral supplementation available. One company even called their product a "concentrated form of colloidal minerals".
What are the facts?
First, a colloid is a suspended form of a substance that, on its own, would not stay in suspension. Colloids are made by putting electrical charges to mineral ions, which keeps them in suspension. Because of this, it is entirely impossible to concentrate minerals this way, and in fact, they are a highly dilute form of mineral supplementation. At WellVet.com we took three products of "colloidal minerals" and weighed them. We then took the weight of the exact same amount of water. Remember, minerals are very heavy, so if there were a lot of minerals in these products, they would weigh a lot more than the water alone. Our result: there was little measurable difference in weight between the colloidal minerals and the water. We conclude that there are minerals in these products, but one could hardly say that they are "concentrated" in any way.
Second, where do these minerals come from? Most are claimed to be from a purified tropical rain forest or similar sounding wonderful source. Despite these claims to the contrary, all are actually deriving their product from a 30-foot thick layer of carbonaceous shale intertwined with bituminous coal that was laid down during the Cretaceous period about 90 million years ago, and most are surface-mined in the United States. These deposits are subject to the same contamination found in surface waters and usually contain unidentified organic compounds, which could include pesticides, petroleum leached residues and toxic industrial waste. Colloidal products are not tested for the presence of these potential toxins.
Minerals are hard to digest when supplemented in any form. Another claim of those selling colloidal minerals is that this is the best way for minerals to be absorbed, often claiming 98% absorption. However, there is no data to prove this astounding figure. If they were absorbed at this rate, there could be a real danger of trace mineral poisoning. It is not likely that they have even close to that level of absorption. But because some people have taken to drinking huge amounts of these products each day, heavy metal poisonings have been reported. In fact, the FDA is considering removing colloidal minerals from sale due to the toxic potential they carry.
Do colloidal minerals work? In spite of claims from numerous scientific studies showing the effectiveness of colloidal minerals in treating a large number of diseases, the facts are quite different. In looking into scientific literature from the past 20 years, no studies showing that they provide a health benefit.
At WellVet.com, we believe that most minerals can be found by feeding a varied diet of fresh foods. If one needs a multiple trace mineral supplement, we recommend one that is analyzed for content and bound to citrate, a product that has had absorption studies conducted and exhibits acceptable and predictable absorption characteristics.