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Behind the Scenes With Balchem, Our Zinc Manufacturer

6 min read

Meet Balchem, the manufacturer behind the zinc found in our vitamins.
Meet Balchem, the manufacturer behind the zinc found in our vitamins.

What continues to set Balchem apart in the nutraceutical space? How does the company stay at the forefront of the latest science?

In 2012, Albion Laboratories convened a Scientific Advisory Board and a highly respected and acclaimed panel of international experts in each of the four main mineral categories agreed to serve. The first group of luminaries in their respective fields comprised Dr. Robert Heaney (calcium), Bo Lonnerdahl (iron), Robert Cousins (zinc), Forest Nielson (magnesium) and Dr. Robert Rountree (Functional Medicine). When Albion was acquired by Balchem in 2016, we expanded the Board to include Dr. Marie Caudill, a world-renowned expert in choline and Dr. Robert Doyle, a creative chemistry professor who works closely with our R&D group.

The Advisory Board plays a key role in vetting ideas for our Strategic Innovation group and convenes once or twice a year in what have become cherished all-day brainstorm sessions with Senior Management representing not just the scientific group, but business, marketing and sales leaders. This cross-functional buy-in has become critical in facilitating a robust growth in research dollars allocated to innovative work being conducted in academic research institutions. In keeping with our appreciation of and support for world-quality research, over the past several years, we have also invited many top scientists to present their latest research at these Advisory Board Meetings. These have developed into mini scientific conferences of the highest caliber, eagerly anticipated by all who attend—for science and business alike.

Can you talk specifically about Balchem’s zinc form and what sets it apart from others?

Balchem manufactures a zinc bisglycinate chelate. This ingredient form has a zinc ion chelated to two glycine molecules. The chelate structure is characterized by a ring structure where the zinc is bonded to both a carbonyl and an amine group from the glycine molecule. This chelate structure provides significant benefits.

Zinc bisglycinate as a true molecule is bioavailable to the body. This means that it is well absorbed and is well utilized. It has also been shown to be safe. Chemically, since the zinc is bound by two glycines, it is also chemically neutral and has limited negative interactions with other nutrients such as vitamins.*

How is the zinc sourced and synthesized?

We make our product in a reaction tank utilizing pure ingredients. We carefully monitor the reaction process, and then the liquid is spray-dried. Our product is also kosher, halal, vegan-friendly and non-GMO. We feel proud to have created something that meets the needs and health concerns consumers have today.

Why do we need zinc?

Zinc seems to play many important roles, but the science is still emerging and exactly how it does so is the subject of many papers and much in the way of ongoing research. It is well known that zinc helps support normal immune function and bone health.*

What kind of studies have been conducted on Balchem’s zinc specifically?

Many of the studies conducted on zinc bisglycinate are bioavailability trials. In a study by Gandia, et al. published in the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research, the absorption of zinc bisglycinate was compared to zinc gluconate. They found that zinc bisglycinate was well tolerated and was 43% more bioavailable than zinc gluconate.

In another study by Swan published in FASEB, zinc uptake was determined for zinc bisglycinate, zinc oxide, zinc picolinate, and zinc gluconate. They found that zinc bisglycinate resulted in the highest level of zinc, indicating it was more bioavailable.* (1,2)

References:

  1. Gandia, P., et al; A Bioavailability Study Comparing Two Oral Formulations Containing Zinc (Zn Bis-Glycinate vs. Zn Gluconate). Int. J. Vitam. Nutr. Res., 77 (4), 2007, 243–248.
  2. Swan, M., & DiSilvestro, R. A. (2008). Comparison of Four Commercially Available Zinc Supplements for Performance in a Zinc Tolerance Test [Abstract]. FASEB. doi:10.1096/fj.1530-6860

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