Dr. Harvey Ashmead, founder and owner of Albion minerals was formerly the Sales Director for Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company. In 1956, he had the opportunity to either establish a new division of Veterinary Sales for Pfizer in New York, or move to Utah. He obviously chose the latter, and established Albion Laboratories, in Clearfield, Utah. To date, Albion holds 56 patents, many international, on chelated mineral formulations and is the undisputed world leader in research on minerals.
A mineral has to have a neutral charge in order to be available. That is the whole concept behind chelation, a process in which the mineral is bonded to an amino acid which acts like a "trojan horse" to carry the mineral through the intestinal mucosa into the bloodstream. Inorganic minerals, or improperly manufactured chelates, which have a high molecular weight (measured in daltons) are simply too big to go through the mucosa. It was likened to trying to press a volleyball through the mesh on a screen door.
Albion chelated minerals are three to eight times better absorbed than inorganic minerals, or incorrectly made chelates or proteinates. Inorganic mineral forms include oxides, which are the least available; sulfates, which are utilized better than the oxides; and carbonates, which are the most available of the inorganics. In fact, especially in animal nutrition, carbonates can give a little "bounce" and act as a buffer. Albion has found that there is a definite synergy between the chelates and the uptake of inorganics, as if the presence of a chelated mineral enhances the body's recognition of the inorganic minerals and increases the uptake. In animal formulas, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the minerals should be present in a chelated form. It was stated that it is possible to create a copper deficiency in a dairy cow in four days if the iron levels in the feed or water are too high. Balance is extremely important. Some sulfates are good in animal formulas, as the sulfates "feed the microbes" in the gut.
Some problems that have been encountered in livestock nutrition are caused by increased stress and demands on the animals. Pigs used to have litters of 14, now they have to produce 24 piglets in order for their owners to make money. Some sows are producing up to 42 piglets annually, and eating up to 17 pounds of feed daily! Pigs with the most milk will breed back the fastest, since its body works on a priority system. Priority #1 is Self, Priority #2 is Milk Production, and Priority #3 is Reproduction. If there is not enough milk, the hind teats will turn off, until there may be only enough milk for one baby. This animal is not a good candidate for rebreeding. In dairy herds, retained placenta is the second largest economic loss for farmers, and the second most common reason to cull a cow. It costs $196.00 per cow as an average, in vet bills and milk loss. Since it takes around five years to pay for a cow, and the average age of a milk herd is 48 months, it's easy to do the math. An excellent article, Retained Placenta: A Stress Disorder. The author relates retained placenta to a low immune system, ie: lack of available minerals. This would obviously translate into horses, dogs and other species as well. Even the mineral content of water plays an important part, since a lactating cow will drink 40-50 gallons of water per day at 8.3 pounds per gallon. A water analysis is often a very important part of ration balance.
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