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Definition of trace-elements

Trace-elements are mineral substances that act at a very low concentration in the body: daily requirements are far below 1 mg per kg per day. Whereas for calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium (…), (also called "macro-elements"), daily requirements turn around 10 - 100 mg per kg of body weight.

The most well-known trace-elements are: iron, zinc, manganese, copper, iodine, and selenium. A deficiency in one of those elements is responsible for the apparition of many symptoms, including some characteristics ones.

    Examples :
  • iron or copper deficiency rapidly depresses the synthesis of red cells, inducing anemia;
  • zinc deficiency makes appear cutaneous lesions on the head: around the eyes, the mouth and the nose,
  • manganese deficiency leads to osteo-articular distortion
  • iodine deficiency prevents from a normal functioning of the thyroid gland,
  • selenium deficiency is responsible muscular degeneration, etc…

It exists other trace-elements but they are not yet recognized as essential: fluor, molybdenum, chromium, nickel, cobalt… According to the actual knowledge, it does not appear necessary to check their concentration in petfood.

Availability of trace-elements in the body

The quantity of trace-elements present in the food is different from what is really available for the body. Their level of absorption depends on how they are chemically presented, and what is the dietary environment. Actually, there are some interactions between the different elements. For example, calcium absorption competes with zinc, copper and iodine absorption…

The percentage of absorption of trace-elements is often inferior to 30 %. On the contrary, if they are linked to a substance that enhances their absorption, their efficiency is greatly improved. The association between a trace-element and its carrier is called chelate. The carrier-molecule can be either a protein or a carbohydrate. In the case of Royal Canin products, this is carbohydrate.

Improvement of the functional efficiency

When they are brought in chelated form, trace-elements are better used by the body. For example, one shows that when there is an excess of calcium in the diet, fecal excretion of free zinc increases, whereas the absorption of the chelated form does not change. Moreover, chelated zinc is better fixed in the hair than free zinc. Here again, an excess of calcium in the diet makes drop the free zinc concentration in the hair,except if the zinc is brought under chelated form.


Royal Canin has chosen to incorporate the main trace-elements under chelated form in all its products for sensitive animals.

  • RCCI Size : all the Junior and Adult 2 products plus Maxi Adult 1
  • Size Energy
  • VetSize : all Junior and Mature Adult products, plus Maxi Young Adult
  • Starter, Mixer Geriatry
  • Feline Nutrition: Hair & Skin 33, Persian, 30, Senior 28
  • All the products in Canistar / Felistar range.

This choice means an extra-cost; this is why none of our competitors use chelated trace-elements.

Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website

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