TRAACS® stands for The Real Amino Acid Chelate System and is Albion® Human Nutrition’s branded trade name for a range of its exclusive patented products. The TRAACS name is reflective of a patented method for testing, which is detailed below.
Albion Human Nutrition has made technical breakthroughs in the validation technique for the identification and measurement of the degree of chelation of a mineral amino acid chelate. Prior to this, validation required several tests and needed much more time. This new testing method has been put through the AOAC’s single laboratory validation and was presented at their annual meeting. This method uses fast-fourier transforming infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). In short, FT-IR measures the amount of infrared light that a compound absorbs at different wave lengths. Different bonds in a compound will absorb infrared light at different wavelengths of this light.
A mineral amino acid chelate is composed of an amino acid that has two or more donor groups combined with the mineral so that one or more rings are formed, with the mineral being the closing component of this heterocyclic ring. Chelate structures contain covalent bonds, which give these chelates properties that are much different than ionically bonded mineral salt forms. Mineral amino acid chelates are bidentate (the mineral is attached at two ends of the amino acid ligand) and have a ring in their structure, while mineral complexes are unidentate (mineral is attached at one end of its ligand) with no ring structure. It has been shown that a bidentate (chelated) glycino group absorbs at the IR wavelength of 1643 cm-1, an ionized unidentate at 1610 cm-1, and a unionized unidentate at 1710 cm-1. In addition, it has been shown that the carboxyl group in the amino acid glycine absorbs at the band of infra-red light of 504 cm-1. The degree of absorption at this band segment has been shown to diminish as the amount of bound glycine increases in a sample. This is demonstrated in Figure 1, where it can be seen that as the absorbance at 504 cm-1 goes down, the ratio of bound copper bisglycinate to free glycine goes up.
As can be seen in Table 1 below, there are other band segments of the IR spectra that can be used in the identification of bisglycinate amino acid chelates. The band segments of greatest interest for the identification of a mineral amino acid chelate relate to the bonds from the mineral to the amino and carboxyl portions of the amino acid. Table 1 tells the differences found in the spectra of glycine and identified zinc bisglycinate chelate.
The differences in the spectra of absorption between the glycine and the zinc bisglycinate chelate indicate the bonding to the mineral in the chelate structure at the amino (NH) and the carboxyl (COOH) ends. As listed in the above table and shown in Figure 2 (representing the entire IR spectra for a zinc bisglycinate chelate) the peak absorption for the zinc bisglycinate chelate at 1643 cm-1 is evidence of the ring formation seen in a true mineral amino acid chelate.