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Trace Minerals 101

Trace minerals provide the essential nutrients animals need for metabolic functions such as growth and development, immunity and reproduction. Even moderate deficiencies can adversely impact animal performance. Find out more about the various functions of each trace mineral, as well as signs of a trace mineral deficiency.

Mineral Trace Mineral Function Trace Mineral Deficiency


  • Protein synthesis
  • Vitamin A utilization
  • Epithelial tissue integrity
  • Immune System
  • Reproduction
  • Abnormal skin and hooves
  • Bone and joint problems
  • Poor wound healing
  • Fertility problems
  • Bone and Cartilage Synthesis
  • Enzyme Systems
  • Reproduction
  • Immune Response
  • Abnormal bones and joint development
  • Impaired ability to make or repair joint cartilage
  • Abnormalities in skin, hair and hooves
  • Reproduction challenges
  • Collagen synthesis and maintenance
  • Enzyme function
  • Red blood cell maturation
  • Reproduction
  • Immune response
  • Bone and joint disease
  • Tendon and ligament problems
  • Poor coat color
  • Early embryonic losses
  • Required by ruminants for synthesis of Vitamin B12 by bacteria in the gut
  • Fiber fermentation by bacteria
  • Low Vitamin B12 levels
  • Poor Growth
  • Low body condition
  •  Oxygen transport in hemoglobin
  • Anemia is the final stage of iron deficiency
  • Can be caused by blood loss


  • Component of Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Thyroid hormone metabolism
  • Immune response
  • Muscular cramping
  • Poor stress tolerance
  • Impaired immunity
  • Subpar performance


  • Thyroid hormone synthesis
  • Thermoregulation
  • Enlarged thyroid gland; goiter
  • Hair loss and dry scaly skin

Performance Minerals versus Ordinary Minerals

Performance Minerals support increased growth and improved efficiency, reproduction and immunity. Performance minerals are readily available to the animal when ingested. They consist of one metal ion bound to one amino acid molecule. This stable bond allows performance minerals to remain intact as they pass through the volatile stomach environment so they can reach the small intestine where they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream and then transported to tissues and organs for utilization.  

Ordinary minerals prevent deficiencies and provide for normal growth and reproduction. When an ordinary trace mineral – such as zinc sulfate or zinc oxide – is fed, there are three possible outcomes:

1.    It is bound to an antagonist and not absorbed. Antagonists are other components in the diet that may interfere with mineral absorption.

2.    The ordinary mineral remains in its original form and is excreted.

3.    The ordinary mineral is bound to a complexing agent, which serves as a carrier to drive absorption into the small intestine.


Trace Mineral Biological Efficacy

Another factor to consider in trace mineral nutrition is biological efficacy – how well a mineral is absorbed and utilized in an animal. Zinpro Performance Minerals® are designed for optimum absorption, so they easily enter the bloodstream and affect numerous metabolic functions.