Phytic Acid: messing with minerals

We’ve looked at grains many times, and mentioned phytic acid (especially lately in our posts on vitamins and minerals), so the time has come to look into the topic a little more. Phytic acid is the where plants store phosphorus. Bad news for humans is that it is not bioavailable and binds with our precious minerals (like magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc), making them unavailable for use. Furthermore, it inhibits enzymes that we need to digest food (like pepsin for protein breakdown, amylase to turn starch to sugar and trypsin for protein digestion). It can bind to calcium, causing a loss, and disrupting phosphorus. If phytates are absent then 20% more zinc is absorbed and 60% more magnesium! So you can see why how phytic acid can lead to mineral deficiency. What’s funny is how long we’ve known this. Research in 1949 by Edward Mellanby showed that increased consumption of phytate in cereal grains interfere with bone growth and interrupt vitamin D metabolism (they say that increased absorbable calcium in the form of bone broths and raw dairy and in vitamin D from animal fats, can reduce the adverse effects of phytic acid). Also vitamin A and beta-carotene form a complex with iron that keeps it soluble in phytic acids presence.

  Where can one find phytic acid?

  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Grains
  • Tubers
  • Trace amounts found in fruits and vegetables

 Something interesting is phytase. This is an enzyme that neutralizes phytic acid and liberates phosphorus. Sounds like a pretty good solution for the problems right? Well one-stomach animals, like humans, produce less of it. More facts and things affecting phytase and phytic acid:

  • Grains that are sprouted decreases phytic acid
  • Soaking grains and flour in an acid medium at warm temperatures, activates phytase and decreases phytic acid
  • Phytase is destroyed by heat (and therefore by all-bran cereal)
  • Grinding grain too quickly, too high of temperature, freezing and long storage time will destroy phytase

 Although processes like sprouting may make grains more digestible, it is only a step. Grains that are sprouted and consumed regularly can still lead to excess phytic acid. They should be soaked and cooked. Same with nuts, soaked and roasted nuts seem to be superior to raw, although phytic profile for nuts is not as conclusive as grains. Nuts, a problem? That’s right. Phytic acid as we can see can not be avoided completely. The problem comes from high levels of phytic acid over weeks and months. Or when grains are a major portion of ones diet, and when calcium, vitamin C, and fat-soluble vitamins are low. Proper care and preparation are also necessary, so as to retain vitamins and minerals. If you ask me it sounds like and awful lot of working, waiting (for things to sprout, soak, roast, dehydrate, etc.) just for a piece of bread that is not really tasty on its own. Next we’ll take a look at gluten and some known problems (Celiac’s disease). For more on our fat-burner weight-loss programs check out our website at Other articles you may like:




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10 Responses to Phytic Acid: messing with minerals

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