2

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Define phytic acid

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 26, 2011 at 11:04 PM

So I've looked it up on several sites, checked out some posts on here, but i'm still confused what phytic acid really is & how it's harmful. Could someone break it down for me in simple terms please? Much appreciated!

A942dbc90fe12f7f90744a68f9f223e2

(249)

on December 27, 2011
at 08:04 AM

I thought Nance's answer was humorous. Grok like to laugh.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on December 27, 2011
at 03:31 AM

I doubt it as well but have yet been able to determine what is causing it (presumably a malabsorption of some sort). Appreciate the solid answers.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 27, 2011
at 03:08 AM

The feeling I get is that phytates were vilified simply by association with grains and gluten. I've seen more than a few folks suggesting that phytate-phobia might be misplaced. However, if you are iron-deficient, it make sense to me that reducing phytates may be a good thing. I doubt excess phytates are causing your underlying low-iron and/or anemia.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on December 27, 2011
at 02:40 AM

What impact on people who are iron deficient (anemia), like myself. From what I'm reading, I would presume phytic acid would be something I would want to reduce. Thoughts?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 27, 2011
at 12:38 AM

Forgive me Nance for missing that. I'm all grumpy-bloaty from the SAD holiday food I'm eating. *goes to eat a dozen more cookies*

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 27, 2011
at 12:37 AM

I get it. Half the responses on this forum are silly but I'm not allowed. Serious from now on.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 27, 2011
at 12:33 AM

Seriously, since many foods contain phytic acid and only wheat gives me trouble, I can't conclude phytic acid is the problem.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 27, 2011
at 12:30 AM

I doubt you avoid phytic acid entirely unless you don't eat any plants ever

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 27, 2011
at 12:30 AM

@Matt, that was the whole point! I don't claim to know the science and that's why I included the :-))

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 27, 2011
at 12:22 AM

Good point. Germination causes the plant to tap into phytates for its own phosphorus needs.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 27, 2011
at 12:05 AM

Bah, Nance, that's the knee-jerk paleo answer…

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 26, 2011
at 11:28 PM

phytic acid. bad. Grok no eat. :-))

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2 Answers

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8
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 27, 2011
at 12:03 AM

Phytic acid is a plant's method of storing phosphorus. It's indigestible by humans as we lack the enzyme, phytase, that degrades it (these enzymes are typically found in microorganisms, so some gut microbes may be capable of breaking it down for us).

The problem with phytates (salts of phytic acid) is that it is theorized that large amounts of it can cause mineral deficiencies. Phytates are potent chelators, which means they go after desirable metals that our bodies utilize (such as iron, zinc, copper, etc). Once bound, these minerals are not bioavailable to us, as mentioned above, we lack phytase that is capable of breaking it down.

Seeds/grains and nuts are high sources of phytates. Seeds (think wheat) aren't consumed in high amounts by paleo folks, so that already eliminates large amounts of phytates from our diets.

Phytates may have been unfairly vilified however. They're listed in the laundry list of reasons why not to eat grains such as wheat. However, I've not heard of anybody with severe deficiency caused by excess phytate consumption. In fact, phytates may be somewhat beneficial as natural chelators. Removing things like toxic, undesirable heavy metals as well as possibly mitigating high iron load caused by large amounts of animal protein consumption (fairly typical amongst paleo folks).

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on December 27, 2011
at 02:40 AM

What impact on people who are iron deficient (anemia), like myself. From what I'm reading, I would presume phytic acid would be something I would want to reduce. Thoughts?

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on December 27, 2011
at 03:31 AM

I doubt it as well but have yet been able to determine what is causing it (presumably a malabsorption of some sort). Appreciate the solid answers.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 27, 2011
at 03:08 AM

The feeling I get is that phytates were vilified simply by association with grains and gluten. I've seen more than a few folks suggesting that phytate-phobia might be misplaced. However, if you are iron-deficient, it make sense to me that reducing phytates may be a good thing. I doubt excess phytates are causing your underlying low-iron and/or anemia.

1
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 27, 2011
at 12:16 AM

Matt gave a great answer. Also, by preparing grains by traditional methods like germinating them first, a substantial amount of phytic acid can be removed.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 27, 2011
at 12:22 AM

Good point. Germination causes the plant to tap into phytates for its own phosphorus needs.

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