Eating Brown Rice: Phytase Supplementation?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 27, 2011 at 1:54 PM

So I am an environmental educator at a residential facility. All of the food is already prepared. I avoid most of the grains (and nuts, really), but have found that it is difficult to be purely paleo (vegetable oils). Given that I am lacking healthy fats here, and have negative responses to dairy, I eat a moderate amount of carbs. Fruit is tasty, but I needed another source of energy and thus eat brown rice that is served. I notice if I eat a decent sized portion of brown rice, that my salad greens and the rice itself do not properly digest. Could this be related to the phytic acid content of the brown rice? I generally understand that phytase helps counter phytic acid, so is there any kind of supplementation to add phytase into my body when eating a meal with a lot of phytic acid? Would this even be a useful strategy?



on September 28, 2011
at 11:10 PM

No. IP6 might be beneficial, especially for men.



on September 28, 2011
at 01:08 AM

Why don't you ask them to prepare you some white rice?



on September 27, 2011
at 01:57 PM

don't worry about it, dude.

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6 Answers



on September 28, 2011
at 02:54 PM

I don't think eating phytase along with phytates counterbalance each other in that way.

You can add a phytase containing item (like buckwheat flour) to a phytate containing item (like oats) to neutralize it during fermentation, but I've never heard that your gut or your stomach can use the phytase like that.

+1 for the thought provoking question Teddy.

If it does work like that, it would mean the soaking process would be nearly irrelevant as far as phytic acid neutralization. We would just be able to eat grains that contain both elements and our gut would do the fermentation.



on October 24, 2011
at 05:20 AM

Hi, I'm researching the same thing myself. It would make life so much easier to be able to take a phytase supplement and be done with it. But what I'm finding in my reading is that: (A)the effects of that kind of supplementation and the proper dosage for humans is as yet unknown, and (B) that phytates also serve a number of valuable purposes -- the control of free radicals, the elimination of excess minerals, and possible checking of cancerous growths. Right now, phytase supplementation is mainly used with livestock, especially pigs and poultry. Tests on their feces show that the livestock clearly eliminate less calcium, phosphorous and other necessary nutrients when fed phytase supplements. They also get a lot fatter and possibly grow more tumorous masses. Ultimately, they live too short a time to be able to say the supplementation is/was really good for them. It may just make their feed go a longer way. I know that there can be significant adverse effects to lipase supplementation, so I'd say proceed with caution if you do try phytase pills.

One type of supplementation that looks promising though, is with Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum. This probiotic produces phytase and it appears to be able to withstand the journey through your stomach. It is this probiotic's presence in the gut that appears to make some people able to deal well with whole grains. Doses and side effects aren't well researched on this product either, but it seems like taking it in a general Bifidus supplement might be a more natural approach and maybe more effective approach. Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum isn't in all Bifidus supplements, though, so read the supplement info carefully if you go this route.

Good luck. Please post here if you have more info on this topic or any interesting results from whatever you choose to do.


on October 18, 2013
at 06:27 PM

I think the whole phytic acid thing is overblown.

Phytic Acid: The Ultimate Anti-Aging Compound?


on February 02, 2012
at 01:03 PM

While it doesn't resolve the phytic acid issue for brown rice, organic sprouted sourdough spelt bread is available in NFS. Spelt is an ancient, non-hybridized wheat that is easily digested, including its protein. In the Bible sourdough was used for leavening and reportedly neutralizes phytates.

BTW, brown rice smells rancid; best eat Basmati brown rice if rice is to be consumed.



on September 28, 2011
at 03:22 AM

Not really an answer to the question, but cant you prepare your own food? If my options of meals at work were grains or rice I would bring my own food.


on September 27, 2011
at 03:09 PM

The phytic acid may affect mineral absorption, but I'm not aware of a way it would affect digestion in general. But if you'd like, you can prepare your rice to minimize phytic acid: here's Stephan Guyenet's approach.

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