September 28, 2022

What is phytic acid?

Phytic acid, or phytate, is found in plant seeds. Phytic acid (PA) is the hexaphosphoric ester of cyclohexane (inositol hexaphosphoric acid, IP6). This acid is the primary way phosphorus is stored in many plants, including beans, seeds, and nuts.

The phytic acid content of different types of bran can vary widely. Rice bran contains approximately 10% phytic acid, whereas wheat bran and rye bran contain only 5%.

It serves as the main storage form of phosphorous in the seeds. Then, when seeds sprout, phytate is broken down and the phosphorus is released. The phosphorus will be used by the young plant.

Phytic acid is considered an antinutrient because it impairs mineral absorption. When phytic acid is consumed, it binds to other minerals to create phytates. In this case, phytic acid prevents the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium, chromium, and calcium and may promote mineral deficiencies. Generally, the more phytic acid consumed, the more minerals are blocked from human body.

In addition to binding to iron and zinc, phytic acid also binds to not-so-great heavy metals like cadmium and lead, thus helping human body get rid of these metals.

That is why it is often referred to as an anti-nutrient. However, phytates have been found to lower cholesterol, slow digestion, and prevent sharp rises in blood sugar. Phytic acid is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help to remove free radicals from cells in the body. These are the highly reactive byproducts of cellular metabolism. Left unchecked, free radicals can contribute to the development of certain diseases and cancer.
What is phytic acid?

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