Phytic Acid: The anti-nutrient & how to avoid its evil

It’s sad to admit, but the high majority of us have become so de-sentized to food & food choices, that age-old knowledge of food basics has been lost somewhere amongst the decades.

The result is substances like phytic acid running rampant in our bodies with us completely ignorant to its presence.

Phytic acid (hexakisphosphate [ip6])is the primary storage form of phosphorus in plants, esp seeds and bran. It too is fed to livestock including fish, in the form of grains such as soybeans & maize, and found in the hulls of nuts.

Known as an “anti-nutrient”, phytic acid is unabsorbable to humans, but has a strong affinity for binding to many minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium & zinc – rendering them inert. This obviously has significant implications with mineral absorption, yet this can have positive effects with the detoxification of unwanted substances such as uranium & other unwanted ‘toxic’ minerals (hardly a trade-off in my opinion!)

So it’s at this point that you would start considering the complete elimination of grain, legumes, and nuts & seeds from the diet, right??

Well it’s not necessary, and like all things the jury is still out on just how deadly this substance actually is. My great problem is not that we ingest phytic acid; it’s more to do with the sheer amount we tend to ingest due to our high grain intake! Wheat is particularly high in phytic acid too, which is the most common grain consumed in western civilization.

So here’s the solution….. Soak your grains, legumes, and nuts & seeds for 7 hours before eating them! Grain soaking is a lost kitchen tool which has been performed for hundreds of years to aid the digestive process. It has been proven that soaking in water removes a substantial amount of phytic acid, but adding an acid base (lemon juice, apple cidar vinegar, yoghurt,  kefir etc) removes almost all of it!

Of more interest is that our ancestors were not even aware of the presence of phytic acid, yet soaked their grains instinctively.  Several endogenous species of digestive  bacteria including the lactobacillis species, are all important sources of the enzyme ‘phytase’, which “catalyses the release of phosphate from phytic acid, ultimately improving the intestinal absorption” (1)

Like all good things, soaking grains requires planning and food organization. You can’t expect to be consuming soaked grains when dining out or going to a friend’s house for dinner, but a little thought can significantly reduce your total ingestion of this ‘anti-nutrient’. With 80% of people magnesium deficient, & 70% of people zinc deficient, i think it makes a lot of sense. Just work out what you’re eating tomorrow and soak it in filtered water before bed each night with a squeeze of lemon juice or other acid base. Happy eating!!!


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  1. Famularo g, de simone c, pandey v, sahu ar, minisola g (2005) “probiotic lactobacilli: an innovative tool to correct the malabsorption syndrome of vegetarians?”

Med. Hypotheses. 65 (6) 1132-5. Doi:10.1016/j.meh

Pmid 16095846.

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