Phytic acid is an unusual organic compound that can be discovered in the seeds of several plants. Because of the effects that it has on the body’s ability to absorb minerals, it has garnered a lot of interest. It may also contribute to a deficiency in these minerals. Because of its quality, it is frequently alluded to as an anti-nutrient. Phytic acid, on the other hand, has a lot of positive effects on one’s health and should not be discounted. It is a type of natural antioxidant that can be discovered most commonly in seeds, nuts, and cereals. Specific veggies are examples of foods that are high in phytic acid content. Because it prevents minerals from being absorbed by the body, it is classified as an antinutrient.
Research has demonstrated that there are also advantages to health, including the avoidance and cure of certain disorders, including malignancy. Individuals who already have a mineral shortage should pay attention to the number of foods that contain phytic acid that they consume. The seeds of plants contain phytic acid, often known as phytate. It is the primary mechanism by which phosphorus is stored in the seeds of the plant. The phytate begins to break down when the embryo sprouts and this allows the phosphorus to be released. The newly formed plant will make use of the phosphorus that has been provided. Inositol hexakisphosphate, more commonly abbreviated to IP6, is another name for phytic acid. Because of its antioxidant qualities, it is frequently utilized in the commercial sector as a preservative.
This article provides a comprehensive analysis of phytic acid as well as its implications on health as a whole.
What are the medical advantages of phytic acid?
One nutrient that might be beneficial or harmful depending on the context is phytic acid. As a powerful antioxidant that may also prevent insulin resistance. One possible explanation for the link between whole grains and a decreased likelihood of colon cancer has been linked to phytic acid. It has been linked in particular studies to a reduced risk of malignancy. Phytic acid’s ability to prevent oxidative harm from intestinal cells suggests it may be especially effective in warding off colon cancer. There is evidence that eating foods high in phytates can help prevent osteoporosis.
In an investigation of postmenopausal women, researchers found that individuals whose urine phytate was lowest were more likely to experience bone loss and hip fracture than those whose urinary phytate was highest. Women who had more predisposing factors for osteoporosis were more likely to show significant disparities, according to a different analysis. These individuals may benefit even more from a phytate-rich diet in preventing bone loss and fractures. A lot of foods high in phytic acid are rather nutritious and beneficial, so cutting them out entirely would be counterproductive. Additionally, numerous individuals in third-world nations depend on grains and legumes as the main dietary staples due to food scarcity.
Phytic acid can be greatly reduced in meals through a variety of cooking methods, so there’s no need to avoid them altogether. Iron, zinc, and calcium are more difficult for the body to absorb when phytic acid is present. It may lead to mineral deficiencies over time, but those who maintain healthy diets need not be very concerned about this issue.
Following are the medical advantages of phytic acid
It’s a powerful antioxidant
Phytic acid has been shown to protect against liver damage caused by alcohol by inhibiting the production of free radicals and increasing antioxidant possibilities. It has an anti-oxidative effect because it inhibits Xanthine Oxidase and stops the production of ADP-iron-oxygen complexes, both of which are necessary for oxidation to take place. Additionally, it was likely to shield DNA from damage caused by free radicals. The antioxidant capacity of foods containing phytic acid was increased by roasting or heating.
Autophagy is triggered
Autophagy was discovered to be triggered by phytic acid. It is a mechanism used by cells to degrade and recycle proteins that are no longer needed. In recent years, its significance as a controller of neuronal activity and survival as well as the main reaction to cellular stress has been apparent. It aids in the elimination of harmful microbes within our body’s cells. Autophagy has been theorized to be useful in the treatment of brain disorders. This is why the buildup of disease-causing proteins that have become misfolded is a hallmark of these conditions. It has been hypothesized that autophagy is essential for the medical advantages of exercise and the lifespan-extending effects of calorie restriction. One mechanism by which mTOR inhibition extends life span is through a rise in autophagy.
Lowers Glucose Levels in the Blood
According to several studies, phytate can lower the amount of glucose in the blood of rats and mice. It does this by reducing the pace at which starch may be digested in the body.
Restoration of DNA
It was discovered that it can penetrate cells and assist in the repair of DNA strand breaks. One possible method by which phytate protects against cancer is described here.
Builds Density in Bones
Consumption of phytates was associated with a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis. A diet low in phytates increases the likelihood of developing osteoporosis. It is possible that maintaining an adequate intake of phytate can play a significant part in reducing the risk of bone mineral density decline in postmenopausal women.
Offers UVB-Protection to Human Skin
Skin cells are harmed when exposed to UVB radiation, which can lead to further skin damage, as well as cancer and a suppressed immune system. According to several studies, phytic acid can shield cells from the damage that can be caused by exposure to UVB rays, as well as protect mice from developing cancers.
Reduces the Risk of Kidney Stones
The reduction of calcium deposits in the kidneys of rats that received therapy with phytic acid hints at the possibility of phytic acid’s use in the prevention of kidney stones. A separate investigation conducted on animals discovered that it reduced the risk of developing calcium oxalate stones. In an individual investigation, the amounts of phytate found in the urine of individuals who formed active calcium oxalate stones were measured and compared to the levels found in the urine of healthy individuals. Stone formers have noticeably lower levels of phytate in their urinary systems. It’s possible that low phytate concentrations are to blame for the increased prevalence of kidney stones in the ancient world.
Attracts and binds to metals
Among the few types of chelating therapies that can be utilized for uranium elimination is called phytic acid. The antioxidant capacity of phytic acid may be responsible for the fact that it lowers the toxicity of mycotoxins. Additionally, it forms bonds with heavy metals, namely iron and manganese. We typically obtain an excessive amount of the nutrients iron and manganese, although this isn’t always the case. If we do possess an abundance of something, then our health may suffer as a result of that.
What are the adverse effects of phytic acid?
As an anti-nutrient, phytic acid prevents the body from taking in essential minerals. The risk of mineral shortage due to phytic acid can be mitigated by taking certain measures. Phytic acid’s mineral-blocking effect happens just during a single meal, not over a whole day. This indicates that while foods high in phytic acid may reduce mineral absorption when consumed together, they will have no further effect on mineral absorption when consumed separately later in the day. Watch over your phytic acid intake if you have a mineral shortage. Dietitians and medical professionals can advise patients with mineral deficiencies on which foods to eat, when to consume them, and whether or not mineral supplements are necessary. If you eat healthy overall, phytic acid won’t be a problem. But individuals who are in danger of an iron or zinc deficit should avoid eating foods high in phytates at every meal.
Those who are iron deficient may benefit greatly from this. Heme iron and non-heme iron are the two forms of iron found in food. Non-heme iron is present in plants, while heme iron can be identified in animal-based products like meat. Heme-iron is efficiently ingested, while non-heme iron from plant-based diets is not well absorbed. Phytic acid has a significant effect on non-heme iron, but it has little to no effect on heme iron. Zinc easily dissolves from meat, and this is true even in the case of phytic acid. This means that people who consume meat are unlikely to worry about phytic acid-related nutrient deficits. But phytic acid can become a serious problem when one’s diet is deficient in meat and other animal-based items and rich in foods high in phytates. This is especially worrisome in numerous developing countries whose diets are based mostly on whole-grain cereals and legumes.
The Bottom Line
Foods that are high in phytates, can increase the likelihood of having an iron or zinc deficit. Methods like soaking, sprouting, and fermentation are frequently used as preventative measures against mold and mildew. People who consume a substantial amount of meat regularly do not need to worry about phytic acid deficiency. On the other hand, there are various advantages associated with eating foods high in phytates as part of a diet that is well-balanced. These advantages typically outweigh any potential adverse effects on the body’s ability to absorb minerals. In most cases, phytic acid is not consumed in the form of a vitamin. Instead, the stuff you consume and the decisions you make regarding food are where you get your supply of phytic acid. The average Western diet contains between 250 and 800 milligrams (mg) of phytate, which is considered to be a comparatively modest amount.
There is a possibility that vegetarians consume more phytate than non-vegetarians. Because it hinders the body’s ability to absorb certain minerals, phytic acid has earned the reputation of being an “anti-nutrient.” It isn’t advised to cut out meals that include phytic acid because this type of acid can be found in a wide variety of foods, and most of those items are typically considered to be healthy and nutritive. Phytic acid is beneficial to one’s health since it acts as an antioxidant. Consuming a diet that is both nutritious and well-balanced will provide you with the health benefits of phytic acid while also lowering the risk that you will ingest too much of it and end up with a mineral deficiency. Consult your primary care physician or a nutritionist if you suspect that you may be suffering from a mineral shortage.