I know that there are numerous proponents of soaking, germinating, and/or fermenting grains, seeds, and legumes in order to neutralize and reduce the concentrations of phytic acid in these foods. I agree that soaking, sprouting, and fermenting are wonderful for augmenting the body's capacity to asborb and assimilation nutrients contained in those grains but in some circumstances it may be unnecessary if performed for the express purpose of eliminating phytic acid.
Phytic acid always seems to be the primary "anti-nutrient" that is invoked when discussing grains. I know that phytic acid has been shown to bind to minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc and if one were deriving the majority of their minerals from these dietary sources then this would clearly pose a problem.
But, Is this really a concern for someone who obtains these minerals from other food sources (such a green leafy vegetables)? If one does not rely on grains for providing such minerals, then is it really a problem if the phytic acid in those grains prevents the body from absorbing them?
I cannot speak as to potential enzyme inhibitors or other "anti-nutrients" contained in grains, and gluten is likely best avoided by everyone, but the ramifications of phytic acid seem to me to be somewhat overblown. In fact, there are numerous studies that demonstrate manifold benefits of phytic acid.
Studies demonstrating beneficial effects of phytic acid:
Cancer inhibition by inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) and inositol: from laboratory to clinic.
Journal of Nutrition. 2003 November;133:3778S-3784S.
Phytic acid seems only to affect cancer cells and not normal cells. Phytic acid and inositol improves the effectiveness of chemotherapy. More studies are required to determine optimal dosage, effectiveness and safety of phytic acid.
The biochemical changes associated with phytic Acid on induced breast proliferative lesions in rats: preliminary findings.
Cancer Biology and Therapy. 2006 September;5(9):1129-33
Previous studies shown that phytic acid inhibits or prevents the growth of neoplasms. The aim of this study was to investigate if phytic acid has an effect on tumorigenesis by inducing apoptosis and inhibiting of oxidative stress. The in-vivo test was carried out on rats which were treated with the carcinogen dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA). The researchers found that the administration of phytic removed the benign proliferative breast changes. Phytic acid significantly decreased trichostatin A and nitric oxide levels and increased apoptosis. The study concluded that the administration of phytic acid reversed the proliferative effects of the carcinogen DMBA, and could have a protective effect.
Interactive suppression of aberrant crypt foci induced by azoxymethane in rat colon by phytic acid and green tea.
Carcinogenesis. 1997 October;18(10):2023-6
Epidemiological studies show a relation between diet and the incidence of colon cancer. Both phytic acid and phytochemicals in green tea seems to act as anticancer agents and have been linked wit reduced risk of cancer. The aim of this in vivo study with rats was to determine the possible synergistic effect of phytic acid and green tea on the inhibition of colonic preneoplastic lesions formations and the enzyme glutathione S-transferase. The rats were treated with the carcinogen azoxymethane and received different combinations of phytic acid and green tea. The researchers found that green tea alone had only marginal effect whereas phytic acid significantly reduced the incidence of aberrant crypt foci. The combination of phytic acid and green tea showed a significant and synergistic anticancer effect.
Protective effect of phytic acid on oxidative DNA damage with reference to cancer chemoprevention.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 2001 November 2;288(3):552-7
According to K Midorikawa and colleagues, phytic acid is one of the most promising cancer chemopreventive agents. The aim of this study was the determine the anticancer mechanism of phytic acid. They found that phytic acid inhibited the oxidative damage of hydrogen peroxide, but that phytic acid did not directly scavenge hydrogen peroxide. Phytic acid did not cause damage to DNA. They concluded that phytic acid acts as an antioxidant and anticancer agent by chelating metals.
Antitumor activity of phytic acid (inositol hexaphosphate) in murine transplanted and metastatic fibrosarcoma, a pilot study.
Cancer Letters. 1992 July 31;65(1):9-13
In vivo tests have shown that phytic acid exerts a antitumor effect on experimental colon cancer. The purpose of this study was to determine the antitumor activity of phytic acid on other experimental tumor models, such as murine fibrosarcoma. The researchers found that the intraperitoneal injection of mice with phytic acid reduced the growth of subcutaneously transplanted fibrosarcoma and prolonged survival. Phytic acid could have a potential use in the therapy of cancer.
Hypolipidemic action of phytic acid (IP6): prevention of fatty liver.
Anticancer Research. 1999 September-October;19(5A):3695-8
Most studies about phytic acid are focused on its anti-nutritional properties, such as mineral binding. Phytic acid is also known to help catalyze the break down of fat during metabolism. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of phytic acid on excessive liver lipids. Rats were fed with diets rich in sucrose or starch and supplemented with myo-inositol or phytic acid. The researchers found that both myo-inositol and phytic acid inhibited the increase of lipids in the liver cells. The study concluded that myo-inositol and phytic acid might protect against fatty liver.
Suppression of colonic cancer by dietary phytic acid.
Nutrition and cancer. 1993;19(1):11-9
In this article the flavour producer Tastemaker (this company no longer exists) suggests that the health benefits of fiber maybe be attributed to phytic acid. Epidemiological studies have shown that the consumption of food fibers is linked to lower frequency of colon cancer. However there is also strong evidence that this protective effect may be caused by phytic acid, which is present in high amounts in high fiber products such cereal grains, nuts and seeds. Phytic acid forms complexes with metals, such as iron, which cause oxidative damage.
Effect of dietary level of phytic acid on hepatic and serum lipid status in rats fed a high-sucrose diet.
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2004 Jun;68(6):1379-81
This study investigated the effects of the intake of different levels of phytic acid on hepatic and serum lipid status by rats fed with a diet high in sugar. The levels of sodium phytate ranged from 0.02% to 10%. The researchers found that phytic acid reduced the hepatic levels of triglyceride and cholesterol. The activity of lipogenic enzymes was also reduced. However, very high dietary levels of phytic acid (10%) resulted in a drastically depressed growth and food intake.
The effect of phytic acid on in vitro rate of starch digestibility and blood glucose response.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1983 December;38(6):835-42
This study investigated the effect of the dietary intake of phytic acid on the glycemic index. The researchers found that the phytic acid level was negatively correlated with the glycemic index. Phytic acid reduced the digestion of raw starch up to 50%. The addition of calcium reduced this effect.
Phytic Acid Modulates In Vitro IL-8 and IL-6 Release from Colonic Epithelial Cells Stimulated with LPS and IL-1beta.
Digestive Diseases Sciences. 2006 December 12
Phytic acid is present in wheat bran and legumes and is associated with fibres. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of phytic acid on the immunologic function of intestinal epithelial cells. The human colon cells were exposed to bacterial lipopolysaccharides, from tow strains of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans and one strain of Escherichia coli. The researchers found that phytic acid dose-dependently reduced interleukin-8 release of colonocytes stimulated with lipopolysaccharides and interleukin-1 beta. Phytic acid also increased constitutive interleukin-6 secretion and the response on lipopolysaccharides depended on the bacterial source. The study concluded that phytic acid may exert immunoregulatory effects in the intestine and may help to maintain the non-inflammatory state of the colonic during microbial infection.
Antiinflammatory and antiulcer activities of phytic acid in rats.
Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. 2004 February;42(2):179-85
The researchers determined the anti-inflammation activity of phytic acid on paw edema of rats, induced with the injection of carrageenan and on gastric tissue exposed to ibuprofen, ethanol and cold stress. They found that pretreatment with phytic acid protected the gastric mucosa from the adverse effects of ethanol. The study concluded that in an induced rat paw model phytic acid may protect the gastric tissue by its antioxidant and cytoprotective activity. The ability of phytic acid to inhibit the thermal denaturation of proteins may explains its anti-inflammation activity.
Edited by Soma, 11 July 2010 - 01:00 AM.