Phytic Acid & Phytase

This is the second of two articles about phytic acid (also referred to as phytates).  I wrote two articles because it is a fairly large subject and one article was simply too long.  The first article can be found here.

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What is Phytase?

Phytase is an enzyme that neutralizes phytic acid, making the phosphorous bioavailable to us.  Phytase is also found in plants that contain phytic acid, although often in quantities that are too small to neutralize or offset the phytic acid.

Most people do not produce enough phytase to offset a diet that is high in phytic acid.  Increasing probiotics and digestive microflora can increase the phytase level to help to neutralize the effects of phytic acid.  Sprouting seeds or grains is also a good way to activate phytase.  It is important to note that phytase is destroyed by high heat.

Other ways to neutralize phytic acid:

  • Some recent scientific data suggests that phytic acid can be reduced to some degree (but not eliminated) by soaking or sprouting nuts and grains.  Some articles I have read refer to this process as “activating” the nuts and/or grains.  This apparently activates the phytase and reduces the phytic acid, which makes the nuts or grains easier to digest.
  • Roasting the nuts or grains can also reduce the phytic acid content, but at the same time it destroys the phytase.
  • Sourdough fermentation is also effective at reducing phytic acid levels in grains, particularly wheat and rye.

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So the conclusion that I have come to regarding phytic acid is that it is best to limit the amount of high phytate foods that are consumed.  If you are a big fan of eating nuts and grains – it would be advantageous to soak (‘activate’) them and dehydrate them before eating them. If using a dehydrator is not an option, they can be dried in the oven on a very low temperature.  In my experience, the activation process makes the nuts taste much better and I have found them to be more easily digested.

Are you wanting more information, to find out which foods will benefit YOU and your unique body?  Have you been totally bewildered by all the nutritional information and marketing åhype out there?  Do you find yourself unable to use all the good nutritional advice you’ve been given?  If so, contact me and let’s talk.  I can help you get on the right track!


Informational Resources:

Weston A Price Foundation  

Nourishing Days

The Nourishing Home – Soaking Grains

Copyright © 2013 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved