Minerals and phytic acid interactions: is it a real problem for human nutrition?


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Summary Because of its high density of negatively charged phosphate groups, phytic acid (PA) forms very stable complexes with mineral ions rendering them unavailable for intestinal uptake. Indeed, the first step in mineral absorption requires that the mineral remains in the ionic state. As the PA content of the diet increases, the intestinal absorption of zinc, iron and calcium decreases. The inhibitory effects of PA on magnesium or copper are more controversial. Nevertheless, PA does not occur alone in foods and is often consumed with various compounds. Phytates are always present in vegetal matrix composed of fibres, minerals, trace elements and other phytomicronutrients. Thus, in order to evaluate mineral absorption from phytate-rich products, all components of diet and food interactions should be considered and it is hard to predict mineral bioavailability in such products by using only the phytate content.