Phytic acid and the phytates have the ability to chelate (bind) divalent and trivalent metal ions such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper. As such, they have the potential to interfere with the absorption of these ions in the gut. Levels of phytate vary greatly with the stage of maturity of the plant and the portion of the plant that is consumed, but cereals, nuts and legumes have relatively high levels, and potatoes, sweet potatoes, artichokes, blackberries, strawberries and figs contain small to moderate amounts.
Whether or not high levels of consumption of phytate-containing foods will result in mineral deficiency will depend on what else is being consumed. In areas of the world where cereal proteins are a major and predominant dietary factor, the associated phytate intake is a cause for concern.
Last modified: Saturday, 18 February 2012, 9:13 AM