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GSE Antinutrients in seed coats: phytic acid / phytate, lectins, enzyme inhibitors

About Antinutrients

Grains, legumes, nuts and other seeds contain Antinutrients in their seed coats

What are antinutrients? - contained in the outer bran or seed coat, substances such as phytates, lectins and enzyme inhibitors are present in all grains, legumes, nuts and other seeds to protect them from predators until conditions are right for them to germinate and grow. Example predators are insects or microbes (incl. bacteria, mold/fungus). Whether a substance remains an antinutrient after consumption depends on the digestive system of its ingester. E.g. ruminants can digest trypsin inhibitors and phytates without adverse consequences, humans cannot.

Several antinutrients inhibit digestive enzymes enzyme inhibitors, including phytates, lectins and tannins, are found in most beans and many grains. These antinutrients have been found to inhibit the digestive enzymes for protein, carbohydrates and fats, and so interefere with nutrient absorption to mention just one repercussion. E.g. Enzyme inhibitors inhibit the pancreatic protease enzymes, trypsin and chymotrypsin, which break down proteins during digestion. This obviously affects protein metabolism and can induce pancreatic hyperactivity.  The potential for health problems due to overconsumption of enzyme inhibitors is wide ranging, including allergies, arthritis, gastrointestinal symptoms and more;

Grains, legumes, nuts and other seeds should be properly prepared to reduce the following anti-nutrients:

✔ Phytate“Malabsorption Agent” - mainly in grains, legumes, nuts, and other seeds, reduces mineral absorption, including magnesium, calcium,  iron, copper, and zinc;

✔ Certain Lectins lectins are in all food plants, especially grains, legumes, nuts and other seeds; certain lectins can cause serious inflammatory problems and may be implicated in weight gain; Gliadin in gluten is perhaps the most renowned inflammation-causing lectin; also in grain-fed cow's milk (A1 casein producers), (i.e. most grocery store milk); can cause a breach in the intestinal lining, so-called "leaky gut" leading to many of today's health problems - allergies, asthma, arthritis, anemia, obesity, the list goes on.

✔ Goitrogens E.g. in soybeans, groundnuts; cause thyroid gland enlargement

✔ Tannins - a class of antioxidant polyphenols that may interefere with digestion of various nutrients;

✔ Oxylates - bound to oxalates, some minerals are poorly absorbed E.g. calcium oxalate, primary form of calcium in vegetables, can reduce calcium absorption in uncooked spinach;  Reference

✔ Alkylrecorcinols

✔ Complex sugars indigestible by human metabolism.

Grains also inherently contain mycotoxins:

–   Produced by fungus during growth prevalent in corn and wheat, and also present in barley, sorghum, peanuts, rye, and cottonseed.

–   Immunosuppressive

–   Neurotoxic can damage brain and nerves, causing neurological dysfunction, such as in M.S., Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Lou Gehrig's disease.

Antinutrients can Cause Health Problems if not properly prepared

Improperly prepared whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, and fractionated grain products (E.g. bran, wheat germ, naked starch) cause GI tract problems - E.g. irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, colitis, colon cancer, celiac disease and associated mental disorders, and many other health problems, due to the anti-nutrients they contain:

If consumed in quantity on a regular basis, phytates, lectins and other anti-nutrients must be removed or reduced in foods containing them

Most marketed whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes or products containing them are not properly prepared and are unfit for regular consumption. - if you are unable to purchase products that have utilized appropriate preparation methods to remove antinutrients, buy unprocessed ingredients and prepare them yourself.


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