Inhibitory effects of phytic acid and other inositol phosphates on zinc and calcium absorption in suckling rats

B. Lonnerdal, A. S. Sandberg, B. Sandstrom, C. Kunz

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While it is known that phytic acid, inositol hexaphosphate, has a negative effect on zinc and calcium absorption, the effects of inositol which is phosphorylated to a lesser extent are less known. We have prepared inositol triphosphate (IP-3), tetraphosphate (IP-4), pentaphosphate (IP-5) and hexaphosphate (IP-6) by hydrolysis of sodium phytate and separation by ion-exchange chromatography and have studied their effect on zinc and calcium absorption. Using a suckling rat pup model, we found that liver uptake of 65Zn after 6 h was 5% of the total dose from solutions of IP-6, 19% from IP-5, 28% from IP-4, 29% from IP-3 and 31% from ZnCl2 (control). Non-absorbed calcium was 17%, 1.4%, 0.5%, 0.5% and 0.5% of the given dose of 45Ca, respectively. Thus, at a high degree of phosphorylation (IP-6, IP-5), zinc and calcium uptake was inhibited, while no effect was observed for the other phosphates. Consequently, total 'phytate' analysis, which includes inositol phosphates with varying degrees of phosphorylation, can give misleading information with regard to mineral availability. In addition, even limited dephosphorylation of inositol hexaphosphate can have a positive effect on mineral absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-214
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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