T Nation

Important info on grains and vitamins


Hi guys,

Since I've read about how people are concerned with certain things disrupting absorption of certain nutrients, specifically zinc and calcium, I think it would be a good idea to bring something to everyone's attention.

There is an important way to eat your grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds that will increase nutrient content and prevent blocking of some VERY important nutrients (zinc and magnesium being two of them). This would be valuable information for those of you taking ZMA. Those interested, please read on.

Grains contain a substance called phytic acid that blocks absorption of certain nutrients, those being phophorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, and zinc in the intestinal tract. They also contain enzyme inhibitors that can hinder digestion.

Why is this? It's quite simple. These foods are all seeds, and the seed's job is to spread out and create new plants to keep the species alive. One way to do this is to get animals to eat the seeds, and then when they deficate, the seeds are hopefully transported somewhere else. In order to accomplish this, the seed has to protect itself in the intestine.

This is where the phytic acid comes in. It helps prevent digestion of the seed and also keeps the seed in a dormant state until it encounters the right conditions.

You can neutralize phytic acid very easily. By soaking them, the phytic acid is neutralized so that the seed can start to grow. Sprouting is another method, as is fermenting.

But what use is this to you guys??

Well, it's up to you if you want to soak and dry your nuts, but it's a lot of time and effort. One thing you CAN do that is cheap and easy is go to a healthfood store and buy sprouted bread. Just make sure soy lechtin isn't an ingredient. Keep an eye out for any other sprouted, soaked, or fermented products while you're at the store, too.

By buying sprouted, soaked, or fermented grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, you can increase the nutrient content of them and help prevent blocking of zinc and magnesium absorption. Hopefully this would help out with your goals.

Hope this helps,


Or you can supplement with ZMA. It seems a lot easier.


Most of the grain products I consume are the femented kind so I'm cool.


Very informative and if not for my laziness/ZMA use it could have been helpful as well. Either way I like knowing stuff like that so thanks.