Phytic Acid: Digging Deep
A while ago I found a post about phytic acid on this site that got me researching the subject. I had never heard of it before and wanted to be as informed as possible. I have since found loads of information but still have some questions. Since the folks who follow these forums are so amazingly informed on just about everything, I thought I would pick some brains. Here are my questions:
1. I have read that both a sponge/soaker and using a recipe that calls for dairy (yogurt, milk, etc) will properly neutralize and/or compensate for the phytic acid in whole wheat, leaving vitamins & minerals free for absorption. The question is how much? Is a 6 hour sponge as good as a 10 hour? 12 hour? How much calcium is needed to neutralize the phytic acid? Will milk do, or is yogurt preferable? Does the fat content of the milk make a difference?
2. I read that a warm, acidic soak (adding vinegar to the water) recreates an environment similar to soil and better allows the grain to begin the breakdown of the phytic acid, a type of pre-digestion. (see quote)
"The acidic medium contains friendly bacteria such as lactobacilli, enzymes and other beneficial organisms that degrade and render inactive the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. This warm acid water activates the enzyme phytase which also neutralizes the phytic acid in the grain. Phytate degradation in the stomach and small intestine also occurs as a result of this activated dietary phytase. Furthermore, the acidic solution also helps to predigest the grain resulting in all the less work for your digestive system.When these enzyme inhibitors are broken down in this soaking grains process, they can no longer hold hostage the many enzymes within the seed. The enzymes can then be released, they can proliferate and they can work their magic."
The sponge that I use (which I would imagine is comprable to the soaker this person uses) does not contain vinegar, but does contain yogurt. Should I switch to one that uses vinegar instead?
3. Are there any of you out there who think worrying about phyic acid is a joke? :) If so, do you have research to back you up? (I'd like to read it!)
I know this is some pretty crazy questioning, but I am just the type that likes to draw on every resource available to be as informed as possible about what I am preparing for my family. I have found one or two sources for answers to some of these questions, but not enough to truly consider it "fact" if you know what I mean.