Phytic acid is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially the bran portion of grains and other seeds. The bran contains a mineral phosphorus and in a form that is not readily available to our digestive systems. Not only is it not readily available the phytic acid molecule binds with other minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, making them also unavailable to our digestive systems. In this form, the compound is referred to as Phytate. Phytate also inhibits the enzymes that we need to digest our food in our stomachs, and over the long term this can lead to serious health issues.
Phytase is the enzyme that neutralizes phytic acid and liberates the phosphorus. allowing you to absorb the proper minerals This enzyme co-exists in plant foods that contain phytic acid. Unfortunately most people do not produce the phytase enzyme to counter the effects of the high phytate foods they eat on a regular basis. I have suffered from digestive problems for years but it's not until I started eating whole grain and drinking "real " Kefir that I have found true relief. Come to find out probiotic lactobacilli and other species of the digestive microflora produce phytase.
Eating a well rounded diet is key, research published in 2000 indicates that both vitamin A and beta-carotene form a complex molecule with iron in our stomachs which inhibits the effect of phytates. There is still much research needed on this subject and here is another reason to consume phytate-rich foods in the context of a diet containing meat and animal fats rich in vitamin A, and fruits and vegetables rich in carotenes at every meal.
It's not only what you eat but how the food is prepared that allows your body to digest it and get the most nutrition out of it. Our ancestors prepared their food very differently than we do today and maybe they were on to something. Two processes that will reduce the Phytic acid in grains it to soak the grain or flour like using a Biga and Soaker or Desem when making bread. Also sprouting the grains will reduce the phytic acid in the grain. When I make bread I use an indirect method of bread making which involves soaking the flour, this will make the bread much more digestible and improve the texture of the whole grain bread. Soaking the flour for 8 hours will reduce the acid by 44.9%. The addition of malted grains and yeast will increase the reduction to 92-98%. Another study showed almost complete elimination of phytic acid in whole wheat bread after eight hours of sourdough fermentation (Desem).