Plant toxin

Peer-Reviewed Scientific Articles​

Antinutritive effects of wheat-germ agglutinin and other N-acetylglucosamine-specific lectins


Journal: British Journal of Nutrition

Publication Date: 01/1993

Summary: A review of antinutritional effects of wheat-germ agglutinins

Key Takeaways

Wheat contains antinutrients known as wheat-germ agglutinins. These proteins can result in harmful growth of the small intestine and pancreas, or cause the thymus (produces immune cells) to decrease in size. They can also enter the blood stream and damage blood and lymphatic vessels.

Soy protein, phytate, and iron absorption in humans


Journal: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Publication Date: 09/1992

Summary: The effect of reducing the phytate in soy-protein isolates on nonheme-iron absorption was examined in 32 human subjects. Iron absorption was measured by using an extrinsic radioiron label in liquid-formula meals containing hydrolyzed corn starch, corn oil, and either egg white or one of a series of soy-protein isolates with different phytate contents. Iron absorption increased four- to fivefold when phytic acid was reduced from its native amount of 4.9–8.4 to < 0.01 mg/g of isolate. Even relatively small quantities of residual phytate were strongly inhibitory and phytic acid had to be reduced to < 0.3 mg/g of isolate (corresponding to < 10 mg phytic acid/meal) before a meaningful increase in iron absorption was observed. However, even after removal of virtually all the phytic acid, iron absorption from the soy-protein meal was still only half that of the egg white control. It is concluded that phytic acid is a major inhibitory factor of iron absorption in soy-protein isolates but that other factors contribute to the poor bioavailability of iron from these products.

Key Takeaways

Phytates are anti-nutrients plants that bind minerals and prevent their absorption. This study confirms this by comparing iron absorption in soy-protein to iron absorption in soy-protein that has had its phytates reduced. There was a 4-5 fold increase in iron absorption with reduced phytates. Then iron absorption was between soy-protein with all phytates removed and egg whites. The egg whites still resulted in 2x the iron absorption capacity of soy-protein after phytate removal.

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