Enzyme spotlight: Phytase for nutritional support

Phytase is an enzyme not well known to consumers but can provide a great deal of nutritional support. Phytase breaks down phytic acid, an anti-nutritional factor found in bran, cereals and grains. Pinto beans, sesame seed flour, lentils, chickpea and soybeans contain the highest amounts of phytic acid. Phytic acid binds strongly to minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorous, inositol, zinc and magnesium and prevents them from being absorbed from the small intestine. Phytic acid can also chelate the vitamin niacin which is necessary for prevention of pellagra. Phytase is added to the commercial feeds of poultry and hogs to prevent excretion of phosphorous which pollutes waterways and causes algal growth. The addition of the enzyme allows the phosphorous and other minerals bound up by phytic acid to be released and absorbed by the animal, improving the animal's health and the environment. Human studies have shown that the addition of phytase to thediet resulted in an increase in blood levels of iron and zinc. Many try to improve their diets by adding in more grains and legumes. Taking an enzyme product containing phytase insures availabilty of all the nutrition in these foods. Houston Enzymes uses an enzyme blend called CereCalase® which is a blend of cellulase, glucanase and phytase. Our Zyme Prime and No-Fenol contain this blend and are recommended for meals high in phytate.