Antinutritional Compounds

Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert. Sport & Exercise Nutrition. British Army Physical Training Instructor.  


Antinutritional compounds include Phytohemagglutinins, Lectins and Phytase inhibitors.

These substances are used to treat various health issues such as inflammatory disorders and diabetes.

In addition, these substances are a source of vitamins, such as folic acid, which helps to lower blood pressure.

However, there are certain side effects that need to be taken into account when using these compounds.

Phytic acid

One of the most prominent antinutritional compounds in foods is phytate. Phytate is a mineral-chelating compound that binds to minerals, lowering their concentrations.

It is commonly found in grains. As a result, it is considered to be one of the major concerns for zinc deficiency.

Phytic acid is an antinutritional compound that can affect the absorption of iron and calcium. It also inhibits the activity of some enzymes necessary for protein digestion and degradation.

Phytic acid is present in the bran of cereals and other plant-based foods. In addition to this, it is also found in the roots and tubers of plants. The levels of phytic acid vary greatly between foods.

The compund is a primary form of storage for phosphorus in many plants. Phytate is found in oil seeds, cereals, legumes, and nuts. Plants and cereals also contain other antinutritional factors.

Studies have shown that phytate consumption has a protective effect against osteoporosis, and may help prevent cancer. Moreover, phytate is known to protect the liver from alcohol-related liver injury.

Phytic acid is not considered a concern in a healthy diet, but in a diet that does not contain sufficient amounts of legumes and grains, phytic acid can cause mineral deficiencies.

Different methods are used to remove phytic acid from grain products. One method is to activate phytase, a naturally occurring enzyme that hydrolyzes phytate.

Phytase can also increase the bioavailability of zinc, iron, and other nutrients in grain products. However, more research is needed to determine a suitable dose and delivery of phytase to human foods.

Phytase inhibitors

Phytase is an enzyme which catalyzes the hydrolysis of phytate, a phosphomonoester bond.

Without phytase, the phytate molecules cannot be absorbed. Instead, they form insoluble complexes with the minerals in the upper gastrointestinal tract. These insoluble complexes are not digestible by humans.

This reduces the availability of minerals.

Phytic acid is the major storage form of phosphorous in cereals. It is a complex composed of an inositol ring with six phosphate ester groups. Aside from its potential as a phosphorus source, phytic acid is also a food inhibitor.

Several methods have been developed to reduce the phytic acid content in foods.

For example, millet grain is fermented to reduce phytic acid. Some cereals are genetically modified to contain lower levels of phytic acid.

Similarly, germination and soaking of seeds before processing are often used to reduce the content of anti-nutrients in cereals.

Phytase has been shown to be active at various temperatures, ranging from 25 to 80 degC. However, the stability of the enzyme decreases drastically as the pH increases. The pH optimum for fungal phytases is 4.5 to 5.5 and for bacterial phytases is 6.5 to 7.5.

Phytase has found applications in several industries, including agriculture, food and feed pretreatment, and ecological protection. It is currently being used for phytate reduction in cereals and animal diets.

Currently, there is limited knowledge about the properties of phytase. In addition to its role in the bioavailability of nutrients, phytase can be used as an additive in food products.


Saponins are a group of plant-derived secondary metabolites that can affect health in a number of ways. They can have beneficial or harmful effects on nutrient absorption, lipid metabolism and gastrointestinal digestion.

Saponins are non-volatile, surface-active secondary metabolites that are found in many plants. These compounds are not easily digested by digestive enzymes and they inhibit chymotrypsin and trypsin.

However, saponins can be toxic when consumed at high levels. In contrast, low levels of these compounds are not harmful, but they do impact health in different ways.

These metabolites have been shown to reduce the bioavailability of several nutrients, including vitamins A and E, calcium, magnesium, and iron. When saponins are eaten in large amounts, they can have adverse impacts on gastrointestinal function and overall health.

The toxicity of saponins can range from minor to serious, depending on the species and the amount of the compound.

Saponins are found in seeds, berries, and legumes. This dietary compound has many interesting properties, including its ability to promote permeability of intestinal mucosal cells.

However, saponins have the potential to inhibit a number of other biological processes, ranging from nutrient absorption to foam formation in various solutions.

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Antinutritional compounds are compounds in food that can reduce the absorption of nutrients.

In order to ensure that your body gets the most from your diet, you may need to limit your intake of certain antinutrients, or even find alternatives to them.

For example, did you know that a plant called a phyllosperm contains a substance called a phenolic compound, which may reduce essential amino acids in your body? A similar thing happens when you eat fruit containing tannins.

Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that are found in many plant foods. They are also known as glycoproteins.

Although not all plant foods contain lectins, beans, for instance, are a major source. These proteins bind to a wide variety of cell membranes, including those in the intestinal tract.

They can have an effect on the body's metabolic processes, and increase the number of pathogenic bacteria in the gut.

A variety of technologies have been developed to reduce anti-nutritional factors in edible crops.

One such technology is the heme agglutination assay. It is a simple and inexpensive test that can reveal whether or not a dietary item has a measurable amount of heme, which is a protein that binds to a certain kind of receptor on red blood cells.

If the heme is present, it means that the lectin has retained its biological activity.


Phytohemagglutinins (PHAs) are antinutritional compounds that can have a wide range of effects, depending on the concentration and exposure time. PHAs are found in various plants and legumes, and may have a positive or negative effect on human health.

Several studies have shown that PHA can affect glucose metabolism. Studies have shown that high levels of PHA in the blood can decrease the amount of glucose available for energy production.

This can reduce the risk of diabetes. A study also suggests that PHA increases the amount of vascular permeability, which can allow protein infiltration into the intestinal cavity.

The phytic acid molecule is also an antinutritional compound. It is formed by interacting with metal ions and phosphate groups. It has an agglutinate ability, which enables it to bind to starch and other sugars.

In vivo, phytic acid is mainly a soluble ion, and it works in a pH-dependent manner. Phytic acid is associated with mineral ion deficiencies in animal nutrition.

PHAs have been found to affect the cellular signal transduction pathways and to regulate the activities of certain proteins, including a-amylase, chymotrypsin, trypsin and glucosidase.

However, the degree of inhibition of these enzymes is affected by the side chains of the inhibitor. These side chains determine how the PHA can affect the cell membrane.

Another group of nonnutritive compounds are saponins. Saponins are triterpenoid substances, containing a sugar moiety. Saponins are naturally produced by a number of plant species. Nevertheless, saponins are very difficult to synthesize in vivo.

Phytohemagglutinin L-free

If you've ever wondered what phytohemagglutinin has to do with obstructing your appetite, the answer might be in the form of a nifty little protein found in kidney beans.

In fact, phytohemagglutinin is a naturally existing glycoprotein which has been found to stimulate growth in the rat pancreas and upregulate the functions of the gastrointestinal tract.

It is a tetrameric glycoprotein containing two diverse subunits. Phytohemagglutinin is found in the seeds of twelve bean lines, including the a-amylase inhibitors-free bean lines. These lines were compared for nutrient composition.

A study conducted on the same twelve lines of bean revealed that one of the major structural features of phytohemagglutinin is its ability to inactivate a starch-degrading enzyme. This is particularly important for cereals.

Another interesting property of the tetrameric glycoprotein is its ability to interact with a cell signaling protein. The resulting trimetric complex inhibits the heat-treatment of starch-degrading enzymes.

Phytohemagglutinin's best-known function is its nifty ability to stimulate T-cell proliferation and secrete IL-1a. Other benefits of this substance include its ability to inhibit human cancer cell proliferation.

Legumes like beans, peas and lentils are rich in lectins, a class of sugar-binding proteins which bind to and stymie digestion. They also cause intestinal damage. An interesting aspect of lectins is that they have a small role in boosting the absorption of iron and zinc.

Phytohemagglutinin's other notable attributes include its ability to upregulate the number of intestinal crypt cells and the length of the intestine. Furthermore, the tetrameric glycoprotein can induce apoptosis in human adenocarcinoma cells.


Antinutritional compounds are substances that are produced by plants and interfere with the digestive process. They also affect the absorption of nutrients. A variety of foods contain these compounds. These include cereals, legumes, and grains.

The presence of antinutritional compounds is especially problematic for societies that base their diets on grains. It has been found that some grains, such as wheat, contain high levels of these compounds. Some grains, such as bambara groundnut seeds, can be cooked to reduce the levels of these antinutritional compounds.

Although some antinutritional compounds are beneficial to human health, others are harmful. Some examples of these non-nutritive components are phytates and alkaloids. Others, like cyanogens and saponins, may have some benefit.

While most people are not aware of the presence of antinutritional factors in food, it is important to know. This will allow you to understand the effects of these compounds on your body.

These compounds are present in both plant-based and synthetic food sources. Plants primarily produce them to help fight off enemies. In some cases, they are also bioactive.

They can act as natural pesticides and immune suppressants. However, they can cause adverse health effects in humans and animals when consumed in large quantities.

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