Effects of dietary fiber and phytic acid on mineral availability

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1991;30(1):1-22. doi: 10.1080/10408399109527539.


In general, it has been shown that dietary fiber may bind metallic cations in both in vitro and in vivo studies. However, there clearly are many unresolved questions on the effects of high-fiber diets on mineral availability. On one side, the effects of fiber on the utilization of nutrients vary greatly with the amount and type of fiber. In addition, there are many agents in both food and the digestive tract that may affect the mineral binding to fiber: some agents may inhibit binding, while others will enhance it. Also, there are several major difficulties in drawing conclusions from the in vitro and in vivo studies due to the different experimental conditions, methods used to follow the mineral balance, etc. Finally, it must be borne in mind that fiber and phytic acid occur together in fiber-rich diets and, thus, it is difficult to separate the effects of fiber and phytate in the utilization of most essential polyvalent metallic ions. The studies summarized in this review show that the recommendation for increasing dietary fiber in Western communities would not be expected to have any adverse effect on mineral absorption if we increase not only the intake of fiber, but also the dietary intake of other food components such as protein (both vegetable and animal protein) and ascorbic, citric, and oxalic acids (in fruits and vegetables). The adequate intake of minerals, fat, and simple sugars are maintained with this type of diet. The recommendations should be best interpreted in such a way as to prevent the consumption of excessive amounts of phytate, particularly for those whose mineral needs are great. Further studies are still needed in this field in order to understand the conflicting results published in the literature regarding the effects of fiber on the utilization of minerals; however, the studies reviewed in this article may give us an idea of the complexity of mineral availability in fiber-rich, phytate-rich diets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cellulose / pharmacology
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Lignin / pharmacology
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Minerals / metabolism*
  • Pectins / pharmacology
  • Phytic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Minerals
  • Polysaccharides
  • Copper
  • Phytic Acid
  • hemicellulose
  • Pectins
  • Cellulose
  • Lignin
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Calcium