Effects of dietary phytate, calcium and magnesium levels on zinc bioavailability to rats

J Nutr. 1984 Aug;114(8):1421-5. doi: 10.1093/jn/114.8.1421.


Young rats were fed diets containing 12 mg Zn/kg and varied levels of sodium phytate for 21-day ad libitum feeding periods. In experiment 1, Ca levels were 0.3, 0.5, 0.8 and 1.0%, and phytate:Zn molar ratio varied between 0 and 50. In experiment 2, Ca was maintained at 0.3%, Mg levels were 0.07, 0.22 and 0.37%, and phytate:Zn molar ratios were 0, 10, 20 and 30 at each Mg level. Major response criteria were body weight gain and tibia Zn accumulation. Weight gain was not influenced by Ca level in the absence of phytate or by phytate at 0.3% Ca; it was increasingly depressed as phytate was increased and by each increase in Ca in the presence of phytate. Total tibia Zn content was decreased at the highest Ca level in the absence of phytate; increasing the phytate progressively depressed tibia Zn at all Ca levels. Mg and phytate additions did not affect weight gain. Tibia Zn tended to be depressed by Mg and by phytate but these effects were significant only at the highest levels of the combined additions. These data corroborate and extend previously published findings on Ca and phytate effects on Zn utilization and show bone Zn accumulation to be a more sensitive criterion than weight gain in this connection. They also indicate that Mg exerts a less pronounced effect on Zn utilization in phytate-containing diets than does Ca.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Phytic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Phytic Acid
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Calcium