Suppression

Bran

Category: Medicines - non plant based

Type

Involuntary and voluntary

Introduction and description

Bran can be naughty and nice.......

Bran is the hard outer layers of cereal grain. It consists of the combined aleurone and pericarp.  Along with germ, it is an integral part of whole grains.

Bran is particularly rich in dietary fiber and essential fatty acids and contains significant quantities of starch, protein, vitamins and dietary minerals, as such it is generally regarded by those who are health conscious as 'good'.  But bran also contains phytic acid, which is classified as an 'antinutrient' that prevents nutrient absorption.

Plant-based complementary foods often contain high levels of phytate, a potent inhibitor of iron, zinc, and calcium absorption. PMID:  20715598

Phytic acid is a chelating agent. Thus there is a balance needed here.  Bran based foods must be mixed with other sorts of foods - meat and/or vegetables, fruits and so on.

Background

These look delicious but we need to think hard
about what they contain.  They contain a very very
high amount of bran, extracted and then resold. It is
far safer to eat food which has never been processed
to remove the bran in the first place.  In this way we
never overdose - this, delicious though it may look
is overdose, it may result in mineral deficiency

Phytic acid known as phytate when in salt form is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially seeds. Phytate is not digestible to humans, so it is not a source of phosphate if eaten directly.

Phytic acid is found within the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains. This is an exceptionally important point to make and understand. The Husk (or hull) in botany is the outer shell or coating of a seed. Literally, a husk or hull is the protective outer covering of a seed. As such eating seeds and nuts will not have any effect unless the outer coat – the bran has been left on.

Phytate can be used as a chelating agent in cases of overdose of zinc or iron, calcium and magnesium. But if overdose has not occurred and you have too much of it clearly it can act to create deficiencies in these essential minerals. Even if used as a chelating agent, there must be careful monitoring of the other minerals and also monitoring of niacin. Phytate also acts as an acid, chelating the vitamin niacin, the deficiency of which is known as pellagra.

The binding of calcium with phytic acid is pH-dependent. The binding of phytic acid with iron is more complex, although there certainly is a strong binding affinity, molecules like phenols and tannins also influence the binding. When iron and zinc bind to phytic acid they form insoluble precipitate and are far less absorbable in the intestines.

And of course, those who eat large quantities of bran are in effect undergoing chelation therapy!

In many countries where grains and seeds are eaten unprocessed and where the diet is largely vegetarian; and in people who are vegetarian and insist on eating bran in large quantities, without the proper balance, mineral deficiency poses a risk.

Method

 

If you want to use wholegrains and seeds in meals, it is possible to break down the phytic acid in all of these foods. Simply cooking the food will reduce the phytic acid to some degree. Roasting may also work, the evidence here is a little vague.

More effective methods are soaking in an acid medium, lactic acid fermentation, and sprouting. This is one reason why sprouted seeds are said to be 'better' for us than ordinary seeds – they reduce any unwanted chelation effects.

The table below shows the food sources of Phytic Acid, clearly processed breakfast cereals or speciality bran breads etc will contain very high levels of bran. 

The perfect food as long as you combine it with fruit, vegetables
and a source of protein

So what is the overall message?  If you eat natural, unprocessed foods, seeds, grains and vegetables with their fibre content just as they were when they were picked, you run no risk of chelation of minerals, the bran is at just the right level to mean your body is getting the right amount - a natural grain of wheat contains vitamins, minerals and fibre in just the right amounts to mean that you cannot become deficient or overdose.

The moment you eat processed grains - white flour for example -  with all the bran removed you leave yourself open to constipation, and intestinal diseases.  You are left with a food which is nutritionally almost 'dead'. 

But, the answer is not to eat bran, because you have no idea of the dose and overdose is all too easy.  Eating bran cereals or bran based muffins is not dissimilar to eating vitamin supplements. 

The answer is to go back to the original foods - wholewheat, whole grains, whole rice!!

There is also that final message that you must combine naturally bran based cereals, nuts and seeds with the fruit, vegetables and proteins needed to give you what is not in the cereal.

Phytate content

Food

[% minimum dry]

[% maximum dry]

Linseed

2.15

2.78

Sesame seeds flour

5.36

5.36

Almonds

1.35

3.22

Brazilnuts

1.97

6.34

Coconut

0.36

0.36

Hazelnut

0.65

0.65

Peanut

0.95

1.76

Walnut

0.98

0.98

Corn

0.75

2.22

Oat

0.42

1.16

Oat Meal

0.89

2.40

Brown rice

0.84

0.99

Polished rice

0.14

0.60

Wheat

0.39

1.35

Wheat flour

0.25

1.37

Wheat germ

0.08

1.14

Whole wheat bread

0.43

1.05

Beans, pinto

2.38

2.38

Chickpeas

0.56

0.56

Lentils

0.44

0.50

Soybeans

1.00

2.22

Tofu

1.46

2.90

Soy beverage

1.24

1.24

Soy protein concentrate

1.24

2.17

New potato

0.18

0.34

Spinach

0.22

NR

Observations

Related observations