In contrast to macronutrients (energy, protein, and fat), micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are consumed in small quantities and essential for physical and mental development, immunity and overall health. Some essential micronutrients include iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, iodine, vitamin A, B-vitamins, and vitamin C.

Phytate is an anti-nutrient present on all grains, nuts, beans, and seeds that blocks your body’s access to zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium, which are critical to your overall health. Phytate is like a self-protective coating for these foods to store their nutrients for plant growth when it is time to germinate. If you are eating grains, nuts, seeds, beans, or products derived from these foods (cereals, pastas, crackers, etc.), you are likely ingesting large amounts of the anti-nutrient, phytate. Eating these foods are important for nutrients and energy in your body, however, your body can only absorb these nutrients in your stomach once you dissolve or counteract the phytate.

Over the last two decades, studies have shown that phytate can be counteracted with phytase to help with various micronutrient deficiencies. Phytase is commonly used in animal feed to counteract phytate and improve the bioavailability of certain minerals in feed for animals.

But what about the phytate that humans eat daily? What about the vegan or vegetarian population? Phytase is heat sensitive and can be added to foods either during processing or as an active food ingredient, degrading dietary phytate during stomach transit time, where studies show that it is best absorbed. 
Equal Access is a vegan digestive enzyme supplement (protein) that counteracts phytate for you so you can get the most out of your food and other supplements. Eating too much phytic acid without breaking it down, can lead to micronutrient deficiencies. By taking Equal Access, you’re counteracting phytate at the source and unlocking the nutrients in your lower intestine where they get absorbed directly, which gives you a better opportunity to absorb all the nutrients in your meal. Studies have shown that taking a phytase supplement at mealtimes can improve iron absorption by 75% and zinc absorption by 36%.

eBook by Amy Golumbia
The Phytase Project: A Seed of Hope

eBook - The Phytase Project: A Seed of Hope
eBook - The Phytase Project: A Seed of Hope

In my eBook, The Phytase Project: A Seed of Hope you can learn more about:

  • Why modern foods are full of phytic acid
  • How phytic acid causes micronutrient deficiencies
  • The link between micronutrient deficiencies and disease
  • How micronutrient deficiencies affect your immune system
  • How to turn phytic acid from an enemy into an ally
  • What you need to eat to counteract phytic acid’s nutrient-inhibiting effects
  • Food preparation tips to maximize nutrient absorption

Want to read more? 

Here are some published scientific journal articles and websites to dig further into the relationship between phytate, phytase and your health, zinc deficiency, iron deficiency, zinc and iron deficiency in athletes, and statistics on micronutrient deficiency, malnutrition, and hidden hunger globally. 

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Phytase and Phytate 

Troesch, Barbara & Jing, Hua & Laillou, Arnaud & Fowler, Ann. (2013). Absorption Studies Show that Phytase from Aspergillus niger Significantly Increases Iron and Zinc Bioavailability from Phytate-Rich Foods. Food and nutrition bulletin. 34. S90-101. 

Sandberg AS, Hulthén LR, Türk M. Dietary Aspergillus niger phytase increases iron absorption in humans. J Nutr. 1996 Feb;126(2):476-80. 

Barbara Troesch, Ines Egli, Christophe Zeder, Richard F Hurrell, Saskia de Pee, Michael B Zimmermann, Optimization of a phytase-containing micronutrient powder with low amounts of highly bioavailable iron for in-home fortification of complementary foodsThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 89, Issue 2, February 2009, Pages 539–544.

Living with Phytic AcidMarch 26, 2010 by Ramiel Nagel at Weston A. Price Foundation

Zinc Deficiency

Zinc Deficiency

Fraker PJ, King LE, Laakko T, Vollmer TL. The dynamic link between the integrity of the immune system and zinc status. J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1399S-406S.

Hess SY, Lönnerdal B, Hotz C, Rivera JA, Brown KH. Recent Advances in Knowledge of Zinc Nutrition and Human HealthFood and Nutrition Bulletin. 2009;30(1_suppl1):S5-S11.

Ibs KH, Rink L. Zinc-altered immune function. J Nutr. 2003 May;133 (5 Suppl 1):1452S-6S. 

Krebs NF. Overview of zinc absorption and excretion in the human gastrointestinal tract. J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1374S-7S.

Maret W, Sandstead HH. Zinc requirements and the risks and benefits of zinc supplementation. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2006;20(1):3-18. 

Oberleas D, Harland BF. Treatment of zinc deficiency without zinc fortification. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2008 Mar;9(3):192-6.

Roohani N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R, Schulin R. Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review. J Res Med Sci. 2013 Feb;18(2):144-57.

Stoltzfus RJ. Iron deficiency: global prevalence and consequences. Food Nutr Bull. 2003 Dec;24(4 Suppl):S99-103.

Wessels I, Maywald M, Rink L. Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune FunctionNutrients. 2017;9(12):1286. Published 2017 Nov 25. 

Shankar, A. and A. Prasad. Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection. The American journal of clinical nutrition 68 2 Suppl (1998): 447S-463S.


Iron Deficiency in Athletes 

Iron Deficiency in Athletes

Runner with Iron Deficiency


Alaunyte I, Stojceska V, Plunkett A. Iron and the female athlete: a review of dietary treatment methods for improving iron status and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:38.

Coates, Alexandra BSc*; Mountjoy, Margo MD, PhD; Burr, Jamie PhD* Incidence of Iron Deficiency and Iron Deficient Anemia in Elite Runners and Triathletes, Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: September 2017 - Volume 27 - Issue 5 - p 493-498 

Clenin GE, Cordes M, Huber A, et al. Iron deficiency in sports—definition, influence on performance and therapy. Swiss Med Wkly. 2015;145: 1–15.

DellaValle DM. Iron supplementation for female athletes: effects on iron status and performance outcomes. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug;12(4):234-9. 

Gough CE, Sharpe K, Garvican LA, et al. The effects of injury and illness on haemoglobin mass. Int J Sports Med. 2013;34:763–769.

Guest NS, Horne J, Vanderhout SM and El-Sohemy A (2019) Sport Nutrigenomics: Personalized Nutrition for Athletic Performance. Front. Nutr. 6:8.

Malczewska-Lenczowska, J., Stupnicki, R., & Szczepańska, B. (2009). Prevalence of iron deficiency in male elite athletesBiomedical Human Kinetics1(2009), 36-41.

Pate RR, Miller BJ, Davis JM, et al. Iron status of female runners. Int J Sport Nutr. 1993;3:222–231.

Peeling P, Sim M, Badenhorst CE, et al. Iron status and the acute postexercise hepcidin response in athletes. PLoS One. 2014;9:e93002

Reinke S, Taylor WR, Duda GN, et al. Absolute and functional iron deficiency in professional athletes during training and recovery. Int J Cardiol. 2012;156:186–191

Stewart JG, Ahlquist DA, McGill DB, et al. Gastrointestinal blood loss and anemia in runners. Ann Intern Med. 1984;100:843–845.

Verdon F, Burnand B, Stubi CLF, et al. Iron supplementation for unexplained fatigue in non-anaemic women: double blind randomised placebo controlled trial. BMJ. 2003;326:1–4.

World Health Organization (WHO): Worldwide prevalence on anaemia 1993-2005 de Benoist B et al., eds. Worldwide prevalence of anaemia 1993-2005. WHO Global Database on Anaemia Geneva, World Health Organization, 2008.

Zoller H, Vogel W. Iron supplementation in athletes—first do no harm. Nutrition. 2004;20:615–619.


Micronutrient Deficiencies, Malnutrition, and Hidden Hunger Globally

Micronutrient Deficiencies Globally

Bailey R, L, West Jr. K, P, Black R, E: The Epidemiology of Global Micronutrient Deficiencies. Ann Nutr Metab 2015;66 (suppl 2):22-33.

Brown KH, Baker SK; IZiNCG Steering Committee. Galvanizing action: conclusions and next steps for mainstreaming zinc interventions in public health programs. Food Nutr Bull. 2009 Mar;30(1 Suppl):S179-84. 

de Benoist B, Darnton-Hill I, Davidsson L, Fontaine O, Hotz C. Conclusions of the Joint WHO/UNICEF/IAEA/IZiNCG Interagency Meeting on Zinc Status IndicatorsFood and Nutrition Bulletin. 2007;28 (3_suppl3): S480-S484.

DSM unveils purpose-led brand strategy marking transition to end-to-end partner in nutrition and health (October 29, 2020)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Various Publications 

Hannah Ritchie (2017) - "Micronutrient Deficiency". Published online at Retrieved from: ''

Hodge, Judith. 2016. Hidden hunger: Approaches to tackling micronutrient deficiencies. In Nourishing millions: Stories of change in nutrition. Gillespie, Stuart; Hodge, Judith; Yosef, Sivan; and Pandya-Lorch, Rajul (Eds.) Ch. 4 Pp. 35-43. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). 

International Zinc Nutrition Consultative Group (IZiNCG), Brown KH, Rivera JA, Bhutta Z, Gibson RS, King JC, Lönnerdal B, Ruel MT, Sandtröm B, Wasantwisut E, Hotz C. International Zinc Nutrition Consultative Group (IZiNCG) technical document #1. Assessment of the risk of zinc deficiency in populations and options for its control. Food Nutr Bull. 2004 Mar;25(1 Suppl 2): S99-203. PMID: 18046856.

International Zinc Nutrition Consultative Group (IZiNCG): Various Publications

World Food Programme. Acute Malnutrition: Time for a Fresh Approach. 2018.

World Food Programme: WFP Specialized Nutritious Foods Sheet. Programme. Treating Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM). November 19, 2020.