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What Is Inositol Hexaphosphate?

author image Allison Adams
Allison Adams has worked as a registered dietitian since 1996. She began writing professionally in 2000, with work featured in a variety of medical publications such as "Women's Health Magazine" and the "New England Journal of Medicine." Adams holds a Master of Science in nutrition and food sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
What Is Inositol Hexaphosphate?
A doctor is talking to his patient. Photo Credit moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images

Inositol hexaphosphate is also known as phytic acid, phytate or IP6. This specific type of inositol plays a role as a messenger in your body, once metabolized and converted into other molecules. IP6 also aids your body in the use or metabolism of calcium and other minerals. You should speak with a medical professional prior to consuming any IP6 health supplement.

IP6 Sources

IP6 is a major phosphorus storage compound in plants and accounts for 1 to 7 percent of the weight of most cereals, nuts and legumes, according to “Integrative Medicine.” You can also find IP6 in processed soy, beans, brown rice, corn, sesame seeds, wheat bran and other high-fiber foods. Several health supplement manufacturers also sell IP6 in supplement form. Your body cannot digest IP6 if eaten directly.

IP6 Supplement Actions

Although the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated IP6 supplements, manufacturers claims that IP6 provides antioxidant and cellular function support that promotes prostate, breast, colon and liver cell health. Manufacturers also claim that IP6 can help to modulate hydroxyl radical formation in your body. Furthermore, IP6 aids in the metabolism of insulin and calcium; promotes hair growth, bone marrow cell metabolism and eye membrane development; and helps your liver transfer fat to other parts of your body. Further scientific research is needed to confirm these purported health benefits associated with IP6.

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Further Effects

According to “Integrative Medicine,” additional IP6 medical applications include use as an antioxidant and to prevent and treat coronary artery disease and certain types of cancers. Additionally, IP6 supports your body’s immune system and kidney function. According to the Maryland University Medical Center, IP6 appears to help prevent crystallization of calcium salts. However, this effect occurs mainly when you consume IP6 through legumes, wheat and rice bran. However, IP6 does not help prevent crystallization of calcium salts when consumed through soybeans. Therefore, the overall effect is not fully understood at this time.


IP6 binds strongly to minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. This binding can limit the absorption of these minerals in your intestines. Additionally, IP6 can prevent the absorption of niacin. However, a study published in the December 2008 Journal of Medicinal Food found a decreased osteoporosis risk in participants who consumed IP6. Another study published in the 2005 Medical Hypotheses says probiotic lactobacilli are a source of the enzyme phytase. This enzyme can dissolve the complexes formed by IP6, improving and facilitating the intestinal absorption of IP6.

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