Missing trace minerals, incompatible minerals, phytate


#1

After reviewing the Soylent formula I noticed that there are no essential trace minerals included. Food sources of these would be things like potato skins and Himalayan pink sea salt. Another big problem is the simultaneous inclusion of minerals that block other minerals absorption (i.e. zinc, manganese, and calcium block iron). This is only one of these minerals, there are many others. This is a big reason why someone trying to live on Soylent won’t get enough of certain minerals (iron, trace minerals) due to impaired absorption. As it stands these should be supplemented on the side and not taken with Soylent formula (or each other) so they get absorbed. Failure to do this would result in low iron and trace mineral deficiency.


#2

what essential trace minerals do you mean?


#3

Most essential trace minerals are going to come from the oat flour. If there’s any in particular that you’re concerned won’t be satisfied by the oats, we could look into it.


#4

There are many horsfield, they are generally listed as trace minerals. Here is an example, Himalayan salt (sodium with trace minerals).

https://www.atthemeadow.com/resources-and-guides/minerals-in-himalayan-pink-salt-spectral-analysis.html

Oat flour isn’t a good source. Trace minerals are in vegetable peels, etc. Oats are grains and they contain phytates that bind to minerals, preventing their absorption.

Here is a list of symptoms of trace mineral deficiency:

http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/trace-minerals/tab/test/

Your safest bet would be to remove the iron, add a trace mineral source and include instructions to take iron separately as needed specific for sex and age.

To get around the phytates decreasing the minerals, soak the oat flour in salt to bind the phytates then dehydrate it and package it.


#5

:smile: I mean specifically which essential minerals do you think are missing. Soylent has all the recognized essential minerals so I don’t know what minerals you are referring to. Do you mean minerals like Nickel, Tin, Vanadium, Boron, and Silicon? If those are the ones you mean or if there are others let us know which ones you mean. We are more than willing to look into it and see.


#6

Compare it against the lab analysis for the Himalayan salt above and that will give you an idea of what you need.


#7

And what makes this himalayan salt so essential in and of itself - I just see a list with no scientific evidence of the specific necessity for each listed item.


#8

The human body can’t make minerals so they are essential.

The body needs many minerals; these are called essential minerals. Essential minerals are sometimes divided up into major minerals (macrominerals) and trace minerals (microminerals). These two groups of minerals are equally important, but trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals. The amounts needed in the body are not an indication of their importance.


#9

Thanks (even though I did know that much) - that’s much better than linking to some random health food sales site item. :]


#10

Let’s look at that most recent link and see if Soylent contains what they say a diet needs.

Sodium: Explicitly satisfied (to some extent)
Chloride: Explicitly satisfied
Potassium: Explicitly satisfied
Calcium: Explicitly satisfied
Phosphorus: Explicitly satisfied
Magnesium: Explicitly satisfied
Sulfur: Sufficient quantities contained in protein

Iron: Explicitly satisfied
Zinc: Explicitly satisfied
Iodine: Explicitly satisfied
Selenium: Explicitly satisfied
Copper: Explicitly satisfied
Manganese: Explicitly satisfied
Fluoride: Sufficient quantities found in tap water
Chromium: Explicitly satisfied
Molybdenum: Explicitly satisfied

Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, Cobalt, Boron, etc: Requirements are so low that most people get way more than sufficient amounts from drinking water or plants in diets. For many of these, it is questionable how essential they are.

I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to say that phytates bring their levels too low. If you have reason to believe that phytates would cause nickel/boron/etc deficiency or if you have reason to believe that Soylent lacks an essential nutrient, please explicitly list which nutrient you’re worried about and cite your sources. This topic has been discussed many times before, and I have yet to be convinced that I’m going to have a serious deficiency.


#11

I already said that I am particularly concerned about Iron and trace minerals. Phytate binding would depend on the amount of phytate in the sample. As a rule, I never eat untreated phytate foods with minerals.


#12

Bioavailability is of course important. Whatever you eat isn’t the point, rather if/how your body uses it. That goes for everything, not just Soylent.

I assume people in the field look into this and consider it. If X is normally useful but it is not useful when consumed in the presence of Y then consuming X in the presence of Y defeats the purpose. Assuming, of course, that it’s that simple. Maybe it depends on what forms X and Y are in or maybe it depends on what other substances are present, yadda, yadda. Again, figuring out such things is the purpose of people that study such things.

That said, it’s my understanding that some people have been consuming Soylent while simultaneously monitoring their various levels and if so then I suspect any major shortcomings would pop up pretty quickly.

Food wasn’t designed to be nutritious for humans so I have no reason to think the nutrients in it are automatically more bioavailable. That said, they could be, but that doesn’t mean they are, or they aren’t. Whatever way is best to deliver nutrients to humans though, it would be an absolute miracle if it just happened to be the way food does it. Figure out a better way and if we haven’t already then keep figuring.


#13

I was responding to your concern in the original post that:

As I explained, your concern is unfounded. All trace minerals that could be considered essential are either explicitly present in Soylent or are present due to oat flour and tap water. If you would like to discuss this point further, we can do so, but let’s not confuse it with your entirely separate second concern:

I don’t entirely disagree with you here. There will definitely be some absorption concerns, but:

  • All food, Soylent or not, will have these conflicts. If I go out for a hamburger and think to myself “the meat will help me get my iron for the day”, should I be concerned that hamburger meat also contains zinc and calcium? We are always experiencing these conflicts, and Soylent actually helps in the long run by providing a consistent baseline for all users. If, in testing, Soylent users are found to be deficient in iron, the formula can be adjusted to account for that in the future. You can’t do that with any other diet!
  • Humanity’s knowledge of nutrition is not yet at the point where we can analyze a recipe’s ingredients and know exactly how much of each present nutrient will end up absorbed. We don’t even know all of the possible situations in which nutrients will negatively or positively affect each other’s absorption. If you used all of what we collectively know to try to create The One Optimal Diet Without Deficiencies, you’ll still fail because you can’t account for everything. Why is Soylent so different that we have to be afraid of it?
  • I believe (though I’m not certain) that the DRI on which Soylent is based was designed with the knowledge that people would ingest nutrients which conflict with one another. The given RDAs are not meant to mean “humans need to absorb X mg of this nutrient in order to survive”, but instead treat the body as somewhat of a black box and say “humans need to ingest X mg of this nutrient when taken with a standard diet in order to survive.” Soylent does throw that off because it is not a “standard diet”, but some of the effects, especially for people not on 100% Soylent, mitigate your concerns.

For me personally, these arguments, my accompanying research, and the anecdotal evidence from user experience posts on these forums (whose blood work results are usually quite good) have led me to believe that Soylent does not have any serious issues with nutritional deficiencies. I understand that others may not be so easily convinced.

You have a third concern which you listed later:

Yeah, regardless of if there’s enough of each nutrient in the first place and if there’s enough of them after competing for absorption, some of them may not be available in the first place because they’re bound to phytic acid. There’s been a significant amount of discussion on this topic (see http://discourse.soylent.me/t/phytic-acid-not-enough-of-it-to-be-an-issue/4256). The general consensus we’ve come to here seems to be that there has not been enough research done on phytic acid to really say for sure if it’s a huge issue or not an issue at all. Since our standard diets are pretty grain-heavy, the RDA likely takes the presence of phytates into account, though likely to a lesser extent than is needed. Since the issue is pretty undecided, it’s hard to say what we should do in practice. Should we never have any source of phytates alongside any source of nutrients? Should we stick to the RDA which should treat the human body as a black box and just determine the correct inputs regardless of what goes on inside? Hard to say.

The only real way of figuring out if Soylent is safe (until we improve our knowledge of nutrition) is to have a bunch of people use it for extended periods of time and see what happens. We’ve got people doing that now (though Rosa Labs really should be doing some controlled studies…), and time will tell if deficiencies pop up. So far, the anecdotal evidence seems to be on the positive side, but it’s only been a year. If deficiencies don’t show up after a long time, then I guess we’ll start to have limited “proof” that Soylent works as advertised.

If I may ask, what is your intent in starting this topic? Did you think this topic had never been discussed before on these boards? You’re not exactly presenting novel research or building on top of previous topics here… I don’t want to downplay the importance of some of your concerns, but a quick search would have turned up a ton of previous discussion.


#14

I’m on well water (I live in the mountains + very rural area) - but my water probably has many of the other trace minerals in abundance. (very hard water) Should probably locate my old well report. haha

At any rate, I doubt it’s anything to worry about (in my case at least).


#15

How many trace minerals am I getting from my diet of Cheez-Its, Taco Bell, and pizza? If it’s less than I would get from Soylent, it’s still an upgrade for me.

I am also still alive, so they can’t be THAT “essential.”


#16

[quote=“austonst, post:13, topic:18647”]

As I explained, your concern is unfounded. All trace minerals that could be considered essential are either explicitly present in Soylent or are present due to oat flour and tap water. If you would like to discuss this point further, we can do so, but let’s not confuse it with your entirely separate second concern:

This is a baseless assumption on your part. Neither tap water nor oat flour are good mineral sources.

  • All food, Soylent or not, will have these conflicts. If I go out for a hamburger and think to myself “the meat will help me get my iron for the day”, should I be concerned that [hamburger meat][1] also contains zinc and calcium? We are always experiencing these conflicts, and Soylent actually helps in the long run by providing a consistent baseline for all users.

Yes you should be concerned. Eating foods that block nutrients turns food into junk food which will not reduce appetite so more food will have to be eaten.

  • Humanity’s knowledge of nutrition is not yet at the point where we can analyze a recipe’s ingredients and know exactly how much of each present nutrient will end up absorbed.

This just shows you aren’t up on the nutrition and are falling back on excuses. I have researched it extensively and this just isn’t true.

  • I believe (though I’m not certain) that the DRI on which Soylent is based was designed with the knowledge that people would ingest nutrients which conflict with one another…Soylent does throw that off because it is not a “standard diet”, but some of the effects, especially for people not on 100% Soylent, mitigate your concerns.

Yes it does throw it off. RDIs aren’t supposed to be to eat the same food all the time.

The general consensus we’ve come to here seems to be that there has not been enough research done on phytic acid to really say for sure if it’s a huge issue or not an issue at all.

It is an important issue. How important would be due the amount of phytate in the serving. For someone who expresses how much you don’t know about the research you take strong positions in favor of ingesting the food in question.

Since our standard diets are pretty grain-heavy, the RDA likely takes the presence of phytates into account, though likely to a lesser extent than is needed. Since the issue is pretty undecided, it’s hard to say what we should do in practice. Should we never have any source of phytates alongside any source of nutrients? Should we stick to the RDA which should treat the human body as a black box and just determine the correct inputs regardless of what goes on inside? Hard to say.

The only real way of figuring out if Soylent is safe (until we improve our knowledge of nutrition) is to have a bunch of people use it for extended periods of time and see what happens. We’ve got people doing that now (though Rosa Labs really should be doing some controlled studies…), and time will tell if deficiencies pop up. So far, the anecdotal evidence seems to be on the positive side, but it’s only been a year. If deficiencies don’t show up after a long time, then I guess we’ll start to have limited “proof” that Soylent works as advertised.

Trace mineral deficiencies take a long time to manifest and the people taking it probably aren’t eating it exclusively so that would mask them.

If I may ask, what is your intent in starting this topic? Did you think this topic had never been discussed before on these boards? You’re not exactly presenting novel research or building on top of previous topics here… I don’t want to downplay the importance of some of your concerns, but a quick search would have turned up a ton of previous discussion.

Your entire response is to downplay my concerns. I think the formula needs redoing because it is flawed. It isn’t a hard fix, just remove the iron, pretreat the phytate and add trace minerals. That is all.


#17

If you’re genuinely trying to engage in meaningful discourse with the members of this community, I strongly recommend you provide sources & citations for your claims, or nobody is going to take you at all seriously.


#18

Man, what sort of foolish company would have insufficient Himalayan pink sea salt in their food products?

Well I’m off to the seas of the Himalayas to make my diet complete…


#19

I’m with you, oh fellow health food tinfoilhatter. Taketh me to the Promised Land.


#20

Here is a source for mineral content of oat flour. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/7440/2

And keep in mind oatflour is not the only source of minerals. Extra amounts of minerals have been added to it. Look at the ingredient list of soylent. And tap water is good source of ‘Trace’ minerals. I am not implying consuming just tap water will give us all our trace minerals, but Soylent and tap water together will.

And about calcium blocking iron, how much calcium blocks how much iron? Its not necessarily one mg of cal blocking one mg of iron. Because in some cases, tens or hundreds of mg of one substance, blocks one or two mg of another. So how much is in this case? Also magnesium blocks calcium. So maybe it will save iron?. And other trace minerals like chromium (chromium picolinate specifically which demonstrated chromosome damage in hamsters) and manganese could be more dangerous than healthy after a certain amount of ingestion. And arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury are fully toxic which i think is well known. Some good trace minerals however are already found in it like people here said. I am not aware of nickels usefulness in our diet. Do you have any sources for that?