Soaking, Phytic Acid and Minerals
Traditional people soaked grains in order to make them more digestible, so if you have been soaking oatmeal thinking it would make it less acidic by breaking down the phytic acid, you haven't lost anything in the way of your time or effort, but you haven't made it less acidic. The only way to make something less acidic is by adding minerals to it.

Soaking is the first step in fermentation and fermentation is the process by which acids are created. Soaking oatmeal will make it more acidic. It will break down the phytic acid, yes, that is true, but only into smaller chunks of acidic stuff that used to make up the phytic acid but can no longer be labelled phytic acid.

Phytic acid is based on phosphorus, a six-sided atom. A phytic acid molecule has six hooks with which to chelate an acid. Actually, the hooks are ionic attractions to other atomic ions and science makes like it understands what sub-atomic particles are all about, but it doesn't, so "hook" is good enough. By hook or ion or any other force of nature, a phytic acid molecule can grab up to six mineral pieces.

Let's call this diagram phytic acid. We don't know what atoms look like, but this represents what it does. Each hook can grab a molecule of a mineral. In the state depicted above, it is called inositol hexakisphosphate. The inositol phosphate is the phytic acid and the hexaki is the six part. It means there are six hooks available to chelate with a mineral.

Here we have a phytic acid that has chelated a mineral on one of its hooks. This is now called inositol pentaphosphate, because now it can only chelate with five ("penta") minerals, one hook being occupied.


These represent IP4, IP3, IP2 and IP1(if all six "hooks" were filled it would no longer be an acid.) IP3 and IP4 are the most common inositol phosphates/phytic acids you will find in nature. Phytic acids grow in plants, and plants grow in soil which has a lot of minerals to it so most of the phytic acid found in oatmeal will be already partially chelated with minerals in this way. However, in any experiment in a science lab involving phytic acid, they will use the IP6 form, because it will produce quicker and clearer results and not be contaminated by the fact that there are already some minerals along with the phytic acid.

Soaking is the first step in fermentation.
Fermentation is the process by which acids are formed.
Soaking makes seeds more acidic.
Traditional people soaked their grains to make them more digestible.
Soaking breaks down phytic acid but does not make the broken-down bits less acidic.
"Breaking down" an acid is not the same as "neutralizing" it.
The only way to neutralize (make less acidic) grains is to add minerals to them.
Traditional people added ashes to grains, or ate clay or dirt.

Why do so many other traditional health sites on the web say that soaking reduces acidity and provides more minerals to the body?

I wish I knew. There is an anti-mineral bias in the mainstream culture, which I can understand because minerals can prevent many expensive diseases and deprive the drug manufacturers and the disease industry of large splodges of wonga, but why the alternative health culture does not challenge this more, I don't know. Adele Davis recommended eating extra supplements of powdered dolomite and bone meal, but then Adele was discredited and died broke with even her Tiger Milk legacy taken from her to pay her legal fees because of one sentence in one book (Let's Have Healthy Babies) which she said she didn't write and didn't know how it got there. Many people followed her advice on the bone meal and dolomite so she probably cost the medical profession a lot of money. Sally Fallon says it's okay to eat dirt and clay, but doesn't say how much. I suppose the fact that traditional people soaked their grains and science came up with what sounded like a good explanation for why they would do so made the science sound credible.

Will adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to grains neutralize them?
Yes, but sodium bicarbonate is high in sodium and carbon, which are good for you in themselves, but too much of one mineral will make you deficient in other minerals. It is better to get your minerals from natural sources that have a full array of minerals with all their companion elements.

So, what should I do?
There is only one way to add minerals to your diet, and that is to add minerals to your diet. Soaking them, adding buckwheat to them or performing a Hopi rain dance over them will not add minerals to them. Minerals can be added either to the oatmeal or to your diet in general. See Minerals for all the ways you can add minerals to your diet or your oatmeal.

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