Is Alkaline Water a Scam?
Alkaline water has become the most popular water beverage search term in the past year or so, according to a report issued by Google. A trip to your local health food store (or any supermarket for that matter), will show how many bottled water companies now sell this type of water. Proponents of alkaline water tell stories about increased energy, weight loss, acid reflux treatment, and more (plus it’s backed by research). But does it really work? Is alkaline water all that it’s hyped up to be? Is alkaline water just another fad that will pass away like other fads?
What is the pH Scale?
Alkaline water has a higher pH level than that of other types of bottled water. Most bottled water sold is simply city tap water that has passed through reverse osmosis to remove chlorine and reduce impurities. In using reverse osmosis, most of the impurities are removed along with the healthy and essential alkalizing minerals. This process creates water that tastes clean but which is also acidic with a pH usually around 6. On the pH scale, 7 is neutral. The higher the pH level, the more alkaline the water is and the lower the pH level, the more acidic it is. Bottled alkaline water typically has a pH of 8 or above.
Tap Water and Wells as Source of Alkaline Water.
The main alkalizing minerals are calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and iron. Where any one of these (or a combination of these) is found in a high enough amount then you will get alkaline water. Sometimes this can cause issues with your city or well drinking water. For example, too much calcium (pH 8 or more) creates ‘hard’ water that clogs pipes and leaves scale deposits on shower heads, etc. In some places, an excess of iron can also lead to scale buildup plus health issues. In general, any untreated water with a pH above 8 will not taste good.
Natural Springs as Sources for Alkaline Water
Most of the well-known and natural, ‘healing water’ springs around the world are documented to be alkaline with a small negative electrical charge. They also have some level of dissolved molecular hydrogen (or H2) and are contaminant free. However, due to modern technology, you no longer have to travel around the world to access this type of water.
Water ionizers as Source for Enhanced Alkaline Water
Water ionizers have been on the market since the early 1980s. They are especially popular in Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea where it is estimated that as many as one in every five households uses an ionizer.
Instead of adding an excessive amount of alkalizing minerals to create a pH well above an 8 pH, water ionizers use electrolysis (or a small amount of electricity applied to titanium/ platinum plates) to create a separation of the water into acid and alkaline streams. It is possible using input water with a 7 pH to create through electrolysis a pH of 8 to 10+.
A good quality water ionizer will also produce a negative charge in the water (-ORP) – a process called ionization that helps with hydration – and H2 or dissolved, diatomic hydrogen. There are over 1,000 peer-reviewed studies showing how H2 in water can benefit all organs in your body.
Please Note: If considering a water ionizer it is also critical to make sure that it comes with high quality and certified filtration. If contaminants are not removed then a water ionizer will also ionize any contaminants that are present, making them more bio-available.
Is Alkaline Water Good for You?
Many experts are still undecided in this area. Some see it as just another health fad or miracle cure. There have been unsubstantiated health claims made about the benefits of alkaline water, which causes rise for skepticism and the topic of this article, “is alkaline water a scam?” As a culture, we have a lifestyle induced problem: over-acidification. Over acidification is caused greatly by our own lifestyle choices. Fast food, stress, environmental pollutants and lack of healthy exercise all contribute to imbalance and over acidity.
The most commonly understood sources of over-acidity are what we eat and drink. Meat, dairy, gluten, or any food that is sweet, over-processed, fried, or contains artificial sweeteners, will increase your body’s acid load. Any drink that is sugary, caffeinated, carbonated or contains alcohol will too. That is the Standard American Diet or SAD. It isn’t just sad, it is scary. Our bodies were not designed to process this much acid consistently over time.
Mother Nature gave us a wonderful buffering system to neutralize and eliminate acidic waste. It helps manage tightly regulated pH in various systems in our body. The reality, however, is that we are dealing with more acidity than at any time in human history. The cumulative effect? Researcher Lynda Frassetto Ph.D., from the University of California, says, “We have turned an evolutionary corner. We simply do not handle acid waste the way we used to.” Based on her research of almost 1,000 subjects, she found that our overwhelmed buffering systems aren’t efficiently eliminating acid as they should do via the kidneys and liver.
Research published in Clinical Nutrition backs her emphatically. Our bodies are forced to adapt to protect themselves from the potential damaging acid by storing acidic toxins in fatty deposits. At this point, there is not ample buffering available to keep the blood pH at the upper end of its tightly controlled pH range. This means that an inadequate amount of oxygen is carried to our tissues and the cells in our body become more acidic.
The cost? A proliferating range of acid-related conditions that have become mainstream. These include obesity, immune disorders, lack of energy, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and more. Many, many more.
The sobering — or acidifying — summary is that we choose to eat overly acidic food, wash it down with acidic beverages and then top it all off with stress. Every day…week-in, week-out…year-in and year out. Our bodies simply can’t keep up.
Now the Good News and the Solution:
Living an alkaline lifestyle is also a choice. The solution begins each time you choose what you eat, what you drink, and how you live with stress.
As you reduce the acidic load on your system, you rebuild buffer reserves and your system can begin to do its job the way it was designed to. Your body returns to a balanced state, where it can buffer and eliminate unwanted acids. Your blood pH begins to inch ever so slightly upward toward the optimum end of the tightly regulated pH range. As it does, its ability to carry and release oxygen to your tissues also increases. Medical science has known about and measured this blood pH/oxygen carrying relationship for years.
An oxygen-rich environment is an alkaline environment. And a healthy one too. Dr. Otto Warburg, for example, (who is often misquoted), was awarded a Nobel Prize for making the discovery that low oxygen is characteristic of cancer cells.
Most functions in the body are influenced by pH. Healthy enzyme and hormone systems and our blood’s ability to carry oxygen all depend on an alkaline pH. Together, these systems impact our overall health. The 35-year body of testimonial benefits of the alkaline lifestyle movement is staggering and covers an almost universal array of diseases and health conditions. Regularly reported benefits of drinking alkaline water include: increased energy and mental clarity, improved memory, clearer skin, weight loss, detoxification, improvements in cardiac conditions, stabilizing of diabetic blood sugar, better digestion, a lessening or outright elimination of a range of inflammatory issues including arthritis and other conditions such as allergies, asthma and on-and-on it goes.
You can help your balance acidity by changing three things:
1. Change how you manage stress / your stress level
2. Change your diet to include more foods that are alkalizing and less food that is acidic
3. Change your water to alkaline, ionized water
A History of Water Ionizers
The modern technology used in ionization was invented by Michael Faraday, who also invented the dynamo and the magneto. Michael Faraday was the first to create an electrolysis device, a key technological foundation that leads to the development of the alkaline water ionizer. At the time, Faraday had no clue as to the impact his discovery would later have on the modern ionizer technology.
In certain cultures, water has often been associated with physical regeneration and eternal life. It is fascinating to contemplate the paradigm of life-giving water that once led to Ponce de Leon, a conquistador and colleague of Columbus, to mount a major 15th-century expedition to find the Fountain of Youth. This was thought to be an everlasting pool of water that led to eternal life. For Ponce de Leon, the hunt to the ends of the earth for life regenerating water would take up most of his life.
Dr. Henri Coanda, a renowned Romanian scientist, and subsequent Nobel Prize winner, was known primarily for his study of fluid dynamics and his aeronautic inventions. His scientific quest was based on a personal search for a source of longevity and his hunch that it was the water of Hunza that would satisfy his mission. In the 1930’s Henri Coanda personally journeyed to the country of Hunza to investigate his hypothesis that the water of Hunza had a unique chemistry that fueled the remarkable health and longevity of the native people.
After considerable research, he arrived at the conclusion that indeed, the water was different, both in properties and in structure. When the temperature of Hunza water was lowered, it assumed a snowflake-like, crystalline formation. Even more remarkable, the water, in its snowflake state, revealed a structure similar to the venous structure of the human body and to the vascular structure in plants. The natural biological pathways responsible for the transportation of fluids that support life.
Hunza in the Himalayas is the most well-known of the areas where this paradigm for life-giving water was discovered. But there were other places, the Shin-Chan areas of China, the Andes Mountains and the Caucasus in Azerbaijan. Places filled with energetic, incredibly healthy and long-lived populations.
The riveting force behind Hunza water fascination has been the quest for the water of longevity. They attempted to replicate the structure of the water, certainly a much more laboratory friendly pursuit. The considerations of replication were many: the molecular structure, the high alkalinity, the active hydrogen content, the negative Redox potential, and the startlingly high colloidal mineral content. Perhaps it would be a matter of infusing water with a unique form of hydrogen that bore an extra electron.
Early history reveals that researchers from Russia and Japan explored the same waters that Coanda had explored sometime after WWII. By the 1940`s Hunza water, with speculations of revitalized health achieved from its consumption, was becoming common knowledge.
Russian researchers had discovered a brand new method of electrolysis, (chemical change achieved by passing electricity through liquid) influenced by Faraday’s earlier technological approach. When Japanese researchers became aware of this new method of electrolysis it raised their own interest in ionization to another level.
Japanese scientists soon produced the first water ionizer upon analysis of their Russian peer’s electrolysis research. It was in 1954 that scientists in Japanese agricultural universities intensively studied and recorded the effects of alkaline ionic water and acid water, the process of manufacture known as functional water technology. Both plants and animals were used in Japanese scientific studies.
More sensitivity and time was needed to conduct research using human beings, and eventually, it was proven that alkaline water was not only especially hydrating for humans but was also beneficial in many other ways.
As commercial alkaline ionic water units were introduced in Japan in 1950, only huge commercial units were utilized by hospitals. Later in 1960, a medical/agricultural research institute was formed in Japan, for the sole purpose of ionized water study. January 1966 brought the confirmation of the alkaline ionic water process for health improvement and medical use by the Health and Rehabilitation Ministry of the Japanese Government.
A few years later in the 1970s water ionizing units were also officially accepted by South Korea’s government. Korea manufactured units for individual home use that later debuted in the U.S. and worldwide. Finally, Westerners also had access to a scientific and specialized form of water to help transport nutrients and other life-giving components throughout the body.
Water ionizers are now the norm in Japan, with 30 million Japanese citizens having access to ionized water either via home units or simple free access. Dr. Barbara Starfield heralds Japan as having the “number one health care system in the world,” as written in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The United States ranked at a miserable number 13 in the quality of health and healthcare.
So, is alkaline water a scam? Some say yes, some would heartily disagree. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.