In the multi-level marketing of these products it is the sellers, not the manufactures, who make all sorts of health claims, with no scientific research to back up the claims. Manufactures will not make such claims because they are bound by the Federal Trade Commission against making false claims. I believe that there are several flaws in the promotional pitch of alkaline and ionized water distributors. Following is a brief summary of my concerns.
Human stomachs have a very acidic or low pH environment, and all liquids and food that enter will become highly acidic before leaving the stomach. Once the contents leave the stomach, the pancreas secretes bicarbonate to make it alkaline, regardless of the original pH. Water is absorbed further along the intestinal pathway, well after pancreatic alkalization.
Different parts of the body require a different pH, so trying to force it one way or the other is pointless. The varying pH is also why testing saliva or urine with a pH strip is useless in assessing your overall pH health status.
Ionized or alkalinized water is reputed to have antioxidant properties: this is not true: hypochlorites (present in most such waters) are in fact oxidizing agents.
Promoters claim that their very expensive electrical devices will ionize and alkalinize water by the process of electrolysis. If water is distilled or has gone through reverse osmosis which some of these units employ, it is free of ions and thus cannot undergo electrolysis. Pure water cannot be made alkaline or acidic because it is free of the minerals such as sodium, calcium of magnesium to alter pH.
Alkaline water machines typically use platinum and titanium plates to make water alkaline. These can release toxic compounds, especially the platinum. If you want alkalinizing minerals, eat your organic broccoli and other vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts.
My real concern with water quality comes not from the pH level, but the presence of toxic compounds. Here in the desert, public water contains many toxic compounds including: pharmaceutical medicines, chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, perchlorate such as jet fuel, hexavalent chromium or chromium 6 of Erin Brockovich fame, trihalomethanes (chlorine byproducts), trichloroethylene (industrial solvents), arsenic, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and radioactive particles all of which increase the risk for a variety of cancers.
In summary clean pure water with an appropriate filtration system is without a doubt essential for promoting health and well being, but health claims for ionized or alkalinized water are dubious at best.
I hope you have enjoyed this month’s newsletter. As always, comments and questions are welcome.
Jon Dunn, ND