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With so much discussion of the need to alkalize, one of the biggest questions on people’s minds is whether or not to drink alkaline ionized water. Much has been written on the subject by many well-intentioned individuals. However, the subject has been grossly oversimplified. Much of the information being circulated regarding the health benefits of alkaline ionized water is either inaccurate or incomplete.
There are seven major reasons (and many minor ones) why NOT to drink alkaline ionized water. They are discussed briefly below. More in depth information can be found in the recent book, Dancing with Water.
1. The first and most obvious red flag regarding the consumption of alkaline ionized water is its potential impact on digestion. If the digestive process begins in the stomach which is an extremely acidic environment, what is the impact of increasing the pH in the stomach by consuming alkaline water? Fifty percent of people over the age of 60 are hypochlorhydric. This means that they can no longer produce enough stomach acid for optimal digestion. For these individuals, the consumption of alkaline water presents a big problem. You might be surprised to discover how many people who begin to drink alkaline ionized water end up with digestive trouble—and they have no idea it results from the water.
2. The second reason is also obvious when you think about it. Water ionizers separate water into two streams. One contains acidic minerals: sulfur, phosphorus, iodine, chlorine, etc. This part of the water is usually discarded— it is not advocated for consumption. The other stream of water contains alkaline minerals: calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc. Take a look at the minerals in each list. Are they all necessary in the human body? Absolutely! Then ask yourself another question: Where in nature does water or food ever provide alkaline minerals without their acidic counterparts? Is just doesn’t happen, and no organism is designed to use one without the other. The chemistry of life is dependent on the balance between acids and bases (alkaline). One without the other for an extended period of time is an invitation for imbalance.
3. The third reason not to drink alkaline ionized water has to do with the molecular structure of water. Many of water’s unique qualities result from its ability to form hydrogen bonds. These weak electrostatic bonds link one water molecule to another to form a network of interconnected H2O molecules. Under normal circumstances this network is random. However, when water is placed in either an electric or a magnetic field, the molecules align to form a geometric pattern known as a liquid crystal. Liquid crystals possess many of the qualities of solid crystals including the ability to amplify and transfer signals. The consumption of water in this liquid crystalline state has numerous health benefits. Nature supplies weak electric (called piezoelectric) fields and magnetic fields that create this liquid crystalline phase of water. Those who sell ionizers would like you to believe that the strong electric current used during ionization produces this same kind of water. It does not. Strong electric currents (like those used during ionization) have a damaging effect on the electromagnetic field around water molecules. In essence, they electrocute the water and leave it without life force. Although electric currents do cause water molecules to align, the molecular organization falls apart rapidly as soon as the water leaves the electric field. Water that has been treated in this manner is not capable of carrying the finely-tuned signals and vibratory information that water is intended to carry within the human body.
4. During ionization, water molecules are split (ionized). Positively-charged ions (H+) are attracted to negatively-charged mineral ions (phosphorous, chlorine, sulfur, iodine etc.) to form a variety of acidic compounds in the acidic steam of water. Negatively-charged water ions (OH-) are attracted to positively-charged mineral ions (calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc) in the formation of numerous alkaline compounds in the alkaline stream of water. Depending on the minerals present in the original water, the alkaline compounds in the alkaline portion of the water may not be something you are interested in drinking. For example: the most common alkaline mineral compounds that form in alkaline ionized water are calcium hydroxide (lime), sodium hydroxide (lye), potassium hydroxide (caustic potash), and magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia—a laxative). Because of the strong electric forces used during ionization, the minerals, bound to hydroxide ions, are not available for use in the body. Most of them end up as arterial
plaque or as mineral deposits in joints and other tissues.
5. One of the arguments in favor of alkaline water supposes that the consumption of alkaline water will negate the buildup of acids caused by our modern diet and lifestyle. There is no evidence to demonstrate this. It is a gross assumption to think that drinking alkaline water will alkalize tissues. The body is much more complex than this. If this were the case, then eating a lemon would contribute to acidosis. It does not. The lemon is considered to be one of the most alkalizing foods there is. While it has an acidic nature, it also releases alkaline minerals—in an organic form that the body can use. The pH of the human body is a complex and dynamic subject. While the blood requires a slightly alkaline pH, many organs and tissues require just the opposite. Research indicates that the environment inside the cell requires a slightly acidic pH—that alkalinity inside the cell causes cell death. Long-term consumption of alkaline water can actually contribute to acidosis. This is because acidosis is the body’s way to release hydrogen which becomes depleted with age and which it also requires to detoxify, to neutralize free radicals, and to fight disease. This is explained in much greater detail
in the book Dancing with Water.
6. While alkaline ionized water has been in use in Japan for over 20 years, the effects of long-term consumption have yet to be studied. Early use in Japan was in clinical settings and the water was used in controlled amounts for short periods of time. There are no long-term studies to identify potential problems with either extended or exclusive use. In the absence of human studies, rats (with a shorter life span) can be studied more easily.
Three separate studies have shown that long-term consumption of alkaline ionized water produces cell death (necrosis) and fibrosis of the heart muscle in rats. Dr. Hidemitsu Hayashi, a cardiac surgeon and Director of the Water Institute in Japan, was one of the scientists who conducted early research on alkaline ionized water. His work determined that the benefits of alkaline ionized water were largely due to the hydrogen in the water which dissipates rapidly after production. Ultimately, he renounced the use of ionized water in favor of other methods to produce hydrogen-rich water.
7. One of the biggest arguments in favor of alkaline ionized water is that its strong electron potential neutralizes free radicals. While it is true that alkaline ionized water has a strong electrical potential (evidenced by negative ORP values), the water is very imbalanced. Consumption may initially reduce the free radical load but continued consumption and the aggressive neutralization of oxygen radicals upsets cellular redox balance—now shown to play a pivotal role in immune function and metabolic homeostasis. Oxygen radicals serve as signaling molecules. Medical research verifies that their absence is equally as harmful as their overabundance. The ongoing consumption of alkaline ionized water scavenges free radicals too aggressively and tips the balance in the opposite direction.
Nature is always about balance—not extremes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, taking strong YANG herbs (like alkaline water), for too long, overheats and burns the body out. Ultimately, it contributes to aging. Like many of the Yang herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Alkaline ionized water can be therapeutic for short periods of time but it should never be considered as regular drinking water day in and day out—unless you are prepared for digestive problems, organ failure, arterial build-up, joint calcification, and metabolic imbalances.
By MJ PangMan