Does Alkaline Water Promote Health?
Manufacturers of water ionizers state that their products produce more alkaline water, which allows your body to better absorb minerals and antioxidants from water. Are these health claims real? Do you recommend ionizers?
Home water ionizers, which I’ve seen offered for sale on the internet, are just the latest twist in the ongoing effort to promote the notion that alkaline water is somehow protective of your health. The underlying idea is that you can prevent disease by balancing your body’s pH. Promoters claim that alkaline water is energizing, hydrates the body more effectively than regular water, improves the taste of food when used in cooking, promotes “regularity,” helps the body absorb nutrients more effectively, and on and on. I’ve even seen claims that it can cure everything from obesity and high blood pressure to breast cancer.
None of these claims are true. Furthermore, your body needs absolutely no help in adjusting its pH. Normally, the pH of blood and most body fluids is near seven, which is close to neutral. This is under very tight biological control because all of the chemical reactions that maintain life depend on it. Unless you have serious respiratory or kidney problems, body pH will remain in balance no matter what you eat or drink. As for water, you should consider the fact that alkaline water is common throughout the western states but to my knowledge it has not protected anyone from the diseases and disorders that occur elsewhere in the U.S.
The health claims for water ionizers and for alkaline water are bogus. Save your money.
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.
Is alkaline water better for you than [pure] plain water?
For most people, [pure] plain water is best.
Because alkaline water has a higher pH level than does plain tap water, proponents say that it can neutralize acid in your bloodstream, boost your metabolism and help your body absorb nutrients more effectively. Some even say that alkaline water can help prevent disease and slow the aging process. However, researchers haven’t verified these claims.
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. – Mayo Clinic Nutritionist
Change Your Water – Change Your Life
How so? Well, there are quite a few multi-level marketing (MLM) companies who want to sell all sorts of water to you because they claim that theirs is healthier than any other water in existence. They try to convince you that plain, clean, pure water which God created for us to drink, called H2O, isn’t good enough for human consumption. They claim that whether water has been distilled naturally through the hydrologic cycle or by mechanical distillation, it is unhealthy for you to drink. According to the MLM companies, healthy water needs to be Alkaline H3O, or ionized water.
One company selling their “medicine water” is Kangen. But now comes the clincher: “What’s in Your Wallet?” It had better be between $4,000.00 and $6000.00, because that’s what their Alkaline “Miracle-Healing” water machine will cost you. The great news is, once you buy their product, you become an Expert in this modified water and in speaking their technical babble; you are also placed in a special MLM money-making pyramid. You are then schooled on all the “miracle” healing properties your fancy new machine will add to ordinary tap water.
You will be coached on how to impress uninformed people suffering from a myiad of ailments or physical infirmities, with your new found pseudo-scientific language. You will be encouraged to tell them that if only they would “Change their water, they could change their lives.” Your new community will pump you up, psych you out, and get you “dreaming again,” constantly reminding you how rich you will become as you draw others into the community of fellow “miracle workers.” You will be encouraged to feel better, reminded that you do feel better, and convinced that you feel stronger with more energy, become disease-free. The marketing people will tell you about your wealthy ”Upline” friends and associates, a better sex life, and even that “your food will taste better.” “Change your water- change your life” will be your new mantra. In fact you will discover how popular this mantra is if you Google it… About 203,000 results!
Over the past 30 years, I have designed and built over 2000 koi ponds in southern California. Early on, I discovered some interesting facts about water chemistry. The specific gravity pH of water is critical for the survival of pond life. The range of pH is found on a scale of 0-14, with 0 being acid and 14 base (alkaline), with neutral half way in between at 7. Fish cannot remain healthy or live long in water with a pH lower than 6 or higher than 7.5, yet both conditions are considered very close and comparable to neutral. Conditions lower than 6 or higher than 7.5 are harmful and eventually fatal to marine life, including plants.
Alkaline water advocates claim that their water at 8.0+ pH is healthier than pure (distilled) water, which is neutral (pH = 7) and a parts per million (PPM) of “0” of dissolved foreign matter. In fact, Dr. Andrew Weil M.D. (acclaimed by Newsweek Magazine to be among “America’s Top 100 Most Influential People” and called “America’s Doctor”) calls the health claims for alkaline water to be “bogus” and without any credible scientific or medical facts or studies.
Since the MLM company Kangen is responsible for any health or medical related claims that it makes directly, they let their distributors make all the outrageous claims. In that way they are not likely to be convicted for false medical or health claims related to alkaline water consumption. Many claims they make are scientifically vague and they use meaningless scientific terms, playing on the ignorance of the general public.
One of Kangen’s outrageous claims is that the Health Ministry in Japan “Officially approves of alkaline water.”
False Claims of “Medical Certification”
The only approval ever issued was in 1954 for safety approval of the alkaline water machine itself and has never issued certification or claimed health benefits or effects on the body of alkaline water.
To be more specific, since the alkaline machines were operated on electricity and were used in the home, the Japanese Ministry of Welfare and Health was more concerned about the overall safety of the appliance than the actual water. It is a documented fact that their Department of Welfare and Health and hasn’t ever “recommended or “approved” the use”of alkaline water or ionizers (Japanese Ministry of Merchandise Trade Report on Consumer Complaints – 1992).
No Medical Clinical Data
Despite the fact that there have been no clinical blind studies or statistical medical data since the introduction of alkaline water in 1954, several million people have gotten caught up in the fad. This was accomplished without any statistical data from tests on animals or humans for dosage or medical benefits. In recent years it has been determined that neither food nor water can change the blood’s pH; it is accomplished through various mechanisms within the body starting with pH neutralization in the stomach and duodenum through the measured release of acid or base.
Even though alkaline machines were widely promoted and sold in the 1970′s and 80′s by more than 20 manufacturers, everything changed in 1992 when the Japanese Ministry of Merchandise Trade released a highly damaging report. It was extremely critical of not only the health benefit claims of alkaline water, but also the divisive sales tactics and practices used to market ionizer machines. As a result of this crackdown, only a handful of companies remain today.
Exposed and Debunked
In looking for a solution to the nationwide shortage of drugs following World War II, Japanese scientists discovered that water with a pH of 8.5-9.5 (alkaline water) was a solution to treating those with gastric hyper-acidity and other digestive conditions. Great emphasis was placed upon this single medicinal benefit, so that when a ionizer was developed that produced this water with wonderful medicinal properties, the manufacturers had their premise for a fabulous sales pitch.
Regardless of this, water ionizers had never been classified or approved as an “alkalizer” or “balancing” machine. Furthermore, it remains a ridiculous reason to spend several thousand dollars on the purchase of an alkaline water maker machine when one penny’s worth of baking soda in a glass of water will produce the exact same results, only instantly! Why? Because alkaline water has a pH of 8.0 and 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water is 9.5 pH. Instant relief for a penny, not $4,000-$6,000!
Got acid-reflux? Take a half to one teaspoon of baking soda in an 8-10 oz. glass of distilled water. Got heartburn and money to burn? Then buy a miracle-working, super-duper, fountain of youth producing Kangen ionizer-alkaline machine. Just realize that you may have more money than common sense.
The proponents of alkaline water say that an alkaline body is a happy, healthy body. And conversely, an acidic body is a sick, sad body.
They claim that alkaline water (pH 8.0), only one point above neutral (distilled water), will raise the pH of your body and will make it happy and healthy. OK, let’s look at this from an elementary school level of science.
The stomach is always acidic ( gastric acid is 1.5-3.5 pH);
whatever enters the stomach turns acidic;
if something lowers the acid pH level, the stomach produces more.
So tell me, alkaline water promoter, what happens to that glass of alkaline water you just drank when it reaches the stomach? Does the 8.0 pH water raise the pH of the acid? NO! So what is the pH of that glass of alkaline water now? It has changed to whatever the pH of the stomach is. OK, now guzzle a gallon! Any change now, other than some noticeable bloating? Did you raise the pH of the body? Shame on you for saying it does!
Any manufacturer can make wild claims about a product, but until that product has been through extensive blind studies and peer review studies, they can only go on hype, here say and exaggerated or manufactured testimonials. Snake squeezers have been around since Adam and Eve. Snake oil has been the most versatile product in the world until alkaline water came along, and if snake oil can’t cure it, alkaline water can. They say it kills cancer cells and eradicates cancer, cures heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, skin diseases, liver diseases, prevents tooth decay, breast cancer, colon cancer, rheumatism, arthritis and much more. There is not one mention of this ”Amazing Miracle Elixir” on any medical research or governmental agency website such as the AMA, JAMA, FDA, CDC, EPA or ATF and NRA. Drink the purest, healthiest water available, distilled water. It’s the same water Dr. Andrew Weil drinks, and it just so happens to be one of the cheapest waters you can buy in the grocery store. DON”T GET RIPPED OFF!