A few times each month I will get questions about using ionizing or alkaline water. Is it better for me, will it help heal or repair my illness, will it improve my health?
Many of you may disagree with me and that is fine, just be sure to take the sales blinders off when making a decision about this subject. Look at real facts, not just reports from the manufactures of various equipment.
There are many people who claim they feel better after consuming high pH water for a while and that is most likely true but not because of the alkaline effect of the water. My belief is that because they are experiencing something new, they are now drinking more water. You know how we are. We get turned on to a new piece of equipment or a new product and we are diligent about using or taking it everyday. Drinking more water is going to re-hydrate your body and naturally begin a detoxing effect. This will give you more energy, improve health and detox your body.
So, lets take a real look at alkaline water.
There are many theories and opinions about the benefits of drinking high alkaline water, in particular 9.5 pH water. Water is so important to our health I could write a book about the functions and health benefits of just water. So I am only going to discuss two claims about high pH water.
The high alkaline water community promotes their devices through two basic health claims. They claim high pH alkaline water improves your health by increasing your alkaline state and by increasing your body’s cellular oxygen level through water/oxygen clustering.
With out getting into a very long lecture in water and metabolic science, this is my opinion based on scientific facts. Just remember, every second your body is adjusting its pH to keep you alive.
What Influences Our Bodies Alkaline State
Everything we consume, even water is broken down to the very smallest molecule possible. This allows the body to repackage these molecules into other things. For example, when you eat protein from an animal or a vegetative food, the source doesn’t matter–the body through its incredible digestive system breaks the protein down to amino acids. These join the body’s amino acid pool, which consist of amino acids from our diet and recycled proteins the bodies disassembles into amino acids again to be reused. It’s not this simple–there are many steps in between, but I think you get the picture. Our body is in a constant state of building and breaking down compounds. In our metabolism they are referred to as catabolism, which is, when matter is broken down to create energy and anabolism, which is when the body uses energy to build materials such as building proteins from amino acids and additional compounds. It is during the catabolic process when the acid or alkaline ash is produced. During every step of the metabolic pathway the body is constantly adjusting its pH.
When you drink or eat any substance, it has a natural pH value that may be acidic, neutral, or alkaline. As soon as the food or liquid enters our stomach it empties into a pool of gastric juice, primarily hydrochloric acid and some enzymes etc. At this point the highly acidic environment now changes the pH of what was ingested into an acidic pH. Our stomach lining contains cells that monitor the pH. If it begins to become more alkaline, parietal cells, or oxyntic cells pump acid into the stomach to bring the stomachs environment to the correct pH necessary for proper digestion, so high alkaline water is totally changed by the stomach acid. Once the broken down food is ready to leave the stomach, it is squirted a little at a time into our small intestine where the small intestines sensory cells sense a very dangerous acid substance and signal the pancreas to squirt bicarbonate into the intestine to neutralize the pH once again. Alkaline water does not make our bodies more alkaline or more acidic.
Water naturally contains components some of which are good for us such as micronutrients in mineral form and other healthy microorganisms. Water may also contain heavy metals, pesticides, residues from drugs dumped into the water supply, other water-soluble harmful chemical compounds and pathogens such as unhealthy bacteria, fungi and viruses.
So now we know that it is during catabolism (the burning of foods for energy) that our body’s pH is affected by the ash that is left over. Each food based on its molecular content (compounds) leaves an acidic or alkaline ash. Depending on the totality of the pH effect of our diet our body adjusts our blood pH to a range between 7.35 and 7.45. This is highly critical and the body will do everything possible by mineral insertion to maintain it. If our diet is highly acidic, our bodies leach calcium from our bones to neutralize the effects of the acid ash. Colas are highly acidic and it is not the acidic value of the soda that causes the acid effect–it is the molecules in the compounds it is made from. Lemons and apple cider vinegar are both very acidic yet they make our bodies more alkaline. Our bodies get rid of excess acid through cellular respiration where the acid is converted into CO2 (carbon dioxide). The principal buffer is bicarbonate which is continually generated as glucose, which is the body’s immediate cellular energy source and calcium which is balanced in our body by magnesium and parathyroid hormone (PTH). This is the primary route of elimination of acids from the body, although the kidneys play a secondary role.
The body has a phenomenal filtration system but it is okay to give it some help through simple filters like Brita and Pur. They filter out contaminants, but leave other healthy compounds. Eat often from Mother Nature’s Garden of Life. Plant foods when consumed in variety provide a diet that is about 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. It is considered by many health experts to be the perfect alkaline to acid ratio for optimal health.
The best way to alkaline your body is to eat a diet rich in plant foods, drink plenty of free, filtered natural water, remove animal foods and refined and processed foods from your diet. And make happiness, exercise and relaxation a priority in your lifestyle.
What Increases Our Cellular Oxygen Levels
High alkaline water is also promoted as a way to increase oxygen into our cells. Very simply the only ways to increase oxygen in our cells is through our lungs and our skin. Red blood cells carry oxygen to each cell. When we are fit, we increase our body’s oxygen-carrying ability by making more red blood cells and by improving their oxygen-carrying capability. The layers of our skin are permeable thus allowing oxygen to penetrate and oxygenate the cells in the upper skin layers. The oxygen content in intercellular (outside of the cell) fluid or intracellular (inside the cell) fluid is regulated by the body’s hormones, enzymes, vitamins and mineral status–not the water.
Your best bet is to drink purified water that has no contaminates but retains its healthy benefits. Spring water is the best of Mother Nature and its pH will normally range from 6.5 to 8.5. If you do use the alkaline/acid water machines I would not drink any water with a pH higher than 7.5. Drinking water at a pH of higher than 7.5 on a continual basis as your everyday drinking water can be unhealthy. It causes your stomach acid pH to become to high which can cause reflux and can also disrupt your gut flora. Raising your stomach acid pH on a consistent basis can also interfere with digestion causing poor nutrient absorption. We are now beginning to see people with long-term high pH water consumption suffering from nutritional deficiency.
If you want to help keep your body’s pH in balance, eat lots of living foods like vegetables particularly green foods and drink their juice. If you want optimal hydration I think coconut water is the best.
In short I don’t recommend high pH waters from a machine. Save your money and buy more living foods.
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
- THE Most Healthful Water in the World by Maria Dorfner (mariadorfner.wordpress.com)