The latest health craze sweeping the internet concerns alkaline water. Most are aware that our terrible modern diets raise the acidic levels of our bodies causing acidosis. These low levels of chronic acidity then contribute to bone loss, obesity, arthritis and other conditions of aging. Like any good fad, bottled alkaline water companies have lots of anecdotal success stories and bizarre pseudo-science explanations about how and why it works, but no real studies to confirm it. There is very little that shows how it really doesn’t benefit your health and longevity. The fad fans got the science wrong, but there is an alternative available for those looking beyond the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Quick pH lesson
The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a substance is. It ranges from 0 to 14 with 0 being extremely acidic, 7 is neutral water, and 14 is incredibly alkaline. We all have enough common understanding of acids to know how destructive a strong acid can be, but a powerful alkaline like sodium hydroxide can dissolve tissue just as easily as hydrochloric acid. It’s why many fear that going overboard with alkaline water can actually cause more problems than it solves. Typical alkaline water brands aim for a pH between 8 and 10 so they aren’t dangerous to tissues, but aren’t really doing much to improve alkaline levels in the body naturally. Many bottled water companies like Essentia, Voss etc.. will add sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) which is a chemical and will raise the pH. You can go the local store and buy baking soda and add it to water, and the pH will increase. No chemical (including baking soda) can have positive benefits to the body.
Forget about too much acid
Our blood is naturally alkaline, with a pH level of about 7.4 (remember tap water is required to be 7, but chlorine and lye are added to reach this). While pH levels in the blood can fluctuate very little, our bodies have terrific feedback systems to help regulate proper pH levels. However, our tissue is not naturally alkaline and our cells are effected over time as a result of acidity. There is such a thing as acidosis that is caused by oxidative stress and it’s caused by chronic dehydration resulting in serious medical problems like untreated diabetes, severe alcoholism, chronically obstructed airways, kidney failure, and even cancer! Real acidosis requires real medical intervention and even the alkaline water fans don’t tout a few sips a day as a way to treat or cure these diseases. But drinking a water that is truly alkaline could raise their pH, resulting in major life changing health results.
Alkaline water seems to do something
There are a few interesting studies out there that show that alkaline water appears to do something. They don’t really offer a reason why but the new study that I will get into later actually explains the claims these earlier studies found.
The most quoted mouse study looked at 150 mice over a period of 3 years. The mice that were given alkaline water had a slightly longer lifespan compared to the control group that received tap water. Dissection and analysis of their kidneys, intestines, hearts, livers, and brains found no difference between the groups so the researchers didn’t really have any conclusions on the lifespan differences. This solidifies the fact that alkaline water that is chemically altered, has no real benefit. i.e. Alkaline water in a bottle where ingredients say it has sodium bicarbonate.
I’ve also seen many claims that alkaline water helps with arthritis. I can’t link to any studies, because there aren’t any.
Bottled Alkaline water is NOT doing what you think
One consistent truth about people is we want answers. We hate mysteries and want explanations. Unfortunately, in the absence of real answers, we tend to make them up. That’s how the theories on alkaline water came to be. There was a video that got over over 100k views and tested many of the top bottled waters. Some tested alkaline (blue) because of the baking soda added. (See ingredients of Essentia) This caused a lot of uproar, and people demanded answers. Is Alkaline water really doing anything for me at all? A false advertising class-action lawsuit was filed against Trader Joe’s for allegedly misrepresenting that Trader Joe’s Alkaline Water is “ionized to achieve the perfect balance” and implying that the water provides more hydration by placing plus signs next to the statement “refresh and hydrate” when, according to plaintiffs, the company does not have adequate support to make claims that the water is “perfectly balanced” or will provide more hydration than other ordinary water. In addition, the complaint alleges that Trader Joe’s misleadingly markets the product as “Alkaline Water + Electrolytes [that] is ionized to pH 9.5+,” when, according to plaintiffs, the water does not have the represented pH (or measure of acidity and alkalinity) and is more acidic than represented. (Weiss et al v. Trader Joe’s Co., Case No. 18-cv-1130, C. D. CA.)
Reducing inflammation, not acidity
Before I get into the details of how it works I want to reiterate that not all water is equal. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on overpriced, over-hyped fad bottles of alkaline water, do research to see how certain electrolyzed reduced waters (Alkalized) are found to show medical proof.
Now, on to the pathways it activates. Let us introduce Electrolyzed–Reduced Water (ERW). This restructured water scavenges Active Oxygen Species and Protects DNA from Oxidative Damage. There are studies done on Pubmed that document these very benefits.
It’s another interesting display of the complexities of our anatomy. I can understand why everyone wrote off alkaline water as a hoax. The science was nonsensical because no one knew what they should even be looking for. Still, anecdotal evidence on Electrolyzed Reduced Water saw benefits that we can now understand. Studies (listed below) show an overall reduction in inflammation will reduce heart disease and cancer risk. ERW will also improve longevity and lifespans. Reduced inflammation will also prevent bone loss, but not because of acidity eating up calcium. In fact, here is another study on how Electrolyzed-reduced water reduced hemodialysis-induced erythrocyte impairment in end-stage renal disease patients. These pro-inflammatory bacteria then trigger rapid degradation on the bones and cartilage throughout the body.
In a scientific study by the National Institute of Health, it was discovered: “The consumption of hydrogen rich ERW water for 8 weeks resulted in a 39% increase (p<0.05) in antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and a 43% decrease (p< 0.05) in thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in urine. Further, subjects demonstrated an 8% increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and a 13% decrease in total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol from baseline to 4 weeks.” What does this mean? According to this study, those who drank hydrogen-rich ERW water showed a substantial increase in their antioxidant enzymes and a massive decrease in acid in the urine. Further, participants showed a significant increase in HDL the “good cholesterol,” and a significant decrease in the “bad cholesterol.” ‘Electrolyzed Reduced Water’ has been used in hospitals in Japan for decades. And, now you can make the same alkaline, antioxidant, mineral-rich, pure, safe, and healthy drinking water right in your own home.
Don’t buy “official” alkaline water
A standard high-fiber, low-sugar diet will assist in reducing inflammation, but before considering trying the supposed benefits of alkaline water, just beware of sodium bicarbonate. Acidosis is a real condition, but so is alkalosis. You can cause a whole new set of problems with too much sodium bicarbonate, so don’t assume that more is better. At the very least, please do not support overpriced fad products like Essentia, Voss, or Aqua 84, or Wegmans 365. All they do is add confusing pseudo-science to the already confusing health and nutrition space, so that they can separate you from your money. And to actually find health changes like listed above with ERW, one can only wonder why Alkaline (bottled water) does anything at all for anyone.
So, now that you have learned how bottled alkaline water is really not truly alkaline, what will we do? Kangen water has been around for more than 45 years, and originated in Japan!
Bottled water is bad for the environment According to the National Geographic, “Bottled water is a drain on the environment: The U.S. public goes through about 50 billion water bottles a year, and most of those plastic containers are not recycled. Transporting the bottles and keeping them cold also burns fossil fuels, which give off greenhouse gases.” 1500 plastic bottles are consumed every second. Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. And, it will take 1000 years for the plastic to degrade. It can pose health threats The plastic in bottled water often contains chemicals BPA and phthalates, which are proven to be hazardous to human health. It’s not proven to be any safer than tap water The non-profit, non-partisan Environmental Working Group (EWG) says, “The government does not mandate that bottled water be any safer than tap water. In fact, the chemical pollution standards are nearly identical.” Historically, bottled waters have even been recalled for contamination with particulate matter, mold and bacteria.
Further, as reported by ABC, environmental advocate Mae Wu has performed studies which show bottled is no safer or cleaner: There is actually more testing federally mandated on tap water than bottled. 100 compounds of tap water must be tested every day and the results posted online.5 • It doesn’t necessarily taste better In this video by ABC, in a blind taste test, many even preferred the taste of tap water over bottled.
Kangen Water® (aka electrolyzed reduced water (ERW), or hydrogen water) begins as tap water. The Enagic® machine filters out chlorine and other impurities from the tap water, then separates the hydrogen and oxygen with a process known as electrolysis. This process adds an electron to the hydrogen creating a new molecule called diatomic molecular hydrogen gas. When this is added to your drinking water, it produces antioxidant-rich Kangen Water®
Oxidant, by definition, is an oxidizing agent, while antioxidant is any substance that acts to slow or prevent the oxidation of another chemical. In the human body, oxidative damage has been implicated in many of our modern day diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Antioxidants, on the other hand, act to tame the free radicals (or highly reactive chemicals) in the body that have potential to harm cells and cause disease.
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