Lessons I have learned about Alkaline Water
When I began drinking ionized alkaline water I didn’t even know what an ion was.
I failed gloriously at chemistry at school.
I was the class disruptor. The idea of a universe of elements confined to a single table of values was anathema to me. I wanted infinite possibility rather than the confines of a periodic table that explained the ‘Theory of Everything’.
Well, things have changed.
I’m still no expert in chemistry but I’ve grown to love the process of learning about a subject that fascinates me; the relationship of pH balance to my – and others’ – health.
Alkaline Water and pH Balance
As I learned that the world in general refuses to accept the huge advantage of an alkaline body, I delved into physics, chemistry, biology and psychology.
Strangely, I look back on myself at school and understand that unless a person is ready to learn – and change – they simply can’t hear even hear the words of their best friends when it interferes with their idea of normal life.
Enough of the philosophy; you are reading this to learn about alkaline water, so let’s get on with it.
If you’ve come this far you’ve probably already been exposed to some form of information, most likely from someone attempting to sell you a water ionizer. So let’s begin at the beginning with the word ‘ion’.
An ion is an atom. Got that? Good.
You are half way. But it’s an atom that carries an electrical charge, or is in need of an electrical charge.. so if you like, it’s an electrically unbalanced atom.
Of course nothing is imbalanced in nature. So an atom with a positive electrical charge has just one purpose in creation; it is looking for an ion that is missing a charge so it can donate its charge, and return to normal atomic state of equilibrium. It’s a completely beneficial meeting for both atoms involved because they both return to being just atoms instead of ions.
They return to balance.
It took me some time to see the significance of this and I wish my chemistry teacher had told me about ions and what I’m about to share. (Of course, he did, but I was busy disrupting.)
We read about chemical reactions everywhere; in the air, in the earth, in industry and medicine, and within our body. A chemical reaction is the action of ions co-operating to create a new molecular substance.
They give and they take and they form a stable substance rather than simple separate atoms. So ions are the key to all chemical reactions plus the formulation of new substances.
This extends from simple salt – a joining of ionic sodium and ionic chlorine – all the way up the high level multi-atom substances.
But we don’t need to worry about getting into the understanding of complex substances because ionized water is a very simple ionic transfer. Basically, it’s the creation of a new form of water that has more negatively charged ions in it than usual.
You probably think that there’s just one way to do this.
That’s not true; there are a number of ways including magnetics, electrolysis and passing water over certain reactive elements. The latter is the cause of the amazing so-called ‘healing’ springs around the world, evidenced simply by a lighter molecular weight of these special waters.
I have experienced excellent health (in the main) over my 21 years of alkalinewater based life.
I don’t attribute all of it to ionized alkaline water but it’s my personal belief that so many years without my usual annual colds and flu has something to say about the water’s immune support abilities. You’ll find hundreds of testimonials for the water online and although in my opinion most of them are real, I need to caution you that nothing fixes everything and every case needs to be seen in the context of their previous lifestyle choices.
To give a simple example – when did you ever see a diet that didn’t claim miraculous benefits from ‘Mrs J. Smith of Alabama”.
The reality of all diets is that if a person is already slowly killing themselves with the SAD (Standard American Diet) anything a little healthier will provoke a healing response.
Was it the specific diet? Yes..and no. The specific diet provoked the response but any diet of equal quality would probably have done the same.
So please be a little careful in your research.
I think I can assist you hugely today because I’m going to share a meta-analysis of over 100 international studies of the health effects of natural alkaline water. And then I’ll attempt to show you the differences between electrically created - and natural alkaline water. There are very important differences as well as very important similarities.
The Study and what I learned.
The study linked to here is the best piece of information on alkaline water I have read for 13 years. It is completely crossreferenced to actual studies, which makes it head and shoulders above any other form of document you would usually read on the net. What it says is as correct as science has managed to make it. (The foundation of scientific inquiry is that your study’s result is correct only until someone proves otherwise.)
So what does it say about Alkaline Water?
It concentrates on the two major elements of alkaline water in nature; Calcium and Magnesium.
“Both of these elements are essential for thehuman body. Calcium is a part of bones and teeth. In addition, it plays a role in neuromuscular excitability (decreases it), good function of the conducting myocardial system, heart and muscle contractility, intracellular information transmission and blood coagulability.”
It goes on to say that osteoporosis and osteomalacia are the most common symptoms of Ca and Mg deficiency.
Please note: it does NOT say directly that more calcium will cure these conditions. We’ve independently researched this and there’s a much bigger story here. But let’s move on. (If you’d like to know more go here)
The report then talks about the superstar of alkaline minerals, Magnesium:
“Magnesium plays an important role as a cofactor and activator of more than 300 enzymatic reactions including glycolysis, ATP metabolism, transport of elements such as Na, K and Ca through membranes, synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids, neuromuscular excitability and muscle contraction etc.
… Magnesium deficiency increases risk to humans of developing various pathological conditions such as vasoconstrictions, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, atherosclerotic vascular disease, acute myocardial infarction, eclampsia in pregnant women, possibly diabetes mellitus of type II and Osteoporosis.”
Think about it.
Is there a pill anywhere on earth that gives so much benefit? It’s so commonly available, so well researched to PROVE these claims, yet most of us (according to the report) are severely lacking magnesium in our diet!
Although there were some scattered studies as early as 1927 recommending hard water over soft, it wasn’t until 1950 when Japanese scientists concluded that hard alkaline water was more beneficial than soft water in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
To be very clear, they found higher mortality rates from cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) in the areas of Japanese rivers with more acid (i.e. softer) water compared to those with more alkaline (i.e. harder) water used for drinking purposes.
Many studies of alkaline water followed across the world with similar conclusions.
In the two decades of investigation of water hardness and its association with heart disease, over 100 studies were completed!
My question that must be asked is that if it is so obviously scientifically proven, why have our health authorities not advanced a diet giving the required amounts of both?
Some people may reasonably ask how sure researchers are that it is calcium and magnesium that has such an effect. Could it not be any of the other essential minerals we all need? Yet in study after study, no significant association with other minerals was found.
(One significant finding was the effect of acidic water on home reticulation systems and its tendency to corrode sufficiently to cause leaching of toxic heavy metals)
By 1992 it was generally agreed that Magnesium was the great healer and that calcium had only a supportive effect against heart disease.
But as you’ll soon see, magnesium in water is quite different to magnesium in food.
By 1990 studies had advanced to a stage where even more hard data and beneficial correlations between Ca, Mg and CVD was available. Before this time there were a number of studies questioning the methodology of some earlier studies. These are to me, a healthy debate phase and although some earlier studies were not as rigid as they could have been, the basic fact of the correlation survived the rigour of scientific debate.
The later studies extended the benefits of magnesium beyond CVD to AMI (Advanced Myocardial Infarction)
“…the persons enrolled in the group with the highest water Mg level had a risk level of death from AMI by a third lower (odds raio 0.64) as compared to the groups consuming water containing less Mg than 8.3 mg/l.”
I like to try to see what a statistic looks like in real life. A reduction by one-third of deaths from myocardial infarction looks like this:
That’s one third of this group of 100 people who would have died.
It’s also interesting to see how some of the studies learned about hard water’s health benefits. In one Finnish study, the hard water benefit was only discovered when health authorities investigated why one particular geographic region consumed less heart drugs.
It was the water!
Another peculiarity of one study was the discovery of a correlation between ambient temperature and heart disease. While this seems to have nothing to do with magnesium or water, it reminded me that Chinese Shaolin monks alkalize with cold dips in mountain streams.
As the studies rolled on, it became clearer and clearer that it was magnesium that was doing the work in preventing Advanced Myocardial Infarction, not the calcium.
Next, a study popped up showing less danger for sudden infant death syndrome,
“It is hypothesized that magnesium deficiency is implicated in cardiovascular spasms and cardiac arrhythmias leading to death.”
More good news followed.
Unlike most trace minerals, which take many months or years to have a beneficial effect, studies emerged showing that the effects of drinking hard water surfaced in a matter of weeks rather than years. This probably explains the sometimes ‘miraculous’ reports we get from users.
(I remember one man who was dragged into our offices by his wife and was very against the whole idea. He said nothing but drank a glass to keep his wife happy. They were back the next day. “For the first time in years I had no reflux!” he exclaimed.)
Here’s where it gets really interesting.
If switching over to alkaline water is good for you, what happens if you have been drinking alkaline water all your life and you change to soft water? This is what happened in a number of recorded cases:
“…among Czech and Slovak population who started to use reverse osmosis based systems for final treatment of drinking water at their home outlets in 2000-2002 and several weeks later reported different health complaints suggestive of acute magnesium deficiency.”
More benefits studies rolled in.
A French study found that calcium in the water contributed to a lack of neurological disturbance in the elderly. Ever heard of the old adage; “A glass of milk before bed for a good night’s sleep”? Milk is loaded with calcium!
In Spain a report found schoolkids drinking alkaline water suffered less fractures.
Another report found that hard water drinkers had consistently lower blood pressure.
A second report discovered the same in pregnant women, which is no surprise to me given that the embryonic child is dragging all his/her mother’s alkaline minerals out to create a new skeleton.
And it wasn’t only mothers who benefited. A Taiwan study of 1751 women found that hard water gave better protection against low pre-and post-birth baby weight. Furthermore,
“Higher intake of calcium is believed to decrease smooth muscle contractility and tonus, which clinically results in lower blood pressure and lower rate of pre-term births.”
Next came a study showing low Mg levels in drinking water to be a factor in motor neurone disease, closely followed by another with similar indications for preeclampsia.
Not all studies of alkaline water effects agreed with each other.
A Taiwanese study correlated low Mg and diabetes but a US one found no such correlation.
Personally, given the fact that diabetes is often the result of bad diet and excess fat accumulation, which renders the body almost permanently in a state of inflammation, I would theorize that magnesium’s anti-inflammatory abilities were probably what the Taiwanese observed.
More studies, more results.
Low Ca and Mg levels were linked with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis A.K.A. Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Even dental caries and periodontal disease are reduced with a sufficiency of Ca and Mg in drinking water… even when fluoride levels are low! So..if we all had the right amounts of Ca and Mg we wouldn’t have fluoride forced upon us in our drinking water; a chemical already proven to reduce children’s intelligence.
From Russia came studies linking low Mg and Ca in drinking water with a whole range of ailments including:
“significantly higher incidence rates of hypertension, IHD, adrenergic function disturbances, gastric and duodenal ulcer and other diseases in the areas with soft water.”
Alkaline Water and Cancer
Please note: This is not a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult a qualified physician before embarking on any health regimen change.
Here’s a simplified list of a host of studies coming out of Taiwan. All of them relate to the consumption of hard water and the beneficial effect.
- Cerebrovascular diseases (Mg)
- Hypertension (Mg)
- CVD (Hard Water)
- Esophogeal cancer (Hard Water)
- Pancreatic cancer (Hard Water)
- Rectal cancer (Hard Water)
- Breast cancer (Hard Water)
- Gastric cancer (Calcium in water)
- Colorectal cancer (Calcium in water)
“Further studies from other countries are needed to confirm these results. Although previous studies dealing with relationships between water hardness and the incidence of cancer elsewhere in the world were mostly suggestive of protective effect of hard water, the results were ambiguous as stated in a review paper (Cantor, 1997) underlining the need for further studies in this promising field.”
Not Detox but AntiTox.
We all know what detox is, but what about antitoxic? Antitoxic in this sense means that something has the ability to neutralise toxins as they enter the body. To explain how this applies to calcium and Magnesium, I quote:
“Calcium and to a lower extent also magnesium in both drinking water and food were previously found to have a beneficial antitoxic effect since they prevent – via either a direct reaction resulting in an nonabsorbable compound or competition for binding sites –absorption or reduce harmful effects of some toxic elements such as lead, cadmium etc.”
We are, I believe beginning to see alkaline water for the powerful protector it really is.
The next study looked at how much hard water one would need to drink to reduce heart disease. This 1999 study concludes;
“…relatively low magnesium intake with drinking water (usually less than 10 % of the total daily magnesium intake) can reduce mortality from CVD by even 30 %.”
As a doctor friend said, “If I could patent that I’d be a billionaire!”
Modern Food and Alkaline Water
There is no argument that the nutritional value of modern supermarket food has dropped. An early casualty was magnesium. It means that virtually all of us live in a state of permanent magnesium depletion. Now that you and I understand the amazing health support that this natural mineral offers us, we have to be wondering how to reverse this situation, especially now that we also know from these studies that we can have a health turnaround in as little as a few weeks!
Now here’s something extremely important to us in our quest for magnesium self-sufficiency.
- If you eat 1000mg of magnesium in your food, your body will get 300mg.
- Magnesium in water, however, gives an extra 30% absorption. It’s 30% more efficient to take magnesium in water than in food.
There’s more; we’ve all seen ‘megadose magnesium supplements. Well, studies show that the higher the dosage, the lower the absorption level for food, whereas water absorption levels remain constant.
Cooking with Alkaline Water
If you choose high magnesium vegetables to cook, then cooking with soft water has been found to deplete magnesium levels even before you get to eat the vegetables. Conversely, cooking with hard water increases the levels of Mg and Ca in the food. You will also retain far more of the wider range of minerals in the food.
One study goes so far as to conclude that it’s the bioavailability of magnesium in water that makes it a far superior way of getting your daily quota. This is due “to its increased utilization probably resulting from the biologically advantageous (hexahydrated) form of water magnesium.”
“Repeated tests on animals yielded highly surprising results: the animals given the element studied (i.e. Zn or Mg) with drinking water showed statistically significantly higher increase of this element in the serum than those given a much higher amount of these elements with food and demineralized water to drink.”
Remember we talked earlier about a study of a population that changed over from hard water to RO water? They quickly displayed signs of magnesium deficiency. Further proof of the basic principle was found in the observation that patients being fed pure water intravenously quickly lost their normal levels of a whole range of electrolytes (minerals).
Isn’t this amazing material? Can you imagine how you are going to ‘kick the habit’ and regain your birthright evolutionary health model with this simple change?
Relationship of Mg levels and Health response.
Here are some interesting summary statistics that should banish any doubt in your mind. And remember as you read these that the RDA for magnesium for us is 700-1000mg per day.
Study 1: America. An increase in the water magnesium level by about 8 mg/l led to reduction of mortality from all CVD by about 10%.
Study 2: South Africa. An increase in drinking water magnesium by 6 mg/l led to reduction of mortality from IHD equally by about 10%.
Study 3: Germany. If drinking water magnesium is reduced by about 4.5 mg/l, the incidence of myocardial infarction increases by 10%.
Study 4: England. An increase in total hardness ..from 0.5 to 1.5 mmol/l – … should result in a 7.2% decrease in CVD mortality.
Study 6: Los Angeles. the decrease in the absolute cardiovascular mortality ranged from 0.1 per mg (of Mg) per 100,000 population.
Study 7: Finland. The relative risk decrease ranged from 0.001 to 0.034 per mg of magnesium.
Ratio of Magnesium to Calcium
We are now getting very close to decisional safety here. We should never take health decisions if we don’t feel safe doing so, but in this case the confirming data appears overwhelming. There are only a few more points we need to complete our ‘due diligence’, and one is how much calcium we should have with our magnesium.
A very significant number of studies have all come to one answer.
One unit of Magnesium to two units of Calcium.
- A decrease in the Mg to Ca ratio was associated with increasing risk for mortality from IHD and AMI.
- An increase in the Mg to Ca ratio was associated with increasing risk for gastric cancer.
The good news is that the right ratio is often similar to actual Mg and Ca ratios in our home alkaline water supplies. The bad news is that it may pay to check with your local supplier.
The Paul C. Bragg Legacy
Paul C. Bragg, self proclaimed “Father of the Health Movement in America”, certainly had dedication.
According to his website, “This Crusader for worldwide health and fitness is responsible for more firsts in the history of the natural health movement than any other individual.”
He worked hard all his life to propagate his own vision of health. Unfortunately many people followed his ill-founded advice to drink only distilled water. His theory behind it has never been proven.
On the other hand, multiple studies have shown that intestinal absorption of calcium from drinking or mineral water is as effective or even more effective as compared with that from dairy products.
Although Bragg claimed advanced scientific degrees in newspaper and magazine interviews, including, but not limited to, his 1975 People Magazine article, it is unknown if these claims are accurate. The (just released) 1940 Federal Census (accessible online), showing him living on National Avenue in Burbank, California, gives his age as "45" and the highest attained academic grade for him as "H1", which would be only one year of high school.
None of the known Bragg books refers to any specific educational accomplishments.
Summarizing, the meta-analysis of the studies published in 1966 – 1998 indicated that calcium absorption from mineral water is statistically significantly higher than that from dairy products.
Based on this evidence, it was recommended to use waters richer in calcium as an important additional source of calcium in menopausal women, lactose intolerant people or those avoiding dairy products because of their taste or high fat content.
Just to make the point about Alkaline Water clearly…
Study 1: France. intake of drinking water rich in calcium correlated with higher bone density in elderly women in France.
Study 2: Italy. Similar results were obtained in an experiment with mineral water in menopausal women.
Study 3: Italy. lower bone resorption and osteoporosis were observed in women after drinking calcium rich water.
Study 4: Spain. A lower incidence of fractures in small school children of the areas supplied with harder water.
Bioavailability of minerals in Alkaline Water
“Bioavailability of water magnesium was documented by the studies of the 1960’s and 1970’s that found a positive correlation between the drinking water magnesium level and the magnesium content of the heart muscle.”
Further proof comes in the form of more varied health outcomes. A three-week drinking of magnesium rich water (120 mg/l) resulted in 79 patients in lower pain intensity and frequency of migraine.
Similar results were obtained in a more recent study by the same authors with 29 migraine patients and 18 controls. It was also found in a separate study that drinking only 110 mg of magnesium per litre gave good usability of water magnesium -led to higher levels of intracellular magnesium and conservation of the serum magnesium level.
Just think about that.
Most people don’t drink more than 2 litres per day so all the participants of the study received was 220mg per day..far below the RDA of 700 to 1000mg, but still, the results were positive.
Kidney Stones and Hard Water
We’ve heard some people say that kidney stones are caused by hard water.
Conversely, we’ve heard people equally vehemently assert that they are caused by oxalic acid.
The one accepted truth coming out of studies is that permanent dehydration is the major reason.
Other factors include genetic predisposition, eating habits, climate and gender.
There are some studies that concluded that hard water caused stones, but there has been an equal number that concluded that soft water did the same.
More recent and comprehensive studies now say hard water isn’t a factor.
“Any correlation between water hardness, or the drinking water calcium or magnesium level, and the incidence of urolithiasis was not found in the last vast USA epidemiological study with 3270 patients”
There is still some controversy over extremely hard water and it does appear that there may be some correlation.
“A long-term intake of drinking water harder than 5 mmol/l results in a higher local blood supply in the kidneys and subsequent adaptation of the filtration and resorption processes in the kidney. This is believed to be protective reaction of the human body which may lead, if the conditions persist, to alteration of the body‘s regulatory system with possible subsequent development of urolithiasis (kidney stones) and hypertension.”
Very hard water has been linked in Russian studies to a number of ailments so I think we can say generally what we know already – that very hard water is not good to drink.
Disadvantages of Alkaline Water
There are some obvious disadvantages so in the interests of balance I think it’s fair that I include them.
Firstly, both calcium and magnesium have a threshold of taste.
- Add over 300mg per litre to pure water and you’ll taste it.
- At 500 mg/l it will taste bad.
Magnesium’s taste threshold is above 170mg/l, but the taste of both at these levels is complicated by other minerals in the water. I talked to an Israeli engineer who mines pure magnesium from the Dead Sea. He has developed a patented system for creation of bottled magnesium water that has no taste but delivers the RDA. I expect to see it on the shelves soon.
- Hard water takes longer to cook things.
- It can leave scale on pots, glasses hot water systems and cisterns.
- Aromatic substances in food will bind to calcium and lose their power.
On the other hand, very soft water is usually described as having a ‘soapy’ taste.
What is ‘Good drinking Water?
One repetitive example that has been related to me over my years as an alkaline water researcher is of the family dog choosing alkaline water over less alkaline tap water. And the study appears to support the dog’s choice, saying that good drinking water does have some minerals to make it taste good.
Whether this taste is acquired or hereditary is another question entirely, but we could reasonably assume that our paleo ancestors were more accustomed to drinking mineralised spring water, in which case we can also assume that we have evolved in relationship with the dominant food and water sources we had over the many thousands of years since we began as humans on the planet.
If we accept that, we can see why pure water is not what we like, and probably not what we were ‘designed’ to drink, and the concept of “Primal” water begins to make sense. Water our bodies remember.
Very soft water, such as distilled and rainwater as two extreme examples, is of unacceptable taste for most people who usually report it to be of unpleasant to soapy taste. A certain minimum content of minerals, the most crucial of which are calcium and magnesium salts, is essential for the pleasant and refreshing taste of drinking water. If only for this reason, demineralized drinking water should be fortified with minerals if obtained by desalination from seawater on a ship, or by ultrafiltration from wastewater on a spaceship.
Optimum drinking water hardness (Ca and Mg levels) from the health point of view.
For the health reasons given above, we prefer harder water.. but it is not absolutely true the harder the water, the better. An optimum is hard to set; perhaps, the following ranges could be given:
- For magnesium, a minimum of 10 mg/and an optimum of about 20-30 mg/l
- For calcium a minimum of 20 mg/l and an optimum about 50 (40-80) mg/l
- For total water hardness, 2 to 4 mmol/l
Although the question of how much hardness and pH has actually reached legislation with the WHO, the only country that has taken a real stand about water quality with regard to pH, Mg, Ca and hardness in the UK.
“The Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy of the Department of Health concluded: “…in view of the consistency of the epidemiological evidence of a weak inverse association between natural hardness and cardiovascular disease mortality, it remains prudent not to undertake softening of drinking water supplies…”
The Drinking water Inspectorate in the UK even went further, advising people who installed water softeners to ensure an alternative supply.
“…if you do install a water softener you should make sure that you have a supply of unsoftened water for drinking and cooking“
The Practical Advantage of Hard Alkaline Water
In my experience we are a nation of great health strategy starters and poor finishers.
Take a look in the cupboard and chances are you’ll see all those supplements you never finished, even though, as the report reveals, in truth many supplemental minerals need quite a long time before effects happen.
I’m bringing this up because as we all know there is a plethora of CalMag supplements on the market, which supply the required RDA in various forms, but the reality is that most of us are very poorly disciplined to regularly and continuously take supplements. Given the brilliant response time of the body to Ca and Mg water, (often in a few weeks), even with less than RDA, it seems to me that drinking hard alkaline water is a natural discipline.
Doing what you already do – drinking water – will have beneficial effect. It’s so obviously simple.
Hard Alkaline Water and Ionized Water
The hot health subject today is (generically speaking) alkaline water. However the devices being promoted are not simply hard water producers, and there are a few important points to consider before investing heavily in a machine of your own.
I’ll show you the basic difference between the types of water ionizers - and hopefully you’ll understand what is best for you.
But first, a quick description of an electric ‘alkaline’ water ionizer.
An electric water ionizer uses an electrolysis chamber to electrically charge minerals according to their valency (electrical charge).
Because there are only two states of valency: (positive and negative) this means that all alkaline minerals are drawn to one side of the flow chamber, and all acid mineral are drawn to the other. By keeping the flow up as the water passes through the electrolysis chamber, water is drawn off the chamber in two streams; alkaline water and acid water. You drink the alkaline water and the waste acid water goes down the drain.
I’m keeping this description simple and I acknowledge there’s a lot more to the process, but here we’re simply describing the process in relation to the availability of Ca and Mg in the output water.
Let’s assume that the input water from your tap has the same pH as the water we used for our University Laboratory results. It had 4.1 mg per litre of calcium and 4.7mg of magnesium (It was a special witches’ brew of minerals and contaminants).
If we put this water through an electric ionizer, (depending on how it was set up) all the Ca and Mg would pass into about 60% of the total outlet water. To make this clear, if you pass 1 litre through the unit, you’ll get about 600ml of alkaline water and 400ml of acid water. So the 4.1 mg of calcium and 4.7mg of Magnesium in the input water, is now concentrated in 600ml of output water. This means you now have 6.56 mg available per litre. You’d also have about 6.58 mg of magnesium in each litre.
You’re not getting any more Ca or Mg: it’s just the same amount in less water.
The amount of Ca and Mg you get in your output water is still directly dependent upon the volume of Ca and Mg in your source water, so if your water is soft (low minerals) you’ll get low levels output.
Now I’d like to share some ‘advanced’ theory of body alkalinizing that is important and related to your decision for the type of alkaline water system you choose.
Alkalinity comes in two forms, known as ‘buffered’ and ‘unbuffered’. Buffered is alkalinity in actual mineral form. A mineral is the base material used for creating alkalinity.
Alkalinity is the amount of hydrogen ions in a liquid, so to take a simple example, if you put a lump of magnesium in a glass of water, hydrogen will continue to be generated by the reaction between the magnesium and the water until the magnesium is fully oxidized. The physical form of the magnesium is a ‘buffer’ for alkalinity to draw upon.
‘Unbuffered’ alkalinity is water with an excess of free hydrogen ions, without the physical presence of the magnesium.
If you look at the pH an electric water ionizer can achieve (up to pH 11.5) it looks like it has lots of alkaline minerals in it.
However as we already said, you can only have the Ca and Mg that was in the source water. The ionizer can’t ‘add’ minerals, so what caused the huge pH?
Water with a large amount of dissolved hydrogen. The dissolved hydrogen is a byproduct of the electrolysis process. As well as separating the acid and alkaline minerals it also converts the water at a molecular level so more hydrogen comes out the alkaline outlet.
This is, in one way, wonderful because hydrogen is the element that does the work of magnesium. It’s a by-product of oxidation of magnesium and it’s what acts so effectively as an antioxidant in the body, producing so many of the health changes we have seen or heard about.
Hydrogen is the original primal antioxidant in nature and is naturally attracted (remember? It’s a negatively charge ion in this form!) to free radical oxygen.
So we have a Mg and Ca concentrator – IF the Mg and Ca is there in the first place, and we have a hydrogen generator. The downside is that if you already have hard water and the electric ionizer does what it does best – concentrate the hard water minerals, you are drinking water that, according to the studies in the report, has quite a number of possible serious health effects. This is exacerbated by the fact that much of our world does already have hard water, yet I’ve never heard a water ionizer vendor warn potential customers of the problem of excessively hard water being produced.
The other way many people are now opting for is a ‘natural’ water ionizer. This device uses special ionizing media (elemental magnesium) within the filtering device. The magnesium makes contact with the water and creates the same hydrogen as the electric systems. More advanced medias also slow-release Mg and Ca above the amount received and passed through from the input tap water.
To give a real-life example from University tests of our own natural water ionizer, the UltraStream, calcium in the tap water of 4.1mg per litre came out at 6.4 mg/litre. Magnesium entered the UltraStream at 5.5mg/l and exited at 13mg!
Free hydrogen production was equal to or better than an electric system in a side-by-side same water source test, and the free hydrogen lasted longer in the glass than the free hydrogen from the electric system.
It’s my theory that the electricity excites the hydrogen in the electrolysis process and turns much of it to gaseous form, meaning it will escape the water soon after pouring.
The natural method, very like the process of water seeping through rock, does not excite the water and therefore the hydrogen remains in solution rather than turning to gas.
There is a third method.
A normal water filter is fitted with a post-filter cartridge with Ca and Mg. In my experience, although the post filter cartridge does increase the pH of the water and infuse it with some Ca and Mg, there is little or no free hydrogen produced.
Summarizing, all the studies suggest that you can assist your longevity and immediate health by ensuring a regular easy to access supply of calcium and magnesium. The study is a metastudy, (meaning it’s not just one study).
The conclusions have been derived by comparing similar studies from around the world. In the many years I’ve been researching alkaline water I’ve never sighted anything so conclusive and compelling for alkaline water.
I’m not suggesting that everyone should rush out and buy a water ionizer. The point was well made that if you are drinking moderate hard water daily you will already be experiencing the health advantage it offers.
If you are not, then I would seriously suggest you investigate the products.
I’d like to point out that we have brought in another factor here; hydrogen.
Of itself it’s a big subject and there are many studies (over 1000) of its effect on pubmed.com (or molecularhydrogeninstitute.com)
Molecular hydrogen, as I mentioned, is the primal antioxidant and as such is equal to or more effective in delivery than all of the antioxidant supplements, fruits and berries we are sold as ‘the best and strongest antioxidant’.
Years ago I attended a health exposition as an exhibitor. I was demonstrating our water ionizer every day from ten am to ten pm. By the last day I was very, very tired. A friend visiting the expo came by and asked me if I’d seen the antioxidant measurement system on display around the corner.
I had not, and so I asked him to mind our exhibit, and wandered across. The device was quite sophisticated. It measured the amount of Vitamin E in your epidermis using a laser. It transmitted the results to a laptop the exhibitor sat behind.
To cut a long story short, he applied his device and looked at me suspiciously (he was trying to find people with low antioxidant ability so he could sell his antioxidant pills). “Are you on some form of super antioxidant tablet?” he asked. I replied in the negative.
He frowned and looked at the screen. “Why?” I asked.
“Because you’re off the chart. My computer measures people with good normal antioxidant ability at a maximum of 30 on the dial. You measured 40. What do you do?”
I looked at his face to watch his reaction.
“I drink alkaline ionized water.”
Thank you for taking the time to learn about alkaline water.
For more, go to www.alkaway.com in USA,
www.alkaway.co.uk in UK or EU,
www.alkaway.ca in Canada,
www.alkaway.com.au in Australia or NZ.
If you enjoyed this, please pass it on. I wrote this to help more people access the huge benefits of alkaline water. With your help we can help thousands learn what we now know.
Ian Blair Hamilton is the founder of AlkaWay, and has been a researcher, writer and advocate for alkaline health philosophy for over 21 years.