Water Alkalizers & Ionizers: Is It Healthy To Drink Only Alkaline Water?

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The Health Coach

And so the debate rages on throughout the health and wellness industry! To use or not to use an MLM-pitched alkalizer? That is the question which haunts many MLM prospects these days.

Let’s cut to the chase, as common sense should once again be appealed to in order to arrive at the obvious truth.

The human body has a very delicate and sensitive acid/base balance. It has been set up that way for very good reasons. When we artificially alter this highly significant balance, we unknowingly set things up to go awry … and in some cases terribly awry with regard to our persistent physical ailments … or by creating an environment for new medical conditions to emerge.

How can drinking highly alkaline water produce such unwanted outcomes?  

Let’s use a very simple example. Were a person to drink only acidic fluids for an extended period of time – sour apple juice with phosphoric acid drops added, lime juice, store-bought orange and grapefruit juices, lots of apple cider or balsamic or white wine vinegar on all their salads, pineapple juice, etc. – eventually you can imagine what might happen.

Their teeth would become sensitive because remineralization of the teeth might not take place quickly enough to maintain the structure and composition of the tooth enamel. As the rest of the body received a steady diet of these acidic foods and beverages it would also affect those cells, tissues and organs which are the most exposed to this process of ingestion (throat, esophagus, stomach, etc.), as well as those which are the most delicate and vulnerable due to other considerations which are beyond the scope of this discussion.

What’s the point?

Well, you can imagine that if heavily alkaline water was drank all day, every day, the opposite effect would occur throughout the human body, as it does. For one thing calcium (Ca) metabolism can be profoundly affected … and the human body is knit together with calcium so we always want to be careful not to upset anything having to do with calcium. We know that when calcium starts to precipitate out within the body because of excess Ca supplementation over years, the various types of calcium deposits can lay down virtually anywhere. Usually they follow the existing patterns according to each individual’s unique biochemistry. By way of illustration, if there is a history of high LDLs, then cholesterol and calcium may end up forming gallstones in the liver.

Some people have this predisposition to form gallstones in both the liver and gallbladder, others form kidney stones. Some folks see a lot of plaque laying down around their heart and coronary artery system; others are more susceptible to artherosclerosis in other parts of their circulatory system.

The signature point of one individual might be the vascular system throughout their head making them a candidate for a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or worse, a stroke or brain attack.

We also see many with signature points in different joints whereby bone spurs, osteoarthritis, bursitis, and other bone, cartilage and connective tissue conditions often “set up shop” for the long haul. Not much fun at all, especially when these chronic diseases occur during early adulthood or younger.

The Most Natural State Of Water

Let’s apply the human faculty of reason for a moment. How has Mother Nature always provided water for her human residents?

Pretty much the freshwater throughout the planet naturally occurs within a specific PH range. The PH of pure water is 7.0. Over 7.0 PH and the water is basic (aka alkaline); under 7.0 PH and the water is considered to be acidic.

In the real world, “the normal range for pH in surface water systems is 6.5 to 8.5, and the pH range for groundwater systems is between 6.0 to 8.5” according to freedrinkingwater.com.

There are certainly many locations throughout the world which have predominantly acidic water because of the amount of acid rain that regularly falls. Does this mean that water in the 6.0 range is okay, because it is the new normal?

Likewise, in those areas where the water tends to be more alkaline does that new normal mean that a steady diet of alkaline water is okay as a steady diet? In both cases it is clearly the result of human activity – usually industrial operations – which profoundly influence the quality and PH of water in any given area. Therefore, the new normals that we see around the globe have very little meaning in this debate; except that they prove that the human race is quite adept at both polluting and altering the PH of the water it drinks, cooks with and bathes in.

Back to Mother Earth’s natural production of pure water with a PH of 7.0, before it has been mineralized by brooks and creeks, rivers and streams, ponds and lakes, springs and aquifers. It certainly seems that this would be the optimal PH for most of the human population, yes?

The most common reason that is advanced by the many MLMs that sell alkalizers/ionizers is the rampant chronic acidosis which is found throughout the wealthy, industrialized nations of the world, particularly the USA. Where this is certainly true, such an epidemic condition, as well as diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, etc. took many years to develop. Therefore, throwing lots of alkaline water down the gullet isn’t necessarily the right thing to do. Especially when clinical observations are now being made after years of prolonged use of these devices pointing to the distinct possibility of the following correlations.

Consistent and unnatural alkalinization of the body is contraindicated whenever alkalosis is present. Drinking excessive amounts of alkaline water might also contribute to the aforementioned patterns of cholesterol, calcium and other mineral involvement in the creation of malformations throughout the body.

According to One of our Health Experts:
“Depending on which organ or tissue is involved, one can expect to see anything. If there are taxing and serious co-existing conditions, as well as genetic predispositions toward abnormal growths, then one might develop cysts or tumors. In extreme cases, non-malignant cancers or full-blown carcinomas might result. Especially when the detoxification pathways of the body have been profoundly compromised and the bioterrain undermined, the entire internal environment simply becomes more conducive for LOTS of unintended consequences, toxic side effects and collateral damage to occur.”

In other words, just as disease loves to find a home in an essentially acidic environment, an overly basic (aka alkaline) internal environment causes it own set of problems. Only because we rarely see the later predicament in today’s polluted environment, and most forms of toxicities (all processed food is acidifying) do help create and support an acidic environment, our collective experience with over-alkalinization through drinking alkaline water has been severely limited. However, out of balance is out of balance and quite likely to rear it’s ugly head when we least expect it to.

Clearly, at the end of the day, each individual needs to perform a very accurate assessment of their physical state so that a competent healthcare professional can make informed recommendations. One size rarely fits everyone and when we’re talking acid/base chemistry it’s that much more important to understand the true PH status.

Incidentally, we have received much anecdotal evidence that those with diabetes can respond quite well, and quickly, to a daily dose of alkaline water. Given that diabetes can necessitate the loss of a limb(s), cause blindness, and even death, there is very good reason to carefully consider water alkalization therapy as a part of a more comprehensive diet regimen and lifestyle program.

Conclusion:
(1) Drinking only alkaline water every day produced from an alkalizer is not recommended. Much of the anecdotal evidence, which we have heard over years of watching those who use these water alkalizing/ionizing devices with regularity, fits into the aforementioned patterns of cholesterol, calcium and other minerals contributing to malformations throughout the body.
However, imbibing this ionized water as a adjunct medicinal therapy may be useful.

(2) Whenever you treat, or process, or filter water you alter it in both positive and negative ways. It’s very difficult to determine if the device or equipment is working properly. When it malfunctions and produces a product that is tainted or flawed or toxic, how will you know?!

(3) Different parts found within alkalizer/ionizers need to be cleaned regularly, if the device is to work properly. Particularly in view of the many hard water supplies throughout the USA, this type of maintenance becomes essential and requires time and commitment which many do not seem to have these days. Therefore, many buy these devices with good intentions, but lack the follow-through necessary to keep these devices in good working order.

Need we say more?

May you enjoy great health!
The Health Coach

Science Class:
For those who would like a little more science concerning this subject matter, we offer the following explanation from Stephen Lower who is a retired faculty member of the Dept. of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby/Vancouver, Canada. As follows:

Acid-base chemistry in physiology:

Acid-base chemistry plays a crucial role in physiology, both at the level of the individual cell and of the total organism. The reasons for this are twofold:

Many of the major chemical components of an organism can themselves act as acids and/or bases. Thus proteins contain both acidic and basic groups, so that their shapes and their functional activities are highly dependent on pH.
Virtually all important metabolic processes involve the uptake or release of hydrogen ions. The very act of being alive tends to change the surrounding intracellular pH (usually reducing it); this will eventually kill the organism in the absence of buffering agents.
About two-thirds of the weight of an adult human consists of water. About two-thirds of this water is located within cells, while the remaining third consists of extracellular water, mostly interstitial fluid that bathes the cells, and the blood plasma. The latter, amounting to about five percent of body weight (about 5 L in the adult), serves as a supporting fluid for the blood cells and acts as a means of transporting chemicals between cells and the external environment. It is basically a 0.15M solution of salt (NaCl) containing smaller amounts of other electrolytes, the most important of which are bicarbonate (HCO3–) and protein anions.

Respiration, the most important physiological activity of a cell, is an acid-producing process. Carbohydrate substances are broken down into carbon dioxide, and thus carbonic acid:

C(H2O)n + O2 → H2CO3 → CO2 + H2O

Interestingly, the ingestion of some “acidic” foods [such as lemons] can make the body more alkaline. This comes about because the weak organic acids in such foods are partly in the form of sodium or potassium salts M+A–. In order to maintain charge balance, some of the CO2 produced by normal metabolism of these food acids must be converted into bicarbonate (that is, M+ HCO3–) which is a weak base.

Maintenance of acid-base balance:

It is remarkable that the pH of most cellular fluids can be kept within such a narrow range, given the large number of processes that tend to upset it. This is due to the exquisite balance between a large number of interlinked processes operating at many different levels.

Acid-base balance in the body is maintained by two general mechanisms: selective excretion of acids or bases, and by the buffering action of weak acid-base systems in body fluids.
Over a 24-hour period, the adult human eliminates the equivalent of about 20-40 moles of H+ as carbonic acid H2CO3 which breaks down into CO2 (exiting via the lungs) and H2O (through the kidneys.) In addition, the kidneys excrete perhaps 5% of this amount of acid, mostly in the form of H2PO4– and NH4+. Owing to their electric charges, these two species are closely linked to salt balance with ions such as Na+ or K+, and Cl–.
The major buffering system in the body is the carbonate system, which exists mainly in the form of HCO3– at normal physiological pH. Secondary buffering action comes from phosphate, from proteins and other weak organic acids, and (within blood cells), the hemoglobin.

Disturbances of acid-base balance:

Deviations of the blood plasma pH from its normal value of 7.4 by more than about ±0.1 can be very serious. These conditions are known medically as acidosis and alkalosis. They can be caused by metabolic disturbances such as diabetes and by kidney failure (in which excretion of H2PO4–, for example, is inhibited.)

Numerous other processes lead to temporary unbalances. Thus hyperventilation, which can result from emotional upset, leads to above-normal loss of CO2, and thus to alkalosis. Similarly, hypoventilation can act as a compensatory mechanism for acidosis. On the other hand, retention of CO2 caused by bronchopneumonia, for example, can give rise to acidosis. Acidosis can also result from diarrhea (loss of alkaline fluid from the intestine,) while loss of gastric contents by vomiting promotes alkalosis.
Quoted from “Ionized” and alkaline water found at the following website page: http://www.chem1.com/CQ/ionbunk.html.

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© 2012 The Health Coach

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