125 How does an ionizer work? A water ionizer is a small kitchen appliance that separates tap water into two separate streams - one alkaline and one acidic - through a process called electrolysis. Ionizers can either be installed on the counter next to the kitchen sink or under the counter with only a special faucet visible above the counter. Ionization breaks the bond between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms of a water molecule [H2O] and produces alkaline water full of hydroxyl ions [OH-] and and acid water full of hydrogen ions [H+]. What are pH and ORP? The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is. It ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, a pH less than 7 is acidic, and a pH greater than 7 is
(or basic). ORP, or oxidation reduction potential, measures a substance's ability to oxidize or reduce molecules around it, or in other words, it's potential to steal or donate electrons. pH and ORP are key concepts to understand ionization and the important health benefits of alkaline ionized water. Water, the chemistry of life. Water is essential for life. No living being on planet Earth can survive without it. In fact, about 70 to 90 percent of all organic matter is composed of water. Water not only provides the medium to make life sustaining chemical reactions possible, but water itself is often an important reactant or product of these reactions. In short, the chemistry of life is water chemistry. This section provides some basic concepts that help to understand the chemistry of water and the science behind water ionization at the molecular level.
119 It would be hard to improve the healthfulness or cleaning power of water without adding any chemicals or supplements to it. But companies are claiming to do just that by "ionizing" water. Enagic USA's Kangen Water Companies are selling machines that put drinking water through an "ionization" process. According to the companies, the process, also called "electrolysis," is accomplished using negatively and positively charged electrodes. In the process, water atoms give electrons to the electrodes or receive them, according to a graphic on Chanson Water USA Inc.'s website. The result is a chemical reaction that results in water becoming more acid or alkaline. Tap water typically has a pH of around 7, or neutral; alkaline water has a pH of more than 7; acidic water, less than 7. Companies say alkaline water has a variety of benefits, ranging from giving you energy to counteracting unhealthy effects of acidic foods you eat.
Some scientists, however, say there aren't any good studies supporting the ionized-water companies' marketing claims. Alkaline Water Machines, long sold internationally, have been generating increased interest in the U.S. during the past couple of years, says Pauli Undesser, director of regulatory and technical affairs at the Water Quality Association, a nonprofit trade group for the water-treatment industry. Earth Trade Water Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., posts testimonials from professional athletes who say its ionized alkaline water boosts their performances by providing better hydration and aiding "energy" and "focus." A Laguna Hills, Calif., unit of Chanson Taiwan LLC, says on its website that its ionized water has smaller clusters of water molecules than ordinary water and these "microclusters" are better able to "penetrate into more places in the body." In a marketing brochure, Enagic USA Inc., a Los Angeles unit of Japan's Enagic Co., says its "Healthy Kangen Water"—which has a pH of 8.5 to 9.5—"helps your body balance the acidic effects" of eating foods such as meat and eggs. Enagic's Leveluk SD501 model, which sells for $3,980, uses seven electrodes. Enagic also says Kangen water tastes better with "superior mouth-feel." In an informal blind taste test at a local spa offering Kangen water, I found the Kangen water tasted soft and velvety, but with a mineral aftertaste, compared with ordinary tap water. The machines, which typically range from $1,000 to $6,000, are generally attached to a faucet, but some models go under the sink. The alkaline water, which the companies say is ideal for drinking and cooking, comes out of one of the machines' spigots, while acid water, which can be used for cleaning, comes out of another. The degree of alkalinity is often adjustable. The machines have a built-in filter, which filters impurities just like any other water filter.