121 Americans spent $21 billion on bottled waters in 2012, and more and more consumers are investing in a home water filter. A filter can range from an inexpensive carafe or pitcher to a system designed for the whole house, but the latest machine to make waves is the water ionizer, which passes an electrical current through tap water in order to turn it alkaline (i.e., base) through the chemical reaction called electrolysis. Proponents claim alkaline water helps the body neutralize acid in the blood, provides more energy, slows the aging process, and is, according to the online purveyor Alkaline Water Plus, "packed with natural antioxidants [negatively-charged electrons], which are free to naturally fight free radicals .... Drinking
antioxidant water all day long will help you prevent and even reverse free radical damage." "Change your water, change your life," is the trademarked slogan of Kangen Water, marketed by the U.S. branch of the Japanese company Enagic. "Keeping ourselves Alkaline is the first line of defense in fighting any disease," Cal Water Systems states on another website. "Ionized Water essentially renews us at a cellular level. This is as close as we can ever hope to get to a Fountain of Youth, as incredible as that may sound." That does sound incredible. And expensive! Don't know about you, but it made me really curious about how water ionizers work. But first, a little background on the pH scale, which is used to define degrees of alkalinity and acidity. In 1909, S.P.L. Sørensen, director of chemistry at Carlsberg Laboratory, in Copenhagen (founded in 1875 by beer magnate J.C. Jacobsen), invented the pH scale while researching proteins, amino acids, and enzymes—the basis of protein chemistry today.
Theoretical problems With Alkaline water: The main problem with the concept is that it is impossible to alter the pH of a patient's blood without causing severe health concerns. Mammalian blood contains a vast number of different pH buffers which evolved to automatically raise or lower the blood pH if a deviation occurs. These buffers heep the pH of human blood between 7.35 and 7.45. If the buffers become saturated and the pH of the blood is altered more than +/-0.4 pH, death will result. It is commonly claimed by alkaline diet proponents that cancer cells are killed in an alkaline environment, which is true, but so are almost all other cells in the human body. Proponents will attempt to disregard the above by reminding us that it is possible to alter the pH of urine by eating or drinking particular foods, which is also true, but is completely independent of the blood pH. This is based on the metabolites of certain food chemicals (referred to as "Ash") becoming concentrated in the urine. As a (healthy) bladder is an independent receptacle in the body, the pH of the fluid contained therein also has no effect on the blood pH. A different attempt at disregarding this is the claim that blood pH is balanced not by buffers but by excess acid being dumped from the blood into the cytoplasm of cells, meaning that blood pH won't reveal that your cells are dangerously acidic; needless to say, this is false..
Another clue of the ineffectiveness of an alkaline diet is that whatever food you eat will pass through your stomach. The acidity of the stomach is affected by things such as stress, amount of food eaten, or infections. Eating acidic or alkaline foods has no effect on stomach pH, in much the same way as it has no effect on the pH of blood. More recently, proponents claim that the benefits arise from reducing acid load in the body. It is claimed that when acid load is too high, "alkaline minerals" such as calcium are reclaimed by the body from bones leading to conditions such as osteoporosis. Meta-analysis studies have shown this is not the case. Far from being healthy, alkaline diets could actually be harmful, as they recommend removing certain food groups altogether rather than reducing certain types within the groups. Examples would be removing all fats and oils from the diet which provide Essential Fatty Acids, and dairy products, which are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin D which is difficult to find in foods outside of dairy products. A further theoretical problem comes from the definition of "acid/alkaline food" used by many proponents of the diet, which is based on burning the food in air and testing the pH of the resulting ashes and remains. The results of this uncontrolled oxidation have only the vaguest resemblance to the by-products created by the actual process of human digestion and respiration, which involves breaking down the food into its consistuent molecules and metabolising them separately.
Some people believe that alkaline water helps our bodies metabolize nutrients and expel toxins more efficiently than regular tap water, leading to better health and performance. Anecdotal evidence supports some of those claims. But so far, we don't have solid data supporting alkaline water's use. Until we learn more, save your money: Stick to tap water and supplement with mineralized water if you like. But what is alkaline water? Alkaline water is water that's less acidic than regular tap water. This means it is rich in alkalizing compounds, including calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate. Many people believe that the typical North American diet contributes to chronic low-grade acidosis – a condition that may be associated with poor health outcomes including heart problems, altered hormonal status, and the loss of muscle or bone. Proponents of alkaline water believe that it can neutralize the acid in your bloodstream and help your body metabolize nutrients more effectively, leading to better health and performance. Let's take a closer look at these claims. Most of us know that water is a big deal. In fact, our bodies are largely made of the stuff. No other substance is so important to our physiology or health. No wonder so many of us feel concerned about increased pollutants and contaminants in our tap water. But before we completely dismiss North American tap water, the good news is that it's actually quite safe compared to the water in many other parts of the world. Tap water contains different dissolved elements that influence its pH level. Pure water has a pH level close to 7. Alkaline water has a pH above 7.