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.
112 In the 1880's, Louis Pasteur published his work on cellular aerobic respiration and glycolysis. In 1931, Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for his work on the metabolism of tumors and the respiration of cells, which was later summarized in his 1956 paper, On the Origin of Cancer Cells. His work on cancer expanded upon Pasteur's findings and described respiratory insufficiency and a cellular metabolism of glucose fermentation as the primary trigger for cancer progression.
Warburg's conclusions on cancer were much discussed in scientific circles, as they are academically elegant, but were not accepted by most members of the scientific community engaged in cancer research. Most cancer researchers in the late 1950's believed that the anaerobic metabolism of cancer cells and their accompanying output of lactic acid was a side effect or an adjunct effect of cancer, not a cause. Cancer research since the 1960's has focused primarily on genetic aberrations as causative for cancer, and has ignored the body of research on cancer pH and its implications for therapeutic approaches. Warburg's work was a catalyst for yet another research effort on the nature of cancer cells, beginning in the 1930's. A. Keith Brewer, PhD (physicist) performed experiments on the relationship between energized, oxygenated cell membrane and elemental uptake, vs. cellular membranes in an unenergized state such as cancer cells exhibit. He wrote a number of papers discussing the cellular mechanisms of cancer cells and the changes in metabolism induced or indicated by the lack of or presence of oxygen in combination with other elements, particularly potassium and calcium. He noted that cancer cells share one characteristic no matter what type of cancer: they have lost their pH control mechanism.