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Alkaline drinking water - the controversy

Click here for Part I of this article on alkaline drinking water.

The first part of this article notes that alkaline ionized water evokes strong feelings, partly because big money is involved in selling alkaline water systems through multi-level marketing.

There are benefits to making the body more alkaline and benefits in drinking water that is naturally alkaline due to its rich content of minerals. However, it does not necessarily mean that artificially created alkaline water is just as healthy.

Let's first look at the claimed health benefits of alkaline water...

Lots of claims

According to companies - mostly MLM companies - that market alkaline water systems, alkaline ionized water is nothing short of miraculous. It does everything from satisfying thist to curing cancer. The many claimed benefits of alkaline water include:

It may seem at first that alkaline drinking water offers a very long list of benefits but when you look more closely at some of those lists, you will find that many benefits are merely repeated and rephrased using different words. Some of the claimed benefits are pure marketing talk - for example, statements like "your brain will sparkle", which is meaningless.

The claimed benefits of alkaline water may or may not be true. For example, just because the water is alkaline does not mean that drinking it will make your body alkaline. In real life situations, drinking something like lemon juice - which is acidic - will, after digestion, make your body more alkaline because of the minerals present in lemon juice. Things are not all that straight forward.

As for water molecules forming smaller clusters, I have seen similar claims made by manufacturers of other water treatment systems, not just alkaline water.

Actual benefits

No doubt people who drink alkaline water do experience benefits. These benefits may not be due to the fact that the water has been ionized and made "alkaline". Rather, people may feel better because:

One of the benefits of alkaline water that even strong critics like Dr Joseph Mercola accept is that it has cleansing / detoxification effects. However, cleansing should be a short-term measure, not a daily, life-long routine. Because cleansing is also weakening. Read here about the dangers of distilled water. These same dangers with regards cleansing apply also to alkaline drinking water.

Scientific evidence?

Critics of alkaline ionized water will say that the claims have no scientific basis. Proponents counter that there is actually a great deal of scientific research on alkaline drinking water, except that most of the research findings were not published in English. They say the Russians had been researching alkaline water for over 60 years, the Japanese for over 30 years and the Koreans for over 20 years.

Such claims seem to suggest that entire nations are focused on alkaline drinking water, with large groups of scientists constantly studying the subject. I suspect the truer situation is that one or a few Russian scientists had studied alkaline ionized water 60 years ago, likewise one or a few Japanese and Korean scientists.

Personally, I have no qualms about research done by scientists in Russia, Japan, Korea and elsewhere. If anything, scientists in these countries may be less prone to being influenced by commercial vested interests, compared to the many scandals involving especially pharmaceutical research conducted in countries like the US.

That said, it is also worth noting that alkaline drinking water is being mostly sold by multi-level marketing (MLM) companies and that such companies never fail to produce obscure "scientific evidence" that support all kinds of dubious products, like noni juice and mangosteen skin juice. One cannot help but question the legitimacy of such "scientific research".

My personal evaluation

I am also not one who believe that scientific evidence is the be all and end all. As an advocate of natural health and alternative medicine, many of the things I write about are not scientific anyway. Rather, I evaluate according to whether they are natural and have been used traditionally for a long time. I also go with macrobiotic principles of yin and yang. And whether a product or idea makes sense.

When I look at alkaline drinking water, I find that it is firstly, NOT NATURAL. It is not natural to pass electricity through water, to divide it into acid and alkaline streams and then drink one of the streams while reserving the other stream for special purposes like boiling eggs.

I also find it far fetched - to point out that naturally alkaline water rich in minerals is healthy and from there conclude that artificially created alkaline ionized water, with little or zero minerals, is also healthy.

The fact that alkaline drinking water systems are mostly sold by MLM companies, at thousands of dollars for a simple piece of equipment that probably costs tens of dollars to produce, makes alkaline water all the more distasteful to me.

Some people may feel that there is "no harm". To me, all artificial foods are harmful. Including artificial alkaline drinking water.

Alternatives to alkaline drinking water

There are other, better ways to make the body condition more alkaline. You can, for example:

Of course, these measures require effort. What alkaline drinking water offers is a short-cut - just take this "magic water" and your health problems will simply dissolve away.

Will this really happen? Will this water really make your body system more alkaline? There are reasons for doubt. Click here to better understand exactly what is alkaline drinking water?

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