You may have heard people mention the phrase "artificially alkaline water" and wondered what they meant by that. Isn't water either alkaline or not alkaline? The confusion originates with the market's current infatuation with a water's pH - the higher the pH, the higher the alkalinity, the better it is for you, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple. In fact, there can be some serious health side effects when artificially alkaline water is consumed as a daily drinking water over a long period of time.
The Gist of It
When measuring alkalinity, an alkaline pH can be the result of natural or unnatural conditions in the water. Depending on the conditions that make the water alkaline, the healthful properties of it come into question.
Naturally alkaline water has a chemical makeup that is vastly different from artificially alkaline water. Artificially alkaline water has undergone a process they call ionization or electrolysis to "trick" the water into thinking it has a certain pH, but possesses none of the minerals that are responsible for the health benefits of naturally alkaline water.
Naturally alkaline vs. artificially alkaline water: The process explained
- In nature, water flows down mountain streams and picks up alkaline minerals from the porous rock through which it runs, affecting its pH and making it naturally alkaline. Nothing more is done to the water to make it "alkaline".
- Companies have created machines that make water alkaline though something called ionization or electrolysis. During electrolysis, water ionizers split apart water molecules with electricity to artificially create alkaline water. Tap water is run over platinum and titanium plates which causes the exchange of ions that make the water more alkaline in its pH.
All water in nature has a pH that correlates to the minerals in the water. When you consume alkaline water, the body is under the impression that it is receiving alkaline minerals like calcium and magnesium. Thus, when the body encounters ionized water, it believes it is receiving more alkaline minerals than what is actually present in the water, causing it to deplete it's own mineral reserves and potentially resulting in a mineral deficiency.
Essentially, ionized or alkalinzed water = a "synthetic" pH = missing minerals= depletion of one's own mineral reserves.
The body and alkaline water: facts
- The body’s ability to maintain its pH balance is critical: Most people’s bodies are, in fact, acidic at the cellular level.1
- The rationale for drinking alkaline water is that it will correct this imbalance: Holes can be poked in this theory. For one, the real cause of excess acidity at the cellular level is a deficiency of actual alkalinizing or alkaline reserve minerals. These minerals are what you are born with and what comes from your diet.
- Despite what seems obvious, drinking artificially alkaline water fails to replace these vital minerals: Consuming it actually depletes them by making the body think that it is alkaline, causing it to release reserve alkaline minerals through the blood and kidneys, and ultimately making the person deficient in the end.
- Alkaline water machines replace the good minerals with small amounts of platinum and titanium found in the plates the water runs over in the ionization process.
- These metals are toxic.
- The carbon filtration systems in place for tap water fail to remove enough of the toxic chemicals in the water.
- When drinking artificially alkaline water, you end up ingesting chlorine, fluorides, aluminum, and even pesticides.
Drink living, natural water - Pass on the artificial
At the end of the day, a water with a high pH does not equate to a healthful alkaline water. More likely than not, that pH was achieved through artificial processes and has very few of the minerals your body actually needs. In an article on alkaline water, Dr. Mercola speaks about the less-than-stellar ethics of multi-level marketing companies selling water alkalizers, emphasizing the value of alkaline water "has much more to do than pH alone." Dr. Mercoola, as well as other experts in the field, recommend drinking a "living" water; one from a spring or natural water souce that has its organic structure.
Although the health benefits associated with drinking naturally alkaline water still require further research, the minerals, hydration, and detoxification effects can be profound. When purchasing alkaline water, check the label and look for either "naturally alkaline" or take a look at the mineral content measured in milligrams.