You may have come across alkaline water system being promoted widely in the market. Many detox and health benefits have been claimed from such a system: hydrates better, gives more energy, and neutralizes the body. Does it really work?

Let’s look at the chemistry of water

Pure water is made up of 2 molecule of hydrogen and 1 molecule of oxygen (H2O). These molecules are loosely bound in a network like structure, which individual molecule is constantly changing partners.

H2O   ↔    H+ +   OH

Water molecules exhibit a slight tendency to ionize into hydrogen ion (H+) and hydroxide ion (OH). But the reverse of this reaction is faster and an average 2 out of every billion H2O molecule are in the ionized form.

Therefore, it is very difficult to produce water in the ionized state for a long time.

Acid and Alkaline Water

All water or aqueous solutions contain both hydrogen ion (H+) and hydroxide ion (OH). Acid or alkalinity of the solution depends on the ratio of the 2 ions:

  • hydrogen ion (H+) more than hydroxide ion (OH) – the solution is acidic
  • hydrogen ion (H+) equal to hydroxide ion (OH) – the solution is neutral
  • hydrogen ion (H+) less than hydroxide ion (OH) – the solution is alkaline

The degree of acidity or alkalinity is express by pH scale of 0-14. pH 7 is neutral and anything less than 7 is acidic while anything more than 7 is alkaline.

When water is acidic or alkaline, it will always contain equal amount of positive charges or negative charges to stabilize it. So, alkaline water has an excess of hydroxide ion (OH) must contain some other kind of positive ion to stabilize the negative charges from the hydroxide ion. This is most commonly achieved by metallic ion of sodium, calcium or magnesium

Therefore, pure water is neutral ( neither alkaline or acidic ). Water other than neutral (pH 7) cannot never be pure.

Physiology of Acid and Alkaline in the Body

When we drink alkaline water, the alkalinity is quickly removed by the acidic digestive juice in our stomach (pH 1-2). When the stomach content is moved to the intestine, they are neutralized by the alkaline pancreatic juice. By the time the digestion progress to the large intestine where water is finally absorbed, it would be alkaline.

The pH balance of the blood is controlled at a very narrow range of pH 7.35 – 7.45.  Therefore, drinking alkaline water has no effect on the pH of the blood.

The acidity and alkalinity of the body fluid is controlled by a balance of various processes by the lungs and the kidney. Therefore, drinking alkaline water will not affect this balance.

The conclusion is alkaline water does not work. Do not be caught in such a scam. Just make sure you drink enough pure water.

I will talk about ionized water foot detox in my next post.

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