119 It would be hard to improve the healthfulness or cleaning power of water without adding any chemicals or supplements to it. But companies are claiming to do just that by "ionizing" water. Enagic USA's Kangen Water Companies are selling machines that put drinking water through an "ionization" process. According to the companies, the process, also called "electrolysis," is accomplished using negatively and positively charged electrodes. In the process, water atoms give electrons to the electrodes or receive them, according to a graphic on Chanson Water USA Inc.'s website. The result is a chemical reaction that results in water becoming more acid or alkaline. Tap water typically has a pH of around 7, or neutral; alkaline water has a pH of more than 7; acidic water, less than 7. Companies say alkaline water has a variety of benefits, ranging from giving you energy to counteracting unhealthy effects of acidic foods you eat.
Here's Some things I learned about Alkaline Water
Some scientists, however, say there aren't any good studies supporting the ionized-water companies' marketing claims. Alkaline Water Machines, long sold internationally, have been generating increased interest in the U.S. during the past couple of years, says Pauli Undesser, director of regulatory and technical affairs at the Water Quality Association, a nonprofit trade group for the water-treatment industry. Earth Trade Water Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., posts testimonials from professional athletes who say its ionized alkaline water boosts their performances by providing better hydration and aiding "energy" and "focus." A Laguna Hills, Calif., unit of Chanson Taiwan LLC, says on its website that its ionized water has smaller clusters of water molecules than ordinary water and these "microclusters" are better able to "penetrate into more places in the body." In a marketing brochure, Enagic USA Inc., a Los Angeles unit of Japan's Enagic Co., says its "Healthy Kangen Water"—which has a pH of 8.5 to 9.5—"helps your body balance the acidic effects" of eating foods such as meat and eggs. Enagic's Leveluk SD501 model, which sells for $3,980, uses seven electrodes. Enagic also says Kangen water tastes better with "superior mouth-feel." In an informal blind taste test at a local spa offering Kangen water, I found the Kangen water tasted soft and velvety, but with a mineral aftertaste, compared with ordinary tap water. The machines, which typically range from $1,000 to $6,000, are generally attached to a faucet, but some models go under the sink. The alkaline water, which the companies say is ideal for drinking and cooking, comes out of one of the machines' spigots, while acid water, which can be used for cleaning, comes out of another. The degree of alkalinity is often adjustable. The machines have a built-in filter, which filters impurities just like any other water filter.
123 Through electrolysis large tap mineral clusters are reduced from their original size. The smaller cluster size gives the water excellent hydrating properties, high solubility and good permeability." Just How Stressed Out Is Your Drinking Water? Small clusters? Is this stuff for real? Well, yes and no, I discovered, after reaching out to Kenneth Jordan, distinguished professor of computational
chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. Well known for his work on water clusters—groups of water molecules linked together—he collaborated on a number of studies on water structure that Science magazine listed as among the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2004. There are dozens of companies that claim to convert water into clustered water or to otherwise rearrange water and sell products based on this. Essentially, all of these claims are bogus," he wrote in an email. "Take clustered water as an example
. One can make this in a laboratory at very low temperatures and very low pressures (i.e., in a vacuum). This keeps the clusters from touching one another. If they touch, they coalesce into bulk water, which is more stable. Alternative-health guru Andrew Weil used that word as well in response to a question about Kangen Water in 2010. "It is the latest variation of so-called alkaline water, which promoters claim is essential for elimination of the acidity in our bodies—attributed to all the evils of the modern world .... The human body needs absolutely no help in adjusting its pH." He added, Unless you have serious respiratory or kidney problems, body pH will remain in balance no matter what you eat or drink .... Bottom line: The health claims for water ionizers and for alkaline water are bogus. It's tempting to close with just one word—"ditto." But in fairness, alkaline water, like any clean water, is a far better choice for hydrating than soda or an additive-filled sports drink. If you choose to see an expensive machine as a gateway to a healthier lifestyle or to give you an edge when competing in sports, then jump right in. It's part and parcel of an alkaline diet, after all, a mostly-vegetarian regimen that I haven't really addressed here. (Why not? Scroll back up and take another look at the question.) But if you think alkaline water will allow you to avoid illnesses that fall into the "Sometimes Stuff Happens" category or live forever, then you are bound to be disappointed.