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Alkaline Ionized Water: Uses and Potential Health Benefits

An image of someone using PH testing strips in a glass of waterWater is a crucial part of your nutrition, and plays many vital roles in your body such as lubricating joints, moistening the eyes, nose, and mouth, and regulating body temperature. It makes sense that water is so important, considering over 50% of your body is water. However, while you may think that all water is equal, it is a bit more complex than that. One form of water is alkaline ionized water which has many claimed health benefits. This article will explore ionized water, the different types, and their benefits.

What Is Ionized Water?

Ionized water, also known as electrolyte-reduced water, is water that contains mineral ions. In simple terms this means that a mineral has either chemically gained or lost an electron, making it an ion. Naturally, water is found in an ionized form. However, during the distillation process, the water becomes deionized, losing its minerals.

Types of Ionized Water

There are two different types of ionized water and they each have different effects on the body.

Oxidation

Acidic ionized water is an example of oxidation and is also known as electrolyzed oxidative water (EOW). This occurs when an acidic substance steals an electron from another substance.

This oxidation can damage or destroy a substance, including your body. Whilst it's harmful to your body, it can be beneficial as a cleaning agent and can replace conventional toxic cleaners.

Reduction

Ionized alkaline water is an example of reduction. When it's ingested, it can lend an electron to free radicals, stabilizing them and preventing them from damaging your tissue. If the number of free radicals is reduced within the body, it can reduce the potential damage. This can help to prevent aging as well complications arising during illness.

How Is Ionized Water Made?

Naturally Ionized Water

Water naturally ionizes when it passes over rocks. As it passes over the rocks, it picks up the minerals from the rocks increasing its pH. An example of this type of water is spring water.

Commercially Ionized Water

If you buy alkaline water, it means that the water has been made into alkaline water through the use of electrolysis. Tap water has a mixture of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and bicarbonate mineral ions. The calcium, magnesium, and potassium ions have a positive charge, while bicarbonate has a negative charge. The formation of bicarbonate occurs when carbon dioxide from the air is absorbed into the water, resulting in the formation of bicarbonate.

Electrolysis uses an electrical charge to separate the positive ions in the water from the negative ions. A magnet attracts the ions of an opposite charge and will only allow these ions to pass through a membrane. This process makes both acidic and alkaline water. In one chamber, there will be alkaline water, and in the other chamber, there will be acidic water.

The Different Types of Ionized Water

Every substance - specifically the foods and fluids you consume - has a pH level. A pH level refers to the amount of acid and base in a substance.

Anything below the pH of seven is acidic, and anything above seven is basic. Ionized water can have different pH balances, and with this difference, the use of the water can be different.

Strong Alkaline Water - pH 11

An image of someone washing yellow and red tomatoes in a bowlThis water is not for drinking but is useful for hygiene purposes. Common uses of this water are:

  • Food preparation - removes the rawness of vegetables
  • Cleaning dishes, cutting boards, and vents
  • Removing stains such as coffee, oil, and soy sauce stains

A major benefit of this water is that it can reduce the use of harsh cleaning products that can be toxic to your body. It also helps save money on these cleaning products.

Alkaline Drinking Water - pH 8.5-9.5

This water is at a pH that is safe to drink but has many other purposes such as food preparation and cooking. The pH of this water can draw out the flavor of the food, reducing the need to use spices and salt. This can help to enhance your health as well as help save money on cooking spices.

This water is also safe to water plants, and the pH of this water can help to encourage germination, seed development, and growth in some alkaline-loving plants.

Clean Water - pH 7

This water is also safe for drinking and can be used for drinking as well as taking medication and preparing food for babies. This is the ordinary pH of water.

Beauty Water - pH 4-6

This water is not for drinking as it is more acidic and has astringent effects. This water has a range of uses including:

  • Face care - this water can act as a toner and help to firm your skin. When using it, pat on the skin and leave to dry.
  • Hair care - can be used as a conditioner and can help to remove knots and tangles.
  • Pet care - can be sprayed onto your pet for soft and shiny fur.
  • Frozen food - spray onto food before freezing to help preserve the flavor.
  • Polishing - for mirrors, reading or sunglasses, and windows.
  • Cleaning - can clean wooden floors and tiles without leaving a residue.

Strong Acidic Water - pH 2.7

This water is not for drinking and is primarily for cleaning purposes. It can be used for:

  • Hygiene - can use to sanitize your hands or personal objects such as your toothbrush
  • Cleaning - cleaning kitchen appliances, cooking utensils, and kitchen counters
  • Reducing germs

The Benefits of Alkaline Ionized Water

Acts as An Antioxidant

Illness, stress, and bodily processes cause your body to create free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause damage to your body. This damage can cause delays in healing and increase the risk of some medical conditions such as cancer.

Ionized water acts as an antioxidant and can stabilize the free radicals within the body. This can help to reduce damage to the body from free radicals and can prevent medical conditions from occurring as a result of the free radical damage. This effect of ionized water reducing the effects of oxidation is known as the Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP).

Antioxidants are also found in foods. Some examples of foods rich in antioxidants are:

  • Fruits such as berries and citrus fruit
  • Vegetables such as spinach, kale, tomatoes, and carrots
  • Legumes such as kidney, pinto, and red beans
  • Spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon
  • Tea such as green and herbal tea

Because water does not need to be broken down by the body, and because the molecules of water are small, it is an easy source of antioxidants that will allow your body to receive a high quantity of antioxidants in a shorter amount of time compared to eating food. Another advantage is that you can drink high quantities of this water and not have to worry about exceeding your energy requirements. Whilst food is an important source of antioxidants, portion control is important when eating them.

Restores The Body's pH Balance

Your blood, like other substances, has a pH, and the pH for your body to function optimally is 7.35 to 7.45. However, pollution, illness, and stress can affect your body's ability to balance your pH level.

It's more common for the body's pH to be more acidic than alkaline, with symptoms of a lower pH including:

    An image of a man holding his knee

  • Tiredness
  • Joint pain
  • Getting frequently sick

Drinking alkaline ionized water can help to neutralize the low pH in your body and restore the body's pH to the optimal level. When the pH level is optimal, it enables your body to deliver nutrients efficiently and remove waste products. This will help to improve energy and nutrient levels and reduce any symptoms.

Reduces The Risk of Chronic Medical Conditions

Research suggests that if the pH of your body is too acidic, it can contribute to chronic medical conditions such as:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Heart conditions
  • Sinusitis
  • Cancer

Alkaline ionized water, if used over time, can help to restore your body's pH balance, preventing it from being too acidic and thus helping to reduce the risk of chronic illness. However, it is important to note that the relationship between chronic medical conditions and the pH level needs more scientific research to support this claim.

Provides Hydration

Molecules of water occur in clusters. The clusters from tap water contain around 15 to 20 molecules per cluster, whereas the clusters of alkaline ionized water contain around four to six molecules per cluster. Whilst you may initially think that larger clusters are better, the smaller clusters allow your body to absorb the water more easily. This results in the water being able to hydrate your body more efficiently. Hydration is important, as water is an important part of many crucial reactions in the body needed for optimal functioning. Water also helps to flush any toxins and waste products from your body.

Dehydration can have many serious effects beyond thirst. Without adequate water, the body cannot flush out toxins or waste products, bodily processes slow down, and nutrients can't be efficiently transported to your cells. Due to these effects, research does suggest that chronic dehydration can increase the risk of medical conditions.

Skin Health

Free radicals not only can cause damage within your body but also to your skin. This can result in your skin aging and cause fine lines and wrinkles. Alkaline ionized water can help to stabilize the free radicals and can prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

It can also help to flush toxins from your skin preventing them from clogging your pores and reducing acne. Dehydration skin can cause your skin to become rough and dull in appearance. But alkaline ionized water can help to keep your skin hydrated, keeping it firm and smooth.

Enhances Digestive Health

Gut health is an important aspect of overall health. This organ plays an important role in breaking down and absorbing food.  Your gut is lined with bacteria, good and bad. Good bacteria can help in aiding digestion, reducing inflammation, and enhancing your immune system. For your gut to work optimally, there should be more good than bad bacteria.

Due to stress, illness, and medications, the good bacteria in your gut can be reduced and the bad bacteria can increase. Studies suggest that alkaline ionized water can help to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in your body, helping to maintain an adequate balance between good and bad bacteria.

The magnesium and calcium minerals in alkaline ionized water can also help to aid in digestion and can act as a mild laxative.

Improves Focus

An image of a woman in bed trying to sleepA lower pH not only increases the risk of medical conditions but can also affect concentration and can result in sleep disturbances.

These symptoms generally appear when the pH level has been lower than optimal for a longer period. Restoring the pH level and maintaining it within an optimal range can help to reduce any changes in concentration and sleep problems that were a result of a low pH.

How Much Alkaline Water Should I Drink?

If you would like to start drinking alkaline ionized water, it's best to do so slowly. If you have a home product that allows you to choose the pH of the water, start with a pH of eight or nine. Keep this pH for two weeks. After two weeks, set the pH to nine or nine and a half, and keep it at this level.

To help adjust to the change in the pH, start with three to four glasses per day. Drink the rest of your water from regular tap or bottled water. For children and the elderly, it is better to start off at a lower pH than eight or nine and increase it gradually. Increasing it gradually gives your body time to adjust to the change in the water.

If you do not have a home water ionizer to adjust the pH, you can buy alkaline water. The one difference with this is that you cannot choose the pH of the water and increase the pH gradually. In this case, start with two glasses a day of alkaline water, and drink the rest of your water needs from tap water. Gradually you can increase the quantity you drink to six to eight glasses per day.

When Is It Best To Take Alkaline Water?

Drinking water throughout the day is important to keep your body adequately hydrated. If you struggle to reach your water intake, begin your day with a glass of alkaline ionized water. This helps your body prepare for the day and help gives you a routine to ensure that you stay hydrated.

It is also important to drink during exercise. Alkaline ionized water can help hydrate you more efficiently than tap water and therefore can help to replace the fluids lost during exercise and prevent dehydration.

How Long Does It Take To See The Health Benefits?

In order to see the health benefits of alkaline ionized water, it's important to be consistent with drinking it. You may feel the effects immediately; however, it generally takes up to 28 days of drinking it every day to see health benefits within your body.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Alkaline water at the recommended pH is generally safe.

There are some side effects, but they are not common. Some of the side effects include constipation and diarrhea. These side effects can occur from a few days to a few weeks after you start to drink alkaline water and occur as your body adjusts to the difference in pH.

When you drink alkaline water, stick to the suggested recommended intake. Although rare, if alkaline water is consumed in excess it can cause alkalosis. This is when the pH of your body is too high. Some side effects of alkalosis are:

  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lightheadedness

This side effect is very rare and will only occur when you drink a large amount of alkaline water. This is why, when drinking alkaline water, it is best to stick to water recommendations.

Ionized Water and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS)

An image of a stressed man with his laptopAdrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is a condition that your body can experience as a result of chronic stress. Your body responds to stress through your adrenal glands and the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system. In response to stress, your adrenal glands release stress hormones. These hormones help your body to handle stress, and the NEM system supports your adrenal glands. However, your adrenal glands are designed to respond to short-term, not long-term, stress. In the case of long-term stress, your adrenal glands become depleted and AFS can occur.

AFS can result in many symptoms within the body. These include changes in mental health, weight, sleep, and an increase in inflammation. There are six circuits, composed of related organs and systems, that make up the NEM system. The Inflammation circuit is made up of the immune system, digestive tract, and gut microbiome. These help to regulate inflammation within your body.

If there is an imbalance in this circuit, inflammation can increase. As a result of inflammation, inflammatory substances are released into the body, and this can result in a drop in pH.

The drop in pH can become chronic and can lead to additional symptoms and increase the risk of additional medical conditions developing. Alkaline ionized water can help to restore the balance of pH and can help to alleviate any symptoms from the lower pH level. It can also help to enhance the good bacteria in the gut. Poor gut health can contribute to inflammation, but as this water enhances gut health, it can help prevent inflammation from occurring.

Cautions of Ionized Water With AFS

In AFS the body becomes very sensitive, and this includes foods and fluids, especially types of foods and fluids that your body is not familiar with. Whilst ionized water can help to restore normal pH and can alleviate symptoms of a low pH, your body may not be familiar with this type of water and may react negatively. This could set you back in recuperating from AFS.

Another important caution is the safety of the water. Some alkaline water products may not be tested for safety and quality. This will increase the chances of the water containing harmful substances that can do more harm than good.

If you are interested in using alkaline ionized water and you are experiencing AFS, chat with your healthcare provider before you make any changes to your nutrition and hydration plan. Your healthcare provider can help provide guidance and a plan to support your body during healing.

Takeaway Message

Water is a crucial part of your nutrition and alkaline ionized water promises all the benefits of water, plus more. Whilst more evidence is needed to support these benefits, anecdotally many people find them helpful. Not only does this water help to restore your pH level, but it can also potentially help to reduce symptoms of a low pH, act as an antioxidant, and reduce the risk of chronic illness.

If you are interested in the use of alkaline ionized water and would like guidance to help enhance your health, you can chat with our team at +1 (626) 571-1234 for a free initial call or click here.

© Copyright 2023 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Mixing in a half a teaspoon of baking soda in a gallon of purified water is an easy way to increase the pH of your water, making it more alkaline and providing some of the benefits. However, buying alkaline ionized water or using a home water ionizer will guarantee a specific pH level and prevent any contaminations.

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