by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© March 2012, The Center For Development, Inc.
This article is a warning to avoid drinking artificially alkalinized water. I am sorry to have to write it, but there is a push to get people to buy alkaline water machines, and the propaganda is intense. Also, when one starts to use it, one feels better, so many people just assume they are becoming healthier, which is not the case in my experience of over 30 years. I am not selling any competing products, and am only interested in keeping people well.
One reason for the popularity of these machines is that some people do indeed feel better for a while drinking alkaline water. Quick benefits may include fewer aches and pains, and perhaps a little more energy. However, the problems with the alkaline water machines more than make up for any benefits they confer.
WHAT IS ARTIFICIALLY ALKALINIZED WATER?
This is most often tap water that is put through an electrical machine that often runs the water over platinum and titanium plates. This process causes the exchange of some platinum and titanium ions that makes the water more alkaline in its pH. The machine also has a carbon filter in most cases to remove some impurities. With some units, one can also add a white powder that makes the water even more alkaline.
This is very different from naturally alkaline spring water, for example. Spring water passes over rocks in the earth and picks up various minerals, which affect its pH. Good spring water usually has a slightly alkaline pH of about 8 or even 8.5, but not much more.
THE RATIONALE FOR DRINKING ALKALINE WATER
The pH balance of the body is very important, and most people’s bodies are too acidic at the cellular level. It does not matter if the saliva, urine or other fluids test alkaline. In almost all cases, the body cells, which is the site of metabolism, are too acidic. This predisposes one to many metabolic imbalances and diseases including cancer. The rationale for drinking alkaline water is that it will correct this important physiological imbalance.
Problems with this rationale for alkaline water. The main problems with this theory are:
- The real cause of excess acidity at the cellular level is a deficiency of what are called the alkalinizing or alkaline reserve minerals. These come from what one was born with, and from the diet. If one lives a stressful life, one also depletes these quickly. They include calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and a few others.
Unfortunately, drinking artificially alkalinized water does little or nothing to replace these vital minerals. In fact, it may deplete them for unusual reasons. It may make the body think it is alkaline, so the body does not need to hold on to its alkaline reserve minerals as much, and it eliminates some of them, making the person even more deficient.
- Water from alkaline water machines replaces the vital minerals with a little cadmium, lead, arsenic and other toxic metals found in tap water and not filtered by any carbon filters that I am aware of. Some filtering systems claim to filter out toxic metals, but I have not observed this in practice. Those filters that I have seen that are said to remove a lot of toxic metals tend to damage the water even worse. Reverse osmosis is an example of this type, along with KDF and other types of “advanced” filtration media.
- In addition, the alkaline water machines also replace the good minerals with a little platinum and titanium found in the plates that the water passes over to make it alkaline. These are both supremely toxic metals, especially platinum.
In addition, I have observed slightly higher levels of nickel in those who use alkaline water machines for several years. The nickel is probably leached from the stainless steel in the machine, or perhaps from a nickel-plated machine part. Nickel is a deadly toxic metal. The alkalinity of the water may cause a little to be leached out of the machine parts.
- Carbon filtration also does not remove enough of the toxic chemicals in the water, so one is also getting a dose of chlorine, fluorides, aluminum, copper, residues of medical drugs in many areas, pesticides and more.
- As a result, alkaline water machines do not really balance the body’s pH, although they will change it a little, giving some people the impression they are getting well when, in fact, they are becoming more ill.
The only way to truly balance the body is to replenish the alkaline reserve minerals. To do this, one must eat a lot of cooked vegetables. The cooked vegetables, and perhaps some mineral supplements, when carefully chosen such as kelp, can and do supply the alkaline reserve minerals. Good quality, natural spring water also supplies some alkaline minerals, as does good quality sea salt. Using these on a daily basis, the body can be slowly remineralized. This is the way to do it, not drinking artificially alkalinized water.
Is the water from an alkaline water machine the same as naturally alkaline spring water? Definitely not. First, alkaline spring waters usually have a pH of about 8 or possibly 8.5. The water from the machines is often much higher, up to 12 or 13. This is not healthful.
Secondly, alkaline spring water and some well water is high in calcium and magnesium, which are excellent for one’s health. Water from the machines, by contrast, is artificially made to be alkaline by mixing the water with a small amount of platinum and perhaps titanium, both of which are toxic metals.
Why is the diet important? Much of the acidity of the body is due to a diet that is too high in grains, cereals, beans, and sugars. Refined food diets are the worst, but so are most people’s high carbohydrate natural food diets. All of these foods have an acidic reaction in the body due to their peculiar mineral content. Red meats also have a more acidic reaction due to other factors such as their high iron content and the bacteria needed to digest them properly.
Even eating some fruits today seem to have an acidic reaction. This is due to their content of fruit acids, their higher sugar content, their unbalanced mineral content today thanks to hybridization, and genetic modification. Some fruits are still alkaline forming, but not all by any means. We find that fruit is not a healthful food today.
The diets need to be corrected by eating at least 70% cooked vegetables each and every day. This is the only way to obtain enough alkaline reserve minerals. Also, consuming sea salt only, and natural spring water, and supplements of kelp, for example, also help. Drinking an artificially alkalinized water does not help very much, and makes the person worse for the reasons outlined above.
TYPES OF ALKALINE WATER PROCESSING
I know of three types of alkaline water systems. None are recommended, and all are harmful, but the worst are the first type – the electrical machines.
Type #1. Free-standing electrical home units. The first type of alkaline water machines are most popular. They are free-standing kitchen units. These include theKaagen, Jupiter, I-Water, and others. These devices begin with tap water, which is already a toxic product.
The water passes through a carbon filter which does not remove most toxins and mainly improves the taste. If the filter becomes clogged or just old, it may also become a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and even parasites.
Then the water passes over electrified platinum-covered titanium plates to alkalinize it. Adjusting the electrical flow determines how much of the toxic platinum is added to the water.
Then some machines may add a calcium solution or powder to the water to further enhance its alkalinity.
Problems with these machines, that are heavily and falsely advertised in my opinion, include:
- Yin disease. Drinking any artificially alkalinized water, or even very alkaline well or spring water, tends to make one’s body more yin. This is the worst problem with highly alkaline water. Yin means expanded, ill and centrifugal in its effect, in traditional Chinese and Taoist medical terminology. This is a physics quality of matter. Today, becoming more yin is almost always extremely harmful for the body, because most bodies are already too far in this direction due to ionizing radiation, toxic metals and chemicals in the environment, and mineral deficiencies. It does not matter that you may feel better on this water. Becoming yin is always eventually a disaster. The other problems with this type of alkaline water machine have been mentioned above. Just for review, they are:
- Cleanliness. Tap water is not a very good base water. It is quite variable, and most tap water in America and elsewhere is not of excellent quality. It contains some chlorine compounds, fluorides, medical drug residues, hundreds of toxic chemicals, toxic metals and more.
- Carbon filters cannot remove most toxic metals and many toxic chemicals, no matter what the manufacturers claim. When water passes quickly over carbon, not that much is removed. Also, as the carbon filter becomes dirty, it stops working well and may well make the water even more contaminated. This is why changing carbon filters often is absolutely necessary.
- Platinum is too toxic for any human exposure. While the amount of exposure is small, we have noted that after using the machine for more than about 3 to 6 months, some who use it begin to develop a little platinum toxicity. While this may be okay for most people, some with delicate kidneys or liver problems may be affected. The amount of platinum absorbed from the water depends upon one’s tap water and one’s body chemistry. The more poorly nourished one is, the more platinum one is likely to absorb. Other factors such as one’s age, vitality, etc. also have an effect on platinum absorption. However, any platinum is too much.
- Mineral depletion. Drinking alkaline water seems to deplete some of the alkaline reserve minerals in the body. I am not sure why this happens, but perhaps the body is flooded with an alkaline water, so it excretes some alkaline reserve minerals because the body may believe the minerals are not needed any more.
- White powders added to the water. Some alkaline water machines use a whitish powder that is added to the water to make it more alkaline. One must find out exactly what it is. Most is not that pure. Avoid coral calcium powder, for example, or some other contaminated product that adds more toxic metals.
If you want to use an alkaline water machine, at least do not add the powder, and turn off the alkalinization feature, and just use it as a water filter. Preferably unplug the unit so there is less chance that the platinum plates are electrified and leaching a little platinum into your body. Your water is still passing over platinum, which is perhaps harmful. I have seen terrible problems caused by these machines when used daily for more than 6 months or so, even though the damage is very subtle at first.
I do not like the advertising for these machines with claims that most Japanese hospitals, and most Japanese people use them. I do not believe this is true at all.
Type #2. Water store alkaline water. A few health food stores and water stores are selling even more dangerous alkaline water. They begin with reverse osmosis water. Then they add a calcium solution or powder, often coral calcium, to alkalinize it. Problems with this methodology are:
- Yin. Once again, any alkaline water seems to have a negative yin effect. Reverse osmosis does not hydrate the body well at all and should never be used for daily drinking water by most people.
- The calcium solution or powder, especially if it is made from coral calcium, may contain toxic metals.
- Very toxic, possibly. When toxic metals are added to reverse osmosis water, the ‘hungry water’ seems to take up the metals easily and drive them deep into the body cells and the kidneys.
- All the problems of reverse osmosis water. These are detailed in the article entitled Water For Drinking. They include making one yin, not hydrating the body well at all, mineral depletion, and plastic poisoning.
Type #3. The Alkastream alkaline water units. This type of alkaline water machine is a non-electric, counter-top or under-the-sink unit that adds a magnesium compound to tap water to alkalinize it. It avoids the costly and dangerous platinum plates, but it still makes the body too yin, uses tap water which is of poor quality, and possibly ruins the water and causes toxicity from the magnesium compounds used to make the water alkaline. Avoid this system as well.