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Exploring Alkaline Water: Benefits and Myths Debunked

by Luke Timmons June 17, 2024 0 Comments

Exploring Alkaline Water: Benefits and Myths Debunked

Today, it's nearly impossible to walk into a gas station or grocery store without encountering multiple selections of alkaline water, each touting various health benefits. This surge in popularity has brought alkaline water and its counterparts—ionized, hydrogenated, or antioxidant water—into the spotlight, promising everything from enhanced hydration to anti-aging effect

Let’s delve into the science behind these types of water, demystifying the terms and evaluating the claims to help you understand what's beneficial and what might be bottled hype.

Alkaline water, which contains minerals or buffers that can neutralize acids, raises its pH above standard drinking water. This type of water is often pursued for its potential health benefits, such as helping to neutralize acidity in the bloodstream. On the other hand, ionized water involves electrolysis, which increases the pH and introduces negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), adding antioxidant properties to the water. However, ionized water is not the only way to achieve antioxidant benefits in water. Some other methods and treatments can also enhance water with antioxidant properties, providing similar benefits without electrolysis. 

The pH of Your Water Matters

pH is a measure that indicates the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale from 0 to 14. The scale is logarithmic, meaning each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the next higher value, and each whole pH value above 7 is ten times more alkaline. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, typical of pure water. Values below 7 indicate acidity, while values above 7 indicate alkalinity. The pH of a solution is determined by the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) it contains; the more hydrogen ions, the more acidic the solution, and the fewer hydrogen ions, the more alkaline.

Monitoring pH levels is crucial for water and health, as they affect the water's properties and interaction with the body. Refer to the above pH chart to visualize and understand the range of pH levels from highly acidic to highly alkaline substances. This chart helps to illustrate how different substances compare in terms of their pH levels. It provides a clear visual representation of where various types of solutions fit on the scale.

Making Alkaline Water

The first step is to choose the right minerals to raise the water's pH level. Common minerals used include calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals increase the pH and offer additional health benefits, such as improved bone health and hydration.

Using a Mineral Cartridge or Filter: Some alkaline water systems use a cartridge or filter that contains these minerals. As water passes through the filter, it picks up ions from the minerals, which raises its pH.

Remineralization after Filtration: In systems where water is first purified (e.g., by reverse osmosis), essential minerals can be reintroduced to the water in a controlled way to ensure the pH is adjusted upward while also replenishing beneficial minerals that were removed during filtration.

Drinking Water Mineralization

Several key factors influence the amount and type of minerals required to raise water's pH and make it alkaline. Each plays a critical role in determining how much mineral supplementation is necessary to achieve the desired alkalinity. Here's a closer look at each factor:

Starting pH: The water's initial pH level is a critical factor. Naturally, acidic water will require more alkalizing minerals to raise its pH to a desired level than water with a neutral or slightly alkaline pH.

Water Hardness: The hardness of the water, determined by the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions, also affects the amount of additional minerals needed. Soft water, having fewer calcium and magnesium ions, might need more supplemental minerals to achieve alkalinity than hard water.

Buffering Capacity: Water's buffering capacity, which is its ability to resist changes in pH, plays a significant role. Water with a higher buffering capacity (more bicarbonate ions, for example) will need more minerals to shift the pH upward significantly.

Antioxidant Water

Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) measures water's ability to release or accept electrons during chemical reactions, reflecting its oxidative or reductive capabilities. Expressed in millivolts (mV), ORP values can be positive or negative. A positive ORP value signifies oxidizing properties, meaning the substance can accept electrons and act as an oxidizing agent. Conversely, a negative ORP value indicates reducing properties, meaning the substance can donate electrons and act as an antioxidant.

In practical applications, substances like chlorine, a strong oxidizer, significantly affect ORP. When added to water, chlorine increases the ORP by accepting electrons from other molecules. This high ORP environment helps to disinfect the water by breaking down and neutralizing contaminants and pathogens. For instance, in swimming pools and drinking water treatment, maintaining a high ORP (typically between 650 and 750 mV) ensures that the water remains safe and free from harmful microorganisms. The presence of chlorine elevates the ORP, indicating a higher oxidative state, which is effective for sanitization.

Conversely, in contexts where reducing properties and antioxidants are desired, such as in drinking water for health benefits, a lower ORP is preferred, often achieved through ionization or the addition of hydrogen. This negative ORP water acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals and reducing oxidative stress in the body. Thus, understanding and managing ORP is crucial in water treatment and health applications to achieve the desired balance of oxidation and reduction.


Ionized Water

Ionized water has undergone electrolysis, which uses an electric current to separate the water into acidic and alkaline components. This process enhances the water by creating a higher pH level on the alkaline side and a lower pH level on the acidic side, making the water either more alkaline or acidic, depending on the selected output.

One popular brand that produces ionized water is Kangen Water®, known for its health-promoting properties. Kangen machines use electrolysis to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, producing alkaline ionized water that contains hydroxide ions (OH-) and acidic water that contains hydrogen ions (H+). Alkaline water is consumed for its purported health benefits, while acidic water can be used for cleaning and disinfecting.

 A key characteristic of ionized water, particularly alkaline ionized water, is its negative ORP. Water with a negative ORP is considered an antioxidant and is believed to offer several health benefits by neutralizing free radicals, potentially reducing oxidative stress in the body. This antioxidant property is often cited as one of the main health benefits of drinking ionized water.

Hydrogen or Hydrogenated Water

Hydrogenated water, or just “Hydrogen Water,” is related to ionized water but is distinct. It involves dissolving hydrogen gas (H2) into water (not to be confused with H+), increasing its antioxidant properties without affecting the water's pH. Hydrogen water is touted for its efficacy in providing molecular hydrogen, a potent antioxidant. This type of water is particularly praised for its ability to quickly combat oxidative stress without any by-products, making it beneficial for overall health and wellness.

Hydronium balls can be added to a filtration system and work by releasing hydrogen ions gradually into the water. This method can increase the antioxidant properties of the water similarly to ionized water but without altering its pH significantly. Hydronium balls provide a convenient and energy-efficient way to achieve antioxidant water, making it accessible without needing electrical ionization systems. This offers a practical solution for reducing oxidative stress through daily water consumption.

Both ionized and hydrogen water aim to reduce oxidative stress in the body. Still, they do so through different mechanisms: ionized water through electrolysis-induced negative ORP and hydrogen water through the direct infusion of hydrogen gas to gain negative ORP.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drink alkaline water every day?

Yes, you can drink alkaline water daily. For most people, it is safe and can be part of a healthy hydration routine. However, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications that could be affected by changes in water consumption.

What is the difference between naturally alkaline water and artificially alkaline water?

Naturally occurring alkaline water has a high pH due to the presence of natural minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Artificially alkaline water, on the other hand, has had its pH increased through an ionization process or the addition of alkaline minerals. Both types can benefit health, but naturally, alkaline water may provide additional mineral nutrients.

How long does hydrogen water retain its benefits?

Hydrogen water retains its antioxidant properties for a few hours after exposure to the atmosphere. It can maintain its benefits if stored in a sealed container for a few days. To get the most out of hydrogen water, it’s best to consume it shortly after it’s made.

Are there any side effects to drinking hydrogen water?

Drinking hydrogen water is generally considered safe, and there are no known adverse side effects. However, as with any health product, it’s wise to consume it in moderation and consult a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.


How does the taste of alkaline or hydrogen water compare to regular water?

Many people find that alkaline and hydrogen water have a smoother, more refreshing taste than regular tap water. Removing impurities and maintaining a balanced pH can enhance the overall flavor, making drinking more pleasant.

Can alkaline water affect medications?

Alkaline water may affect the absorption and effectiveness of certain medications. If you are taking prescription drugs, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure there are no interactions.

What are hydronium balls, and how do they work?

Hydronium balls are a type of filtration media that gradually releases hydrogen ions into the water. This process increases the water’s antioxidant properties without significantly altering its pH. Hydronium balls provide a convenient and energy-efficient way to produce antioxidant-rich water.

How do I know if my water has a negative ORP?

To measure your water's ORP, you can use an ORP meter, a device that measures the oxidation-reduction potential of liquids. These meters are readily available and can quickly and accurately read your water’s ORP.

Can I make my own hydrogen water at home?

You can make your own hydrogen water at home using a hydrogen water generator, adding hydrogen tablets to regular water, or using a filtration system that utilizes hydronium balls. US Water Systems offers undersink systems that provide these benefits. These methods can help you achieve the desired antioxidant properties without complex equipment.

Does alkaline or hydrogen water help with specific health conditions?

While some studies suggest that alkaline and hydrogen water can provide general health benefits like improved hydration and reduced oxidative stress, it’s important to note that they are not cures for specific health conditions. Always consult with a healthcare provider for advice on managing health issues.

Are there myths about Alkaline Water?

Despite its popularity, some health claims about alkaline water are not backed by scientific evidence. It is essential to distinguish between scientifically supported benefits and exaggerated ones. For instance, while evidence suggests that alkaline water can help neutralize acid in the bloodstream and provide better hydration, claims that it can cure diseases such as cancer or significantly alter body pH levels lack substantial scientific backing.

The human body has a robust system for maintaining its pH balance, primarily through the kidneys and respiratory system. This means drinking alkaline water will not dramatically change your body's pH. The placebo effect can play a role in perceived benefits, where individuals may feel better simply because they believe they are drinking something beneficial.

What Type of Water Should I Drink?

 When determining the best water for your health, most studies and research suggest an alkaline pH between 8 and 9 and a negative ORP between -100 and -200. These parameters are believed to provide optimal benefits for hydration, detoxification, and overall wellness.

Achieving this ideal water quality can be done in various ways, and the choice ultimately depends on your preferences and needs. US Water Systems offers filtration systems that expertly balance alkaline pH and negative ORP without electricity or complicated electrolysis machines. Our systems provide a seamless and efficient solution, combining the best of both worlds for your convenience and health.

Explore our range of reverse osmosis systems to find the perfect system for your lifestyle and enjoy the benefits of high-quality water daily.

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