Water Ionizers: Process Explained
Water ionizers claim to produce “pure alkaline water”, but it is extremely unlikely this “pure alkaline water” would have any effect on health. Because the pH of blood is tightly regulated at about 7.4, alkaline water would not have any effect on blood pH, nor would it be desirable to alter blood pH.
A water ionizer is a device where you pass in an electric current through water and when you do that, water will break apart. Instead of being H2O, it will break into an ion of Hydrogen and an ion of Hydroxyl, which is OH. The Hydrogen portion will make water quite acidic and the Hydroxyl portion will make water on that side basic. So, it is just a way of breaking water apart and ending up with two water sources or two water samples, one with a low pH and one with a high pH.
“Ionized water” is an essentially meaningless term. Water can contain dissolved ions (electrically-charged atoms or molecules) and almost all water found in nature acquires ions such as bicarbonate and calcium as it comes into contact with rocks and sediments. Pure water consists almost entirely of H2O molecules, which are loosely bound in a network-like structure in which individual molecules are constantly changing partners.
These water molecules do exhibit a very slight tendency to dissociate (ionize) into Hydrogen and Hydroxide ions. Because the reverse of this reaction is much more rapid, the extent of this reaction is severely limited and only about 2 out of every billion water molecules is dissociated. No electrical device or chemical additive is capable of increasing these ion concentrations in pure water above these levels.
Ionization Advantages and Disadvantages
In my opinion, “ionized water” is nothing more than sales fiction. The claims about the health benefits of drinking alkaline water are not supported by credible scientific evidence. Pure water can never be alkaline or acidic, nor can it be made so by electrolysis. Alas, there are many websites and companies with emphasize on the importance of drinking ionized and the health benefits it provides for those who want to achieve better health. Some of these advantages include:
- ionized water is up to 6 times more hydrating than conventional water
- ionized water improves cellular hydration
- ionized water acts a a powerful antioxidant
- ionized water restores the body’s pH balance
- ionized water improves the taste and quality of food
The disadvantages of alkaline water include:
- the cost
- there are no official studies to verify the validity of the claims deeming it pure and safe to drink
- it is an overpriced version of the water available on tap in nearly every American home
Purified water is a must not only for human consumption but for a variety of other purposes, including meeting the requirements of medical, pharmacological, chemical and industrial applications. Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids and gases from contaminated water, with the sole goal of producing water that fits a specific purpose.
In general, the methods used to purify water include:
- physical processes (filtration, sedimentation, distillation)
- biological processes (slow sand filters, biologically active carbon)
- chemical processes (flocculation, chlorination)
- electromagnetic radiation processes (ultraviolet light)
Sometimes, the general public hardly distinguishes scientific fact from pseudoscientific hype when the two are closely intertwined and when the public lacks the scientific background to do so. Many of the clinical uses of ionized water are done in Japan and Korea, where water ionizers are certified by the Korean and Japanese Ministries of Health as approved medical devices. They have been using them for over 40 years but they do not follow the same guidelines as the United States for testing.
To conclude, I hope that these two blogs have shed a little more light on water ionizers and deionzers, the processes they involve and the pros and cons of owning one of these water treatment devices. Contact us at 760.734.5787 and talk with one of our water experts today!