Health Prevention, Nourish, Nutrition Advice

Before you grab that next bottle of alkaline water ….

August 15, 2011
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Yesterday, a well-meaning friend was extolling the virtues of Esstentia, which according to their website  “is the best hydrating water on the market. It has a pH level of 9.5 which is an optimal level for water alkalinity. A higher alkaline water is more easily absorbed into the body, providing superior hydration at the cellular level.”

Wow!  Sign me up!

Well, not so fast … As I listened to all of the miraculous health benefits (prevents cancer, anti-aging, detoxifying)  I remembered a lecture at U.C. Berkeley’s nutrition dept. on the human body’s pH levels, which included my professor ranting about snake oil ‘pH balancing’ products available on the health food store shelves. What I’ve always remembered from this lecture -is that when stomach contents enter the intestine, they are neutralized and made alkaline by the pancreatic secretions — so all the water you drink eventually becomes alkaline.

To be fair to Essentia, I did drink a bottle and it did taste great. And if you were to ‘google’ alkaline water it’s easy to see why so many people are happily chugging from their ‘pH-balancing’ water bottles in hopes of better health.  Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins and others have been inked to the magical powers … however, notice the source of the information–websites selling alkaline water or home alkaline machines.

The fact that doctor Joseph Mercola isn’t selling a home system for making alkaline water – should raise some eyebrows. This man has a product for EVERYTHING health related. Here’s what he says (if you read the entire article you’ll see there are also potential health dangers)

In truth, there are very, very few legitimate scientific studies about the effects of alkaline water on human health.

The reality is, most of the circulating information is distributed by clever marketers, with very little scientific validity to back up their claims.

Complicating matters is the fact that most water ionizers and alkalizers are being marketed by multi-level marketing (MLM) companies with less than stellar ethics. They sell you a very expensive machine, for which you get a good discount if you sign up as a rep, and once you’re part of the MLM, you can’t very well change your mind about its benefits (especially if you’re going to sell the units) – even if you realize that the alkaline water is no longer “working” for you.

I have been personally approached many times and encouraged to sell these systems and there would have been large revenue streams had I chosen to do so, but I would never promote anything that I would never use personally, and I can assure you that I would never use alkaline water as a regular source of water.

Please understand I have no ax to grind here, and I am not selling any competing products. The sole purpose of this report is as a public health message to warn people that alkaline water is not all it is hyped up to be.

I have no doubts that many people do notice improvements in their health when they initially start drinking alkaline water, but I believe there are other reasons for this, and I am convinced that this is not a healthful strategy in the long run, so it is my strong recommendation to avoid alkaline water ionizers.

Some people experience an initial “high” when they start drinking alkaline water. This can easily be attributed to detoxification, and the fact that they are likely just becoming better hydrated.

Detoxification is about the only benefit of this type of water, and this benefit is limited to very SHORT TERM USE (no more than a week or two).

And then there’s the big guns.  The Mayo Clinic ….

Alkaline water has a higher pH level than does tap water. Some proponents say that alkaline water can neutralize acid in your bloodstream, boost your energy level and metabolism, and help your body absorb nutrients more effectively. Others say that alkaline water can help you resist disease and slow the aging process. However, researchers haven’t verified these claims. Some research does suggest that alkaline water may slow bone loss, but further study is needed to determine if the positive effects can be maintained over the long term or influence bone mineral density overall.

So ladies, as with every magic bullet – it’s best to make sure someone isn’t making a profit in the name of your health. Do you disagree? We’d love to hear from you.

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