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What Is Alkaline Water?

Alkaline Drinking Water

Nowadays most people understand that the modern human condition is generally too acidic and an acidic body is the ideal environment for disease because an acid environment is oxidising. The advice is to try and get our bodies back towards a more alkaline (opposite of acidic) condition. Stress, pollution, sedentary lifestyle and eating meat and processed foods are generally all acid forming, whereas, exercise, clean air, and eating vegetables and beans all help towards getting us back into the desired alkaline state. But is there anything else we can do to assist our bodies in its struggle to maintain its pH balance?

Yes! Millions of people around the world use ionized alkaline water as one part of the arsenal required to help the body achieve and maintain its pH equilibrium.


The information below provides a brief explanation of the terms used when talking about alkaline water. Please take a moment to familiarise yourself with them because it will help you significantly when deciding upon your alkaline water ionizer purchase.

The pH Scale

So what is the pH scale? Basically, the pH scale is a scale from 0 - 14 rating the strength of acidity and alkalinity with 0 being the strongest acid and 14 being the strongest alkali. It is important to note that the pH scale is logarithmic which means each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the one before it. For example, pH 4 is ten times more acidic than pH 5 and 100 times (10 x 10) more acidic than pH 6. The same is true for pH values above 7, each of which is ten times more alkaline than the value before it so: pH 10 is ten times more alkaline than pH 9 and 100 times more alkaline than pH 8.

ph-scale.gif

This logarithmic scale is important because people often mistakenly refer to the body's blood pH and how it is maintained within a 'very tight band' (ideally pH 7.3 - pH 7.4). Actually, blood pH can fluctuate a lot when you consider the scale being used: a fluctuation of just 0.3 represents a doubling of H+ ion concentrations or, in other words, twice as acidic. In this regard it is easy to see why the blood's pH range is so 'narrow': 7 - 7.8 (anything either side of this leads to death). Although this may look like a narrow band, think about it this way: a decrease in pH from 7.4 to 7.1 means your blood has become twice as acidic and an increase from 7.4 to 7.7 means your blood has become twice as alkaline. This is pretty much the maximum level of fluctuation that your body can withstand - your body can’t maintain life much beyond those thresholds.

Acid, Alkaline or ORP?

When researching alkaline water you will inevitably come across the term ORP which stands for Oxidation (or) Reduction Potential. Oxidation is the process of decay caused by an atom losing electrons and becoming more positively charged - and in the case of hydrogen this creates acidic water. Alkaline water on the other hand is negatively charged and thus has the ability to 'give' electrons to acidic hydrogen atoms thus neutralising them. So the Oxidising Potential of a liquid is its ability to decay, whereas the Reduction Potential of a liquid is its ability to de-oxidise or, in other words, to slow decay.

An ORP meter measures the electrical charge of a liquid. If the voltage reading is above zero, then the liquid is acidic, oxidising or decaying; and if the voltage reading is a negative number then the liquid is alkaline, reducing, a 'giver' of energy, or in other words, a neutraliser of decay.

Oxidation and Reduction

We see oxidation all around us - rusting iron or fruit going brown is relatively slow oxidation, whereas something burring is rapid oxidation. Oxidisers change the chemical make-up of atoms which can change the state of matter. As an example, harmful chemicals such as chlorine are oxidisers because they remove electrons from other atoms. In the case of living things this can result in death which is why chlorine is used as a water sanitiser because it oxidises bacteria and organisms to the point of death rendering them harmless to humans. However, as we all know, in sufficient quantities chlorine would do the same to us! Reduction on the other hand is an agent's ability to hand-over electrons rather than take them away and this process of giving electrons slows oxidation.

So What Does 'Potential' Mean in the Context of ORP?

The word 'potential' is used because ORP describes the 'potential ability' of a substance to oxidise or reduce. Electrode potentials show the relative ease of oxidising/reducing of a species, in other words, whilst the substance in question may not be in the process of oxidising or reducing right now - the ORP describes the level to which, when it is combined with a reactive agent, the substance will oxidise or reduce. A substance with a high negative ORP is a very good reducer and thus very good at slowing oxidation (decay).

Negative ORP = Positive Health!

As mentioned, a high negative ORP is desirable because it demonstrates that a substance has high Reducing Potential or the ability to 'de-oxidise' or to slow decay. Unfortunately, much of what we eat as part of our Western diet is just the opposite - our diets contain oxidising agents which are devoid of elections and thus 'steel' new electrons from our healthy bodies which, in turn, causes decay. Much of what we eat and drink in the West has a high positive ORP including: alcohol, fizzy drinks and meat - as well as processed foods. For example, freshly squeezed orange juice usually has an ORP of around -100mV to -200mV (a reducer), whereas most processed orange juice as an ORP of around +200mV (an oxidiser!).

What Is The Typical ORP Value Of Drinking Water From A Water Ionizer?

While the actual ORP varies depending on the source water, it is generally anywhere between -200mV and -500mV. Anything below -550mV is considered too strong for human body to take internally, and therefore not recommended for drinking. In other words, drinking ionised alkaline water has a greater beneficial ORP effect than drinking freshly squeezed orange juice all day long.

A Brief Lesson in pH and Ionization

Acidity and alkalinity is measured on the pH scale (pH 0 = highly acidic - pH 14 = highly alkaline) where the ‘p’ in pH stands for ‘potenz’ (German for ‘power’) and the ‘H’ stands for ‘hydrogen’. Thus, pH is a representation of the ‘power of hydrogen’ in a substance and the acidity and alkalinity of a liquid represent the amount and polarity hydrogen present.

Like all atoms, hydrogen has the ability to be positively or negatively charged and can exist as H+ or an H- ion. During ionization, the H- ion is bound with an oxygen atom to become an OH- hydroxide ion.

Water with an abundance of H+ ions is said to be acidic, whereas water with an abundance of OH- ions is alkaline. A neutral pH of 7 is when the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) is exactly equal to the concentration of hydroxide ions (OH-).