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What is ionized water and are there real health benefits from drinking this type of water?

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Since alkaline water contains an excess of OH- ions, it must also contain some other kind of positive ion in addition to H+ in order to equalize the opposite charges. This extra positive ion is almost always a metal ion such as sodium, calcium or magnesium. Similarly, an acidic water must always contain negative ions in addition to OH-; the most common of these is bicarbonate HCO3-. This means that waters whose pH differs from 7 are never "pure" in the chemical sense.

"Ionized water" is one of many products and panaceas that the wonky-water wellness industry flogs onto the large segment of the general public that lacks the scientific background to distinguish scientific fact from pseudoscientific hype when the two are closely intertwined. What most of these treatment devices actually sell are grossly overpriced electrical devices that purport to produce "ionized" and alkaline water by the process of electrolysis.

Here's basically the bottom line when it comes to ionized water...

  • "Ionized water" is nothing more than sales fiction; the term is meaningless to chemists.
  • Most water that is fit for drinking is too unconductive to undergo significant electrolysis.
  • Pure water can never be alkaline or acidic, nor can it be made so by electrolysis.
  • Groundwater containing metal ions such as calcium and magnesium can be rendered slightly alkaline by electrolysis, but after it hits the highly acidic gastric fluid in the stomach, its alkalinity is gone.
  • The idea that one must consume alkaline water to neutralize the effects of acidic foods is ridiculous; we get rid of excess acid by exhaling carbon dioxide.
  • The claims about the health benefits of drinking alkaline water are not supported by credible scientific evidence.
  • There is nothing wrong with drinking slightly acidic waters such as rainwater. "Body pH" is a meaningless concept; different parts of the body (and even of individual cells) can have widely different pH values.
  • If you really want to de-acidify your stomach (at the possible cost of interfering with protein digestion), why spend hundreds of dollars for an electrolysis device when you can take calcium-magnesium pills, Alka-Seltzer or Milk of Magnesia?
  • Electrolysis devices are generally worthless for treating water for health enhancement, removal of common impurities, disinfection, and scale control.

In the end, it's better to keep your money in your pocket before shelling out a lot of money on an ionizer.

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