Dr. Mercola on Alkaline Water | Natural Health Newsletter

Date: 10/04/2010    Written by: Jon Barron

Alkaline Water

surprised doctorOn September 11th, Dr. Joseph Mercola published an article on alkaline water titled: If You Fall for This "Water Fad" - You Could Do Some Major Damage. Amazingly, Dr. Mercola's newsletter generated hundreds of emails to the Baseline of Health Foundation virtually overnight -- all from people who were confused by his newsletter and were looking for clarity.

Let me begin by stating unequivocally that I am a fan of Dr. Mercola and frequently recommend his newsletter. Also, I normally don't "take on" the other alternative health newsletters since we're all fighting the same fight...although on occasion from a slightly different vantage point. But this particular article deviates sharply from my point of view on several key points. And since the topic it addresses is so fundamental and so important to health and has already generated hundreds of queries, I need to address it.

Effectively, Dr Mercola's position on alkaline water and water ionizers can be summed up in the following statement from his newsletter, "It is my impression that the scientific justification for these water systems is absent and these consumers have merely fallen under the spell of a skilled marketer who selectively misused pseudoscientific information, and twisted it around to scare them into buying their product."

That's a very strong statement, and it certainly calls into question the motives and ethics of a number of "non marketers" who believe in the value of water ionizers and drinking alkaline water, people who do not collect any money for supporting their use. Is it fair to brand them all as pseudoscientific spell binders? I don't think so, and it's one of the key reasons I felt the need to write this newsletter. In fact, in some ways, Dr. Mercola's concerns are surprising, and his objections actually un-Dr-Mercola-ish. Also, it should be noted that in the end our recommendations concerning alkaline water don't differ that much at first glance. However, when it comes to the effect of pH on health, little differences matter hugely. With that in mind, let's take a look at Dr. Mercola's concerns about alkaline water one at a time to see how he arrived at his conclusion as stated above and to see how those concerns stand up.

Dr. Mercola explains the theory

According to Dr. Mercola, "the theory behind alkaline water [at least according to the marketers] is, in a nutshell, that alkaline (ionized) water is a powerful antioxidant with surplus electrons that can "mop up" the dangerous free radicals you have coursing through your veins. Marketers claim alkaline water can correct excess acidity in your tissues, which can then prevent or reverse cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases."

As stated, Dr. Mercola's summary is mostly true, but does leave out a couple of "game changing" points. First, how alkaline is the water we're talking about? We'll return to that later, but for now, just keep in mind that too much of anything can be bad for you -- even healthy things. Drink too much water of any kind after intense exercise and you might suffer from "water intoxication," which in rare circumstances can actually be fatal. Too much vitamin D or A are toxic. Likewise, selenium, zinc, and iron are all essential at low levels but are highly toxic at high levels. Again, too much of anything can be bad for you. So what does this mean in regard to alkaline water? It means that while a certain amount of alkalinity in water may be beneficial, too much alkalinity can be toxic. The key, of course, is knowing what that point is and how long you can drink water at any given pH.

Second, Dr. Mercola talks about the "claims" of marketers. However,if you base objections around the claims of marketers, you can throw out virtually any health alternative. For example, Dr. Mercola sells açaí on his site. But a quick search on the net shows that marketers claim that the "benefits of Açaí are enormous. The antioxidant qualities mean that it fights cancer, slows down aging, and helps with cardiac functioning and blood circulation. This is helpful for those suffering from any kind of inflammation or arthritis." In addition to being illegal because they amount to medical claims, these claims sound a lot like the claims for alkaline water that so concern Dr. Mercola.

But just because marketers make outrageous claims for açaí, doesn't negate the actual benefits the berry extract provides, which is why Dr. Mercola sells it. And likewise, just because marketers make silly claims for alkaline water doesn't mean that it doesn't have real benefits, and therefore, we shouldn't throw the baby out with the alkaline bath water so to speak.

Dr. Mercola goes on to say, "In truth, there are very, very few legitimate scientific studies about the effects of alkaline water on human health."

But can't the same thing be said for the açaí extract that Dr. Mercola sells? In fact, there are almost no studies supporting the claims of açaí enthusiasts -- legitimate or otherwise. In fact, Dr. Mercola acknowledges as much when he says, "Preliminary studies from the University of Florida show açaí's promise as a food that can boost your health and slow the signs of aging -- and is being studied for its potential to reverse chronic health issues." Think about that for a moment. All that Dr. Mercola can offer in support of açaí is one single "preliminary" study. In his article on alkaline water, Dr. Mercola says, "Most of the circulating information is distributed by clever marketers, with very little scientific validity to back up their claims." In the end, the question we must ask is: why hold açaí and alkaline water to different standards -- other than the fact the Dr. Mercola sells one and not the other? (Incidentally, if you read or listen to Dr. Mercola's article on acai, you might want to check out my article on antioxidants afterwards, My Dog's Better than Your Dog.)

That said, there is "in truth" far more scientific evidence in support of alkaline water than Dr. Mercola indicates. Yes, most of it involves animal studies, but there are over two dozen of them, which beats açaí hands down. And even the pioneerMayo clinic acknowledges the potential of alkaline water to slow bone loss. Here are a just a handful.

  1. Selective stimulation of the growth of anaerobic microflora in the human intestinal tract by electrolyzed reducing water
  2. Acid-base balance and hydration status following consumption of mineral-based
    alkaline bottled water
  3. Enhanced induction of mitochondrial damage and apoptosis in human leukemia HL-60 cells due to electrolyzed-reduced water and glutathione
  4. Protective mechanism of reduced water against alloxan-induced pancreatic beta-cell damage: Scavenging effect against reactive oxygen species
  5. Inhibitory effect of electrolyzed reduced water on tumor angiogenesis
  6. Anti-diabetic effect of alkaline-reduced water on OLETF rats

Another objection to alkaline water that Dr. Mercola has is that "most water ionizers and alkalizers are being marketed by multi-level marketing (MLM) companies with less than stellar ethics" and through which you pay inflated prices.

And yes, some MLM companies are guilty of both things. But MLM companies also pioneer valid health concepts that the mainstream is not yet ready to accept, and because of that, they often take a number of arrows for the rest of us. As the old saying goes, "Pioneers are the ones with the arrows in their backs." For example, the Shaklee Corporation began marketing the first "natural" vitamin supplements in the early 1900's before the concept of vitamins of any kind was really understood. MLM companies also led the way on environmentally safe cleaners and the green super foods. Both spirulina and blue green algae were introduced en masse through MLM companies. Again, you don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

In his article, Dr. Mercola says, "The concept of the acidity or alkalinity of your body - or of water - is based on the pH scale. So it's necessary to have a basic understanding of what pH is… PH is simply a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions… the lower [a liquid's] pH, the more free hydrogen ions it has" and the more acid it is.

And that is absolutely correct, if you summarize the concept "simply." But in fact, there's another way of looking at pH that opens up one of the major benefits of alkaline water to our understanding. Hydrogen ions tie up oxygen. That means that the more acid a liquid is, the less available the oxygen in it.

Every cell in our body requires oxygen for life and to maintain optimum health. Combine that with what we know about hydrogen ions, and we see that the more acid the blood (the lower its pH), the less oxygen is available for use by the cells. Without going into a discussion of the chemistry involved, just understand that it's the same mechanism involved when acid rain "kills" a lake. The fish literally suffocate to death because the acid in the lake "binds up" all of the available oxygen. It's not that the oxygen has gone anywhere; it's just no longer available. Conversely, if you raise the pH of the lake (make it more alkaline), oxygen is now available and the lake comes back to life. Incidentally, it's worth noting that cancer is related to an acid environment (lack of oxygen) -- the higher the pH (the more oxygen present in the cells of the body), the harder it is for cancer to thrive.

Understanding this is important for two reasons:  (1) it reveals one of the primary benefits of alkaline water -- more "available" oxygen in the system and (2) it explains why alkaline water helps fight cancer, which we'll talk more about later.

Dr. Mercola's recommendations

"So, what are the recommendations for optimal drinking water pH? The WHO has published a nearly-600 page document called ‘Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality.' In this voluminous tome, you would expect to find everything you'd ever want to know about your drinking water, right? Well, everything EXCEPT a pH recommendation - there are no health-based guidelines for pH! They state that pH usually has "no direct impact on consumers." …Most likely the optimal pH of the water you were designed to drink is somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5."

Is Dr. Mercola really basing his recommendation for water pH on the World Health Organization Guidelines?  I did not realize that he was such a fan of the WHO. Based on his articles such as The FORBIDDEN Truth About WHO's 2009 ‘Pandemic' and Tamiflu: Kids Increasingly Immune to Its Effects and WHO Advisor Secretly Pads Pockets with Big Pharma Money, he seems to be consistently discounting the WHO as a reliable arbiter of health advice and, in fact, frequently counters their advice with recommendations of his own. For example, Dr. Mercola directly contradicts WHO's recommendation to get vaccinated for Swine flu. I have no problem with that. In fact, that was good advice and matched my recommendation on Swine flu vaccinations. So why now is the WHO such a reliable authority when it comes to drinking alkaline water? What makes them such a reliable authority on this issue -- other than that they agree with Dr. Mercola?

watering plantsDr. Merocla spends a section of his report talking about the optimal pH for plants and fish and how that might relate to humans. "Although the research is clear that alkaline water has detrimental effects on plants and animals, there are not many studies with humans…An ecological study in the Netherlands found that an influx of alkaline water led to the demise of a native plant called Stratiotes aloides L… If you are a gardener, you can view a helpful illustration of the environmental effects of pH in your own garden. If your pH is low, your hydrangea produces pink flowers, but if your pH is high, you'll get blue flowers."

In these statements, Dr. Mercola implies that all life does better in a slightly acidic environment, but this is far from the truth. First of all, for that to be true, you would have to ignore all of the studies I cited earlier that demonstrate the benefits of alkaline water for animals. And then, of course, you have to ignore the ocean, the mother of all life, which has an average pH of about 8.1. Unfortunately, one of the problems associated with increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is that it is is combining with the ocean water to form carbonic acid, which is steadily lowering the pH of the world's oceans, with potentially catastrophic effects to a wide variety of ocean life (e.g., coral reefs an shellfish). The bottom line is that if you're going to look to nature to make a point about optimal pH, then you have to look at all nature to get a balanced picture.

And when you're talking about human pH, the one number that stands out over all others, because it is so critical -- a change of a couple of tenths of a point in either direction could be fatal -- is blood. The ideal pH for blood sits at about 7.4, slightly alkaline -- not acidic.

"There has been a great deal of debate about battling cancer by making your body alkaline. This has become a focus of interest as cancer rates have skyrocketed (along with many other chronic, debilitating diseases), while our bodies have become more acidic from our processed-food diets. The scientific research about the benefits of alkalinity is by no means conclusive…There are some scientific studies that really argue against alkalinity, at least with respect to preventing or treating cancer.

"Consider the research by Robert Gilles, who has studied tumor formation and acidity. According to Gilles, tumors, by their very nature, make themselves acidic - even in an alkaline cellular structure. In other words, they make their own acidity."

"Scientists who are in the process of developing prototypes for potential new anticancer agents that selectively kill tumor cells by interfering with the regulation of intracellular pH, have found that alkaline treatments do NOT have the desired effect - but strongly acidic treatments do.

"Talk about fighting fire with fire - they are fighting acid-loving cancer cells with acid!

"LESS alkalinity inside a cancer cell seems to be what you want, not more.

"So, all of those ionizer salesmen promising alkaline water will lower your cancer risk are completely clueless when it comes to what the scientific research actually shows.

Well, the above section from Dr. Mercola's article is certainly shocking, and speaks strongly against the use of alkaline water when it comes to cancer -- or not. First of all, Dr. Gilles, cited by Dr. Mercola, actually comes to a quite different conclusion than Dr. Mercola seems to imply. To quote from the same study Dr. Mercola cites:

"Because the intracellular pH of cells in tumors remains neutral-to-alkaline, acidity of the interstitial space will increase resistance to many chemotherapies, based on a reduced partitioning of weakly basic chemotherapeutic drugs into the relatively alkaline cells…A large acid-outside pH gradient can exert a protective effect upon the [cancer] cell from weak-base drugs such as anthracyclines and vinca alkaloids, which have pKa values of 7.5 to 9.5. Recently, it has been shown that reversal of the tumor pH gradient with bicarbonate can improve the therapeutic efficacy of doxorubicin (pKa =7.6), which is one of the most widely prescribed antineoplastic agents used in the treatment of breast cancer."

In other words, Dr. Gilles is saying the introduction of alkalinity into a cancerous environment is beneficial, not harmful. And in fact, the use of alkaline pH to fight cancer has a long history:

To be fair, Dr. Mercola mentioned the existence of such studies supporting the use of alkalinizing treatments for cancer, but dismisses them as inconclusive and deems them unworthy of even referencing. On the other hand, once you remove the Gilles study from Dr. Mercola's arguments, since it actually contradicts his conclusions, you're left with one single study cited by Dr. Mercola on which to base the astonishing conclusion: "LESS alkalinity inside a cancer cell seems to be what you want, not more." Someday, that statement may indeed turn out to be true, but not today -- not even close.

Dr. Mercola then makes an even more astonishing reference to support his argument that acidity is good for fighting cancer and alkalinity is bad. He states, "Even more interesting is a 2005 study by the National Cancer Institute, which revisits the use of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to treat cancer. They found that, in pharmacologic doses administered intravenously, ascorbic acid successfully killed cancer cells without harming normal cells. This is yet another vitamin cexample of cancer cells being vulnerable to acidity, as opposed to alkalinity."

To put it simply, the above statement does not make logical sense.. If we were to take Dr. Mercola's argument at face value, that the natural health benefits of ascorbic acid are merely the result of its acidity, not its unique molecular structure, then Linus Pauling would be all wrong, as would virtually everyone in the alternative health field. We could theoretically pop any acid pills such HCL digestive pills and receive all the same anticancer benefits of vitamin C. In fact, taken to its "illogical" conclusion, we might determine that acid reflux disease prevents cancer since it dumps more acid into the system, and that, of course, is nonsense. But even beyond that, it also should be noted that implying that ascorbic acid increases the body's acidity level flies in the face everything published concerning the connection of diet to body pH. As anyone who studies the pH issues associated with diet knows, ascorbic-acid, citrus-based fruits are known to actually alkalinize the body, not acidify it -- which totally turns Dr. Mercola's argument on this particular point upside down.

Dr. Mercola then concludes this section on alkalinity and cancer by stating, "The bottom line is that alkaline water isn't cancer's magic bullet."

That may or may not be true, but nothing presented by Dr. Mercola so far comes close to proving the point. In fact, once you strip away the failed arguments and references, all you are left with is a personal opinion expressed by Dr. Mercola, with no facts or studies that actually support it.

Balance is Key

Dr. Mercola then says, "As is true with many things, in the end it's a matter of balance. Water that is too acidic or too alkaline can be detrimental to human health and lead to nutritional disequilibrium. This was demonstrated in a Swedish well water study, which found both pH extremes to be problematic. Your body simply was not designed to drink highly alkaline water all the time. So I believe it's best to be VERY careful when it comes to something as foundational as the water you drink on a daily basis. If you get it wrong, you could really cause yourself some major damage."

On this point, we are in total agreement. When it comes to health, extremes are bad. Or to paraphrase Paramahansa Yogananda, "Too much of a good thing is bad. No matter how healthy a thing is, if you overindulge in it, disease will result instead of health."

"It makes sense that you are designed to drink water that occurs naturally, which excludes alkaline water with pH levels of 8 and above."

I don't disagree with the essence of Dr. Mercola's thought here -- with one big caveat. If you're eating well and living cleanly, then yes, you want to drink water with a naturally occurring pH only slightly above neutral. However, if you are eating the typical Western diet, high in meat, grains, sodas, and sugars that acidify the body, then you have a different problem. Your pH balance is now so far out of normal that you must go beyond normal in the other direction to counter it. My recommendation for daily drinking water pH is about 7.5 to 8 -- depending on how acid forming your diet is. Long term consumption of higher pH water should be reserved for special circumstances.

At this point, Dr. Mercola introduces a perplexing argument, "And if you drink alkaline water all the time, you're going to raise the alkalinity of your stomach, which will buffer your stomach's acidity and impair your ability to digest food as low stomach acid is one of the most common causes of ulcers. This can open the door for parasites in your small intestine, and your protein digestion may suffer. It also means you'll get less minerals and nutrients over time - in fact, some of these health effects can already be seen in hard-core alkaline water drinkers."

balanceFirst of all, let's be clear here. Stomach acid has a pH of about 0.8-1.0. That means that any water you drink, whatever its acidity level, is going to dilute your stomach acid and interfere with digestion if you drink it with your meals, which is why I constantly admonish people not to drink more than 4 ounces of liquid with your meals. The bottom line, then, is that if you're drinking water with your meals, any difference in pH is virtually irrelevant -- digestion will suffer. If you're drinking water between meals, then it has no effect on digestion as it passes through the stomach quickly and on into the small intestine, where an alkaline environment is preferred. Keep in mind, your pancreas pours sodium bicarbonate into your duodenum to convert the acidic "slurry" coming from your stomach into an alkaline "slurry" with a pH of about 8.0. Which brings up the question, why did Dr. Mercola only talk about the acidic pH of the stomach when discussing digestion and not the alkaline pH of the intestinal tract?

Dr. Mercola, now movcs on to a new point, "Alkalinity is also potentially a problem because it is antibacterial, so it could potentially disrupt the balance of your body's beneficial bacteria."

Again, the pH of a healthy intestinal tract is slightly alkaline, not acidic, so I'm not sure which beneficial bacteria he's talking about that would benefit from an acid environment. But more to the point, acidity kills bacteria. That's the reason your urine is slightly acidic, not alkaline -- to kill any E. coli that might make their way into your urinary tract. That means that contrary to what Dr. Mercola says, raising the pH of your urine doesn't kill bacteria in your urinary tract, it allows them to thrive. Actually, a point that Dr. Mercola could have made is that if you make yourself too alkaline, to the point where your urine is no longer acidic (something a number of people who are "into" drinking alkaline water actually try and do), you are more likely to have urinary tract infections. Amusingly, even though the fact that acidity (not alkalinity) kills unwanted bacteria in your urinary tract contradicts his statement immediately above, it actually speaks in support of Dr. Mercola's ultimate position -- that drinking too much high alkaline water can be detrimental to your health. However, it takes exessive consumption of high alkaline water to change the pH of your urine.

Living Water

Dr. Mercola now begins to make clear his position on what represents the ideal pH for drinking water, "What you want is pure water - water that is clean, balanced, and healthful, neither too alkaline nor too acidic. Ideally, the pH of your water should be close to 7, which is neutral.

"Somewhere between 6 to 8 is likely fine."

This actually represents quite a spread. Keep in mind that the pH scale is logarithmic. That means that each 1-unit change in pH represents a ten-fold change in hydrogen ion concentration. In other words, 6.0 water is one hundred times more acidic than 8.0 water. Fortunately, Dr. Mercola subsequently provides a more specific recommendation.

"And some of the most healthful waters in the world - that emerging from mountain springs - are actually acidic in the range of 6.5. and would absolutely be my preference if it were readily available."

Well, here we have a definitive statement from Dr. Mercola on the optimum pH for drinking water, and as it turns out, it's nowhere near as open ended as the 6.0 to 8.0 range he mentioned previously. It's very specific and slightly acidic. Unfortunately, the context within which it's provided is highly misleading. Yes, some mountain springs are slightly acidic, depending on the minerals naturally occurring in them. But the most famous mountain waters in the world, waters renowned for their healing properties, are highly alkaline. I'm referring to the waters coming down from the Himalayas, and specifically to the waters of the Hunza valley, which have a pH that runs between 9 and 11.


At this point, I'm no longer quoting Dr. Mercola.

As I said at the beginning of this newsletter, I'm a fan of Dr. Mercola. And, for the most part, we share many of the same opinions. Even in areas where we disagree, such as in terms of what constitutes a healthy diet, the disagreement is less than it first appears. Although Dr. Mercola believes in the virtues of meat and dairy more than I do, we are at least in agreement as to what form they should take if you eat them.

  • Organic
  • Grass fed
  • Raw for dairy
  • Etc.

But on this particular issue, alkaline water, his article totally missed the mark and contains a number of inaccuracies. Eventually, his ultimate position, that slightly acidic water is preferable to any form of alkaline water when it comes to drinking, may one day be proven true. But not today.

Therefore based on a preponderance of the evidence as it exists today, I would recommend drinking slightly alkaline water (7.5-8.0) on a daily basis, and reserve higher alkaline water for special occasions. Now, when compared to Dr. Mercola's preferred pH of 6.5, it appears to be a rather insignificant difference -- one point on the pH scale, centered around neutral at 7.0. But appearances can be deceiving. The pH scale logarithmic. In fact, technically, pH is the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration. That means that for each 1-unit change in pH, the hydrogen ion concentration changes ten-fold. In other words, 6.5 water is ten times more acidic than 7.5 water -- and 100 times more acidic than 8.5 water.

The bottom line is that although the difference between our recommendations may at first appear small, they are, in fact, not. I believe that the evidence strongly supports drinking water on a daily basis that is upwards of 50 times more alkaline than Dr. Mercola recommends -- with higher levels reserved for special occasions. As to how you get that water, that's up to you. Water ionizers, although expensive, certainly do the trick.

In conclusion, I am still a fan of Dr. Mercola and still recommend his website to my readers. But as for this particular article, I believe that Dr. Mercoal missed the mark; it simply does not rise to his usual high standards. I am sure he will do better next time. In any case, I encourage you to read his article, If You Fall for This "Water Fad" - You Could Do Some Major Damage, yourself and make your own assessment.


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    Submitted by Justin on
    February 7, 2011 - 5:46pm

    Well explained here and I have to agree with what you state about wanting a more alkaline water when you consider today's diet - even if you try to eat moderately good it's still probably safer to drink 7.5 than 6.5.

    Submitted by Randy on
    April 5, 2011 - 10:41pm

    I would respectfully like to request some good published evidence that drinking alkaline water has any effect on human health - beneficial or otherwise.

    I happen to agree with at least part of Marcola's analysis of alkaline water health benefits. When his article first came out I requested evidence that would support the beliefs of those contributors who insisted Marcola was wrong and that drinking alkaline water was healthier than drinking regular water. I received a number of references which I analyze here: http://www.cyber-nook.com/water/alkaline3.htm. I did not find any of the so-called ‘evidence’ compelling.

    I also found nothing in your rebuttal that would cause me to change my mine or that woudl suggest that benefits of alkaline water are anything more than wishful thinking - the placebo effect if you will. The Mayo Clinic page that you mentioned, for example, alleges to validate health claims for alkaline water but only provides referenced studies about MINERAL Alkaline Water and the possible slowing of bone loss – quite a different “animal” than what the alkaline water machines produce.

    As I point out in my analysis of the “evidence” provided to support alkaline water health benefits, nothing I have seen meets basic criteria for validating the claim that drinking alkaline water is beneficial.

    With respect to the ‘evidence’ you provide, nothing changes. For example the reference you mention, http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/47/6/1497.long, actually seems to support the idea that a low pH is more cytotoxic to cancer cells than an alkaline environment “The present experiments show that (a) agents that interfere with regulation of pi I can increase cell death when cells are placed in an acidic environment and that (h) the cytotoxic effect of low pi I, plus hypoxia can be increased by these agents.” Ultimately it does not matter though, because there is no evidence that drinking alkaline water can change the pH of the extracellular environment anyway.

    The reference, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1508079/, is meaningless without some experimental evidence that alkaline water can sustain an increase extracellular pH above the level attained by other processes like taking a few extra breaths to increase the bicarbonate level in the blood – which will typically return to normal as soon as regular breathing patterns are reestablished.

    I remain unconvinced that drinking alkaline water has any health benefits over drinking regular water.

    Submitted by Stacey on
    August 22, 2011 - 5:15pm

    Randy, just try some Kangen Water for yourself and see how it affects your health!

    Submitted by Sterling on
    June 25, 2012 - 6:09pm

    I can fully speak from MY personal experience with an Alkaline water machine both positive and the negative is my fault and my fault alone.

    The standard American diet of which is really consumed is highly acidic and YES our bodies are designed to balance the ph in our stomachs -

    HOWEVER if you are over taxed with acidic foods and then take in water that is also acidic and MOST people drink bottled water or filter water and many from Reverse osmosis and ALL bottled water but ONE that I have found so far (Costco's Kirkland Water) are ALL 3.0 to 4.0 Acidic and you might as well be drinking coca cola in regards to acidity.

    If I do not drink alkaline water I FEEL the difference an though I eat a lot of live alkaline foods. I drink 1 1/2 to 2 gallons of water daily here in Los Angeles where the climate is very arid and not only do I Feel the difference - my ph falls below 7.0 when I test it and when I drink my usual 1 1/2 to 2 gallons of water daily my ph levels stay at 7.1 - 7.2.

    I am told and have read in many published medical journals that cancer cannot survive nor thrive in a body with a ph level 0f at least 7.1 or greater.

    Your stomach acids Cannot continue to create the acids necessary to keep your body at a healthy ph level "IF" your body is constantly in a state of Acidity - period. I test my ph and I can CONTROL my ph with alkaline water and I have overdone it with too high ph and had a fungal infection and I quickly corrected an now drink only 7.5 at the highest. So yes you CAN overdo it as with anything.

    I have seen doctors and chemists who state the stomach acidity conversion to keep the body's ph properly balanced while forgetting that the stomach is ONE part of many in the body an it takes the ENTIRE health of the body to maintain good health and ph levels which is like saying fuel injectors are alone the cause of fuel power for a car.

    BALANCE is everything and PH is paramount.

    Submitted by Dani on
    February 3, 2013 - 10:40am

    For starters, what daily pH of 7.1-7.2 are you referring to? The body has varying pH levels. For example, the blood is usually around 7.4. Any fluctuation over or under can put you in a state of acidosis or alkalosis. "Your stomach acids Cannot continue to create the acids necessary to keep your body at a healthy ph level "IF" your body is constantly in a state of Acidity - period." This quote of yours does not make any sense. The stomach will always strive to be in an acidic state. Sure, drinking alkaline water will neutralize that acidic state, but temporary. What everyone is not considering is that the body will always try to maintain homeostasis. Acidity levels in your stomach is needed to break down proteins and carbohydrates. Therefore, it is not a bad thing. Everything we eat, eventually becomes alkaline in the intestines. I do agree with you that consuming foods heavy in acids in excess are not that good, but that applies to everything. You can't change. Please provide those medical journals that state that cancer cannot thrive in a body of 7.1 or greater? I am not bashing alkaline water....but I notice that everyone seems to be quoting pseudoscience with no proof to back it up. I would love to read these medical journals as well.

    Submitted by Dr. Maat on
    January 2, 2013 - 7:52pm

    Try the book by Bob McCauley of Watershed.net: The Miraculous Properties of Alkaline Ionized water. Book also talks about acid ionized water and filtered water. Sang Whang also wrote some interesting things about alkaline water. I have had excellent results since 2009 in my skin appearance and internally as to digestion

    Submitted by Kangen me on
    July 23, 2015 - 2:57am
    Cagayan de oro ,

    Nobody's forcing you here. You have all the rights to believe what you wanna believe. Only that, when time comes and you are gonna take your last breath because of some diseases caused by acid overloadin, and you see us still in our best, enjoying life.. You'll realize, regret and tell yourself "I should have listened." As for today, just go on with your strong faith. Good luck!

    Submitted by lenixma on
    July 2, 2011 - 2:59am

    Explanation regarding such natural resources with Alkaline Water's actual properties is totally an unique concept which has acquainted me a lot about its antioxidant with surplus electrons features and its perfect utilization.I appreciate Dr. Joseph Mercola 's knowledgeable description about chemical bonding of water.

    Submitted by Michael Brinson on
    August 30, 2011 - 1:36pm

    Sorry, just noticed something else about the article. Where you say, "Hydrogen ions tie up oxygen. That means that the more acid a liquid is, the less available the oxygen in it."
    Wouldn't it be more accurate to say,
    "HYDROXIDE ions tie up oxygen."
    My understanding was that the measure of PH is based on the ratio of Hydrogen to OH- or Hydroxide ions in the water. I'm sure that's overly simplistic, but is that basically right?
    So my thought was that the Hydroxide was the ion that was tying up the oxygen since it's bonded with the oxygen atom?
    Please set me straight.. I need help. :)

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    August 30, 2011 - 3:22pm

    Hi Michael, 

    Thanks for the tip on the broken link, it is now fixed.  As for this question, I hate to do a Bill Clinton on you, but “it all depends on what your definition of ‘bound’ is.” Oxygen by itself is not very stable in water. O2 dissipates quickly when added to water. And drinking water with dissolved O2 in it, does not raise oxygen levels or pH levels in your body at all. OH, on the other hand is a more stable form of oxygen. Although stable, the oxygen is not “bound” to the OH in the sense that the molecule readily gives up the oxygen; it is easily usable by the body. On the other hand, the oxygen in acid molecules (H2SO4, for example), is tightly bound to the molecule and does not readily give itself up to use by living organisms.

    Submitted by Joshua on
    December 11, 2011 - 5:50pm

    Very interesting article n gives a balanced views on both sides of the coins. There are some points I may wanna bring up for consideration. 1.)Always follow nature. What is the normal ph of a human body, we should drink water close to it. 2) While alkaline water may be good, but I think how alkalinity is achieved is important too. 3) I totally support moderation in all things. We may skew to one side in times when it is needed but it's still good to drink a ph balanced water. 

    Submitted by Edy on
    April 11, 2012 - 8:10am

    Yes, I can agree it's still good to drink a ph balanced water,provided we are also eating balance diet which I believe our modern diet is full of acidic food thus create in-balance in our body then that's where alkaline water plays it part to help us neutralise it.

    Submitted by Edy on
    May 3, 2012 - 6:15am

    Hello Doctor,

    is there any negative effect when prescribed medicine is taken with high pH alkaline water such as pH 9.5?

    thank you

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    May 4, 2012 - 11:12am

    It would depend on what the medication was and what it was being prescribed for. For example, if you’re being treated for alkalosis, then having high pH water would be counterproductive. In other words, if you’re taking medication, ask your doctor about drinking high pH water. Also, 9.5 water is a higher pH than Jon recommends taking on a consistent basis.

    Submitted by Edward Schuffman on
    September 12, 2012 - 12:37pm

    This following article argues against any causal relationship between alkalinity and cancer.


    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    September 13, 2012 - 7:55pm

    The article referred to above, which was not written by Dr. Warburg but by someone interpreting what he said, contains a number of inaccuracies and misrepresentations. For example. No person who understands basic chemistry would argue that the increase in oxygen levels seen in alkaline water comes from adding oxygen by way of an alkalinizing agent to the water as the article implies that some people think. The increase in oxygen comes because acidity binds up oxygen, and as you raise the pH and the water becomes less acidic, that oxygen, which is already there, is released and made available for use by living organisms. Thus, the entire argument devoted to calcium oxide is completely irrelevant and misrepresents the facts at hand. And for that matter, the statement on increasing levels of acidity after exercise is likewise irrelevant. In a healthy person, the body quickly rebalances itself to a neutral pH within minutes of the completion of exercise. No one is claiming that the short-term, temporary changes in tissue acidity, as might result from exercise, cause problems. The concern is that long term, chronic states of acidity that never rebalance create an environment ripe for the progression of many diseases – particularly those that relate to the immune system, as the immune system becomes less effective in an acid environment.

    Submitted by sceptik on
    December 13, 2012 - 11:07pm

    Ok,Ok, everybody has an opinion and thats good, but none of you or all the 'specialists' know for sure what all those pretensious words(reverse osmosis, electrolite,negative ionezed, positive ionized-make up you mind, is it negative or positive? - and all that mumbo-jumbo that makes some comapanies that make those machines ,very rich, and the gullable, naive, 'yappies', flock to them! All I know that for thousands of years, people drank water right out of a well and the healthiest and longest living people are the ones near to some kind of mountain or dead volcano and they drink the mineralized water 200-300 yards deep, deposited there by rains and snow melting for hundres of years, filtering through layers and layers of volcanic or other sediments ! Thats the water we drink or we should drink, not the one comming from our urine when we flush and some very unscrupoulous and enteprising yuppies sell it to you after they play God and mess with it, not knowing the repercussions of it on the regular drinker of it in 20 years!!! Have you ever heard of Monsato? They did the same with our food and use millions of poor people around the world as guinea pigs and then use it on us!! It doesnt work, they made a lot of people sick and full of new deseses never had before! same with these fancy machines trying to imitate nature, They cant!! Anyway, this is just my personal imput,i grew up on a farm, drankl water from the deep well we had 200 ft away from the main house and never got sick and it tasted fantastic! Even the food cooked with it or tea, was great! Now, I know you cant dig a well in your fancy penthouse or house in the city, but you can find many brands of great tasting,mineral , natural water , at least 7.5 PH from many pure sources on the planet, New Zeeland, Hawaii, Alps, Asia, FIJI,even many in mainland US from deep wells or artesian, melting ice/snow(Island, Norway, Canada, etc)..I never did this until few weeks ago, i read about it ,about alkaline, PH, and all that! Since I have some healh problems(mostly digestive) and I have a very bad acid reflux for over 20 years(and my diet is good , no fast food, sodas, spices, etc)but I cant live without a Prilosec pill everyday, well, the last few weeks i started drinking these great bottled waters,.natural, volcanic/ice melts,etc mostly from New Zeeland and Hawaii(my favorites) AND , SO FAR,NO NEED FOR PRILOSEC,so far, so good!you can find them , strangelly enough ,before you reach the register at..Marshalls, TJ max, Ross, and Whole foods, lazy acres, and a lot of health foods and other markets! My favorite has 7.8 PH and was voted the best water on earth and its called Waiwera(New Zeeland) also Hawaii Spring (excelent water) also Eternal(also from New Zeeland and , strangely enough, Trader Joes sells one in a gallon bottle from the same..source!!!!!!!(i googled it),It doesnt say on the label, just natural water from New Zeeland! There are many good ones also from France(Vittel, Evian(not too high PH) and few from Italy,one readely available at your local supermarket: Aqua Panna! Dont be shy, also drinking SPARKLING mineral water, is very good for you, thats why they call it ;mineral', no artificial infusion of ..anything! San Pelegrinno,.etc.. Actually, I know this for a fact, I went to the source many years ago, there is a region in Transilvania(wooo!!),Romania, where they have probably the best sparkling(and still) mineral water on earth, the source is known for at least 2000 years and roman emperors used to bathe in it and ship some to Rome,and in 17 th or 18 th century, the Austrian emperor at the time, called it: '''The Qeen of mineral waters''', name that survived even today! The amazing thing is, that locals drink it free everyday directly from the fountains by the side of the street and they never get sick!!!! Millions of tourists do the same, since is a resort/spa also and a very beautifull area(close to Dracula's castle!!) .Its called..BORSEC(water and resort, chek it out!!) .. I dont get anything from the names i mentioned, they dont even know i exist, it s your call, but i dont think messing with these waters artificially do any good, in the long run! water has to be drank the way it was for tens of thousands of years!! from Deep in the ground, untouiched by pollution and all that 'tehnology' crap! Everything sounds and looks good for the moment, but how do you know what the..IPone, or Blutooh, or ..ionized water will do to you/us ,in the long run! PS..Most people that made to 100 years old, they live near one of those natural water sources! They never heard the word 'acidic'!!Get the hint?

    Submitted by Amanda on
    February 4, 2013 - 12:19pm

    I have a extreme low body pH and have been sick for awhile. Doctors haven't been able to figure out what is wrong with me. There is a natural spring about 20min drive from my house. I tested the water and it's pH is 10. It does occur naturally. This is just a hose jammed into a spring that flows year round. (I do live in a volcanic area) I've started drinking it but have read mixed reviews online. I figure I can't get any worse so I may as well give it a try. Doctors don't seem to work to make you better, they just want to prescribe more drugs.

    Submitted by Susan Hardman on
    July 4, 2013 - 11:19am

    I had a very bad experience with drinking overly alkaline water too fast. I used a type of alkanlizer that has minerals in the cap of a steel bottle which you invert for 5 minutes to alkalinize your water. We had just installed a reverse-osmosis system, which makes your water acid, so I thought I should use the alkalinizer. I promptly wound up with a kidney stone (within 6 days of the change in my drinking water). I had no history of kidney stones. My conclusion was that you should not mess with the pH of your water, you should just eat a healthy diet that does not create too much acid in your system. But you can't try to manipulate the pH of your system yourself. Unless you have a big tumor and you go to that Italian doctor who injects you with baking soda. That seems to work!

    Submitted by Dr Robert Goodrum DO.ND on
    November 10, 2013 - 7:54pm

    Hello readers,
    Alkaline water or spring water of 7-7.5 is fine &
    good to drink as its naturopathic, or natures path.
    Just don't drink too much with your meals as Jon says.

    Alkaine-Ironisers - well be carefully as this
    abnormal process uses electro magnetic fields
    Which bonds hydroxides to the Calcium
    Magnesium & Potassium - making them caustic &
    Corrosive to the intestines.

    Use a water filter system that removes
    Toxins then adds the right minerals without

    Keep away from ionizers

    If you have an Ironizer add a small amount of
    Lemon juice to neutralise the hydroxides & turn them
    Into Malate & citric salts

    I think Jon is great, even though I'm an Osteopath
    & naturopath - still read & learn from the miracle Doctor

    All the best

    Dr Robbie Goodrum DO.ND

    Submitted by richard rowland on
    December 9, 2013 - 9:21pm

    hi from oz..just read all the articles and would like to add my experience as that is how the old herbalists found out what was beneficial to the body.. my experience is that after in have alkaline water (company based in Byron bay not MLM) my body goes YUM, without any scientific evidence it just goes YUMM... the best point for me out of the articles is not to have alkaline water around digestion time..between meals is the go in my opinion..also that acid conditions are where the body tilts to disease....truth is coming...

    Submitted by Kangen water machine on
    January 27, 2015 - 12:23am
    Florida , Florida

    Why Kangen Machines are more expensive. If you have been comparing water ionizers, you would see that Kangen's machines are far more ... to look for when purchasing an alkaline water ionizer is the best ionizer specs for your money.

    Submitted by Justine Maybury on
    February 14, 2015 - 3:36pm

    Thank you Jon! I've found the bottled-water debate has body-snatched the water-quality debate. So many times I've followed headlines storming about 'why bottled water isn't good for you', only to find an article about carbon footprint, plastics or bottled tap water rather than a discussion about the different kinds of bottled waters and/or filters on the market.
    I understand environmental pressures, but I'm not going to drink fluoride, chlorine, and lead to save the earth. I also don't think bottled water is 'what's wrong' with the world and our lifestyle choices. To me it points to a very sad state of survival. Even with many useless articles, it is possible to find out what waters are good for you, how much you should drink and when. Mineral rich water has been implicated in many isolated and long-lived human communities. Gladiators were given 'plant ashes' to keep up their strength and todays athletes are given mineral powders to increase stamina and decrease recovery time. People have been drinking alkaline water for thousands of years, but different waters can have different health uses.

    As a nutritionist, its scary to read how much disagreement there is about the chemistry of water. Such an error suggests we're still in the dark ages about the electrochemistry of the body in general!

    Submitted by evgeny on
    September 24, 2015 - 1:46pm
    Arlington Heights , Illinois

    This time I need to disagree with you. As a chemist, who has done some medical research and currently works on water treatment I challenge your statement "Hydrogen ions tie up oxygen."
    They don't. In the liquids (e.g. human body), the hydrogen ions (H+) are actually in the form of hydronium ions (H3O+), which you can see as (H+/H2O). The dissociation of water hence is in fact:
    2 H2O = OH− + H3O+
    In other words one Hydrogen atom attaches to another water molecule.

    Also, alkaline water does not have more electrons! That will make it charged and not neutral (as stable things in nature tend to be). It has higher concentration of alkaline ions (esp. Na, K) and alkaline earth metals (e.g. Mg, Ca). Which are cations, since they have donated their electrons to the anions in the solution (Cl-, CO3(2-), SO4(2-), etc).

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    September 28, 2015 - 10:30am

    You’re the chemist, so you would know more. But certainly most of the literature indicates that acidity and alkalinity are based on the balance between hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxide ions, (OH-)—for example. Also, the oxygen in water that Jon is talking about is not the oxygen that is actually part of the water, but rather the oxygen that is dissolved in the water. In any case, it would seem that along with phosphorus runoff from farms and the introduction of nitrogen into the water from the atmosphere, and acid rain accounts for at least some of the depletion of those oxygen levels.

    Submitted by Jan Grossberg RN on
    October 18, 2015 - 9:27pm
    Colorado Springs , Colorado

    I would like to suggest that those who think they know water we'll get ahold of a copy of The Fourth Phase of Water by Gerald Pollack. It is by far one of the most enlightening books I have ever read, and has clear implications relative to how water actually works. Don't second guess it. The guy writes well, and his findings are clearly presented and compelling. Hope you all enjoy learning something new about an "old" topic!

    Submitted by Brindy on
    October 17, 2018 - 4:31pm

    I love alkaline water and have seen many benefits personally. There are only 2 studies I could find with anything "proving" it is bad, but in both of the studies they used inorganic caustic matter to achieve the high alkalinity and they went very high in pH. I have heard negative affects with systems that use reverse osmosis and then electrically change the water. I have heard that they are causing people to be deficient in minerals. The alkaline water I use is made by reverse osmosis and then running the water over minerals. I often wonder if maybe some people are judging alkaline water just based off of these systems that are doing it electrically rather than naturally.

    Submitted by sam on
    January 10, 2019 - 12:53pm

    Thanks for the interesting article
    Slightly off topic but you mentions about CO2 absorbed into the Oceans
    Now maybe watch the doc by Prof Svesnmark called 'The Cloud Mystery'
    He explains the weather is driven by the pletary system and the Sun
    CO 2 levels have been 12 times higher in past millenia and are needed for plant growth and a more abundant food supply
    CO2 levels are very low at present being only 0.04% of atmospheric gases.
    You must ask yourself why do you believe the news media on this issue when you know they lie about so many other scientific issues. Its not logical

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