Several companies are promoting the use of a "special water" called alkaline water that they claim can prevent disease and improve disease conditions. Yet the claims made of alkaline water are not supported by the FDA. This water can be bought bottled through these companies, but usually they are aiming to sell the costly machines that produce this water. The claims that are used to promote alkaline water are generally myths.
Ionized water is chemically the same as what is commonly referred to as alkaline water. Water ionizing began being practiced in the 1950s in Japan, with the water being tested on animals and plants for its benefits. The water continued to be developed and tested by Japanese universities, gradually being tested in humans with the discovery that it possibly reduces many symptoms caused by disease. Units called water ionizers became commercially available in 1958. The water ionizers became approved as a medical device in 1966 by the Health and Rehabilitation Ministry of Japan. The studies that are supportive of the claims that alkaline water is beneficial have had little to no exposure in the medical industry. Study-specific information is hard to find.
About the Water
Alkaline water has been promoted for health by certain companies, and is said to balance the pH in the body and help maintain optimal health. Their theory is that the body's pH should naturally be more alkaline than acidic, and the body may stress itself in order to achieve it's desired alkalinity level. Increased acidity may cause decreased energy, body aches and even weight gain. The promoters of alkaline water often recommend switching in between a range of water alkalinities depending on the use of the water.
Alkaline water ranges generally from 7.5 to 9.5 in pH. Different ranges of water are suggested depending on the purpose or activity that the water will be used for. To follow the recommended usage, different types of water are usually recommended for cooking purposes, drinking purposes and washing purposes. This usually involves buying an expensive machine, as just buying the bottles of alkaline water will end up being more expensive. Since alkaline water is promoted to be used for more than just drinking, you need to use it for everything, including brushing your teeth, to get full benefits, according to the distributors of the machines and water.
Promoters of ionized water claim that bacteria grows best in the body in lower pH levels, so boosting the pH will discourage bacteria growth and slow or prevent disease process. Proof that drinking alkaline water to maintain a specific balance of pH to improve health has not been sufficient, and it is not approved by the FDA or recommended by the majority of doctors. According to Dr. Mirkin, a professor at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., the claims used to promote alkaline water cannot be true as the body is comprised of many acidic bodily substances and the acidity and alkalinity cannot be altered by anything we consume. Alternative medicine doctors may promote or suggest this water, but remember alternative medicine is their livelihood and most herbal medicine and other alternative medicine results will vary and are not proven. Making the decision to drink alkaline water is more of a health investment than a health need or benefit, and the result of drinking it may be uncertain.
There are certain considerations that should be taken when offering alkaline water to your family. It is not recommended for babies to drink. Though a clear reason why it is not recommended is not given, most companies that make these machines do not recommend this water for babies and it should not be used to mix formula. It is not recommended until a baby becomes a toddler, eating a variety of whole foods. For pregnancy use, it is reported to be optimal though it should be approached with caution as there is not much information available supporting this topic. If you feel like alkaline water is the right decision for you, talk to your family doctor and get his or her take on it. It will be an expensive decision that should be well researched and thought out as many doctors agree that it is just another inflated health gimmick.
- Photo Credit drinking water #5 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com medical test image by JASON WINTER from Fotolia.com
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