Debunking Ionized Water

Every few months I get an email asking about my take on a debunking website This is my take: The author of that site is educated beyond his intelligence.

The following bullet items represent the "bottom line" as written by the author of that site:

  • "Ionized water" is nothing more than sales fiction; the term is meaningless to chemists.

The term used by chemists is ERW, electro reduced water. "Ionized water" is a common term used by consumers to describe the same thing.

  • Most water that is fit for drinking is too unconductive to undergo significant electrolysis.

This is true for completely purified water such as distilled. But all ionizers that connect to the tap contain an input filter to remove the contaminants, while leaving in the minerals required for electrolysis. And batch ionizers, those that require adding purified water, also require you to add salt to the water to make it work.

  • Pure water can never be alkaline or acidic, nor can it be made so by electrolysis.

True, the pH of the water is determined by the minerals it contains. Pure water, having no minerals, has a neutral pH, and being non-conductive, cannot undergo significant electrolysis.

  • Groundwaters 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 purpose of electrolysis in an ionizer is to separate the positive and negative ions. The positive ions move to the negative electrode and exit out the alkaline spout to be drunk as alkaline water. The negative ions move to the positive electrode and exit out the waste spout into your sink as acid water.

Since it is the minerals in the water that determine its pH, and since the quantity of minerals in the stomach are of much greater quantity than what is in the water, I agree that the minerals in the stomach determine the pH, and the pH of the water is irrelevant.

  • 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.

I wouldn't say it is ridiculous, otherwise products such as Alka Seltzer would not work. Breathing out carbon dioxide is not sufficient to reduce the excess of acid minerals in the body, which is why the urine becomes very acidic -- to dump out excess acid. Urine acidity is a good indicator of excess system acidity. See for the relationship between urine acidity and cancer. And you can consume sodium bicarbonate to increase the quantity of alkaline minerals in your body, if your urine is too acidic.

  • The claims about the health benefits of drinking alkaline water are not supported by credible scientific evidence.

This may be true, but it is irrelevant. The benefit of drinking alkaline ionized water is not its alkalinity, but its negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP), a measure of its anti-oxidant properties. Alkalinity is just a byproduct of the process. Patrick Flannagan studied the Hunzas to determine why they lived to be 120+ years. He determined it was due to the hydride ion contained in the water they drank, and he developed a product called Microhydrin that supplied this ion; see his site The hydride ion is a powerful free-radical scavenger (i.e., an anti-oxidant). Ionizing water will also produce the hydride ion which is the reason we drink it. See

  • 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.

Drinking rainwater may be hazardous considering the toxins in the air the water absorbed. And he's right: "Body pH" is a meaningless concept.

  • 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?

True. But again you don't use an electrolysis device for getting alkaline water, but for getting the hydride ion.

  • Electrolysis devices are generally worthless for treating water for health enhancement, removal of common inpurities, disinfection, and scale control.

"Alkaline" water has many health benefits, due to the hydride ion and its anti-oxidant properties (see And "Acid" water has been found (in Japan) to be effective in healing diabetic sores on feet where nothing else would work.