The Alkaline Water Scam
1. Sheetal a 35 year old single Mom had been through 3 Chemotherapies, but the cancer had come back once again. A friend told her that Alkaline water would help reverse cancer. She purchased a unit for a lakh and a half hoping that she would recover from her illness……
Sadly claims like “An alkaline pH can help heal cancer and other diseases” are misleading and devices to make water alkaline are being sold to unsuspecting and gullible customers.
2. A couple of years ago, many consumers stopped using soap based on information that the pH of soap was supposedly high and toxic to the skin. Just about a decade later- now many people are scrambling for high pH water which in most cases has the same raw material that they avoided in soaps.
3. The use of Scientific Jargons like 'pH' for marketing ‘Water purifying technologies’ has added to the confusion of healthy pure water vs Toxic non potable water.
4. Alkaline water or High pH water is considered healing and low PH water is showcased as toxic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Going just by PH does not make much sense at all. You need to consider a host of other parameters as well.
5. Water with oxides of Lead, Lithium, Cadmium, Mercury will be definitely alkaline but also lethal. Hence it is not so much about the pH but about the mineral profile of water.
6. Sour and tangy fruit juices would have low PH but they are also very good antioxidants and help nourish the body.
Technically speaking, pH is a measure of Hydrogen ion concentration. Higher the hydrogen ion concentration, lower the pH and vice versa. Now how does this definition help us laymen? Can just Hydrogen ion concentration of water determine if the water is good or bad ?
The problem today is that we use scientific jargons and apply them in our life based on what the so called experts - PHDs have to tell us. The PHDs in turn are hired by multinational companies, so they have to distort the information a little bit, if it means a fat paycheck for them and rising stock prices for the company. Moreover information can be presented in such a way that it can be accurate, yet misleading.
For those of you who are interested in learning more about PH and TDS ( Total Dissolved Solids) I will post another blog with relevant information. However for the sake of brevity, let me clear some misconceptions about acidic and alkaline.
Acidic PH drinks and certain foods can make your blood Acidic: (Misleading)
Foods might be sour , tangy and acidic or bitter, soapy and alkaline, but it really doesn’t affect your blood PH. The blood PH is very tightly regulated by the body’s Homeostatic mechanism. Blood PH is around 7.4 and a few points change here and there can have dire consequences.
Robert. O. Young who popularized the alkaline diet and conducted PH Miracle retreats is now languishing in prison for fraud. Just like Robert, there are many more practitioners who in the name of holistic medicine come up with therapies that are not based on science.
Alkaline water can reverse autoimmune conditions and heal cancer: (Misleading)
This is again a marketing gimmick. Vitamin C when dissolved in water is acidic, but it too does help nourish the body, is a very potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger.
On the other hand Lead oxide when dissolved in water makes it alkaline with a PH around 9 to 10.5, now does that make lead water medicinal ?
What matters is the mineral composition of the water. And to reverse a disease like cancer or an autoimmune condition, just water with high PH will not help. You need to take certain decisions to change your lifestyle as well as take treatment based on how advanced the diseased condition.
Alkaline water helps hydrate your body better: ( Misleading)
Just increasing the PH of water using certain Alkaline Water purifiers will not help in hydration. Most of these Alkaline water purifiers with so called patented technology are nothing but simple Electrolysis machines with platinum electrodes. By artificially depleting the water of Hydrogen ions and making it alkaline,does not give it magical properties. And yes, you can make a better hydrating drink with some lemon juice and salt.
Water that has a low PH is toxic: (Misleading)
Sometimes plain water can have a low PH especially if it has Carbon dioxide dissolved in it. That does not make it toxic. Most of the healing supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, Malic acid from apples etc are acidic and nourishing.
So here is what you can do:
Ignore the PH, consider the source of the water.
If you are using Tap water and are staying in a city, use a RO unit if you can afford one. You can also buy a passive water purifier that should help rid the water of heavy metals, microbes and microbial cysts. If you are confident about the purity of water then go ahead and use it as it is.
If you are purchasing Bubble water or Pure water do remember that Pure RO water has low TDS. Water with very low TDS ( Total dissolved solids) can impact you negatively. Re-mineralize RO water by keeping it in an earthen pot. Better still add remineralization drops to RO water so as to make it healthy. Most of the remineralization drops will make the water slightly alkaline- so there you go. The minerals will help you heal and the Alkaline PH will make you feel better via the placebo effect ( Because you have been bombarded with messages about the healing effects of alkaline water )
Please Note: If you have a RO unit at home, it is recommended that you don’t use the inbuilt TDS bypass valve. Ask the technician to set the Bypass valve to 'off' position.
( Since very low TDS is not recommended, most RO units in the market today have a bypass valve which will control the amount of ordinary ( albeit filtered) water that gets mixed in your pure RO stream. Whilst this does increase the TDS, it could also contaminate your RO water with impurities from the raw water stream. )
Some RO Units also come with Mineral cartridge. If you are using one that comes with Mineral cartridge, make sure that it is from a reliable company and that it is replaced every couple of months.
What else can you do ?
1. Ensure that you minimize the use of plastics especially while storing water. Pure RO water would dissolve a higher quantity of the BPA and other Xenoestrogen like compounds from the containers. The best way to store your RO water is in stainless steel or glass containers.
2. Use certain medicinal barks for purifying water. e.g. Bark of Acacia, Indian Kino, Mango, Tulsi, Banyan can be wrapped in a cloth and this can be placed in water. However ensure that you change the water regularly and also replace the medicinal barks once a week
3. Add leaves of Basil, Mint, Lemon Grass or flowers of Hibiscus, Rose, Cassia fistula to a pot of drinking water. The leaves/ flowers have to be replaced daily and the container too has to be washed before adding fresh water.
4. You can use Moringa seeds wrapped in a cloth. You need to replace the seeds every 3-4 days.
5. Water purifying Ayurvedic herbs and powders are also available in the market.
6. You can also store water in Copper container for 6-8 hours or better still add a small copper coin to the water stored in glass or stainless steel container.
For feedback / Clarifications feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org