How Alkaline Water Works in the Body

How Alkaline Water Works in the Body


If you buy into the concept that drinking alkaline water reduces acids in your body and balances your body’s pH, then you could just as easily buy into the concept that drinking alkaline water is bad for you – or that drinking alkaline water does nothing because it’s neutralized by stomach acids.

The statement “drinking alkaline water will make you more alkaline” is an over-simplification most often made by well-intentioned yet overzealous individuals who have experienced positive results from drinking this water.  Before deciding that drinking alkaline water is good or bad for you it is important to understand how alkaline water works in the body.

Alkaline Water vs. Alkaline Ionized Water

The first step is to understand the difference between “alkaline water” and “alkaline ionized” water.

Alkaline water is actually quite abundant.  In many areas, mostly hard water areas, alkaline water is available right from your tap.  The high level of alkaline minerals found in the water make it alkaline.  In St. Petersburg, Florida my tap water averages between 8.5 and 9.0 pH – and I’ve tested it as high as 9.5 at times.   Alkaline water is simply water that is above “neutral” on the 0 – 14 pH scale.

Alkaline ionized water is water that has been altered through the process of electrolysis.  The electrical charge the water receives in the electrolysis chamber gives hexagonal wateralkaline ionized water several unique properties -

  • Smaller water molecule clusters
  • Hexagonal structure
  • Lower surface tension
  • Negative electrical charge (referred to as negative ORP and/or anti-oxidant potential)
  • Higher availability of minerals for absorption

Also, every “real” water ionizer sold by any company will have an internal filtration system designed to remove common contaminants that are found in most tap water.

Yes – the alkalinity of the water you drink can have some impact on the body’s pH.  The bigger reality is that the interplay of the unique properties of ionized water are responsible for the health benefits touted by the “alkaline water” industry.

Acidity, Health and the Ionized Factor

Our bodies have a natural pH buffering system.  Free radicals and the formation of acids in the body are natural and are expected as the result of physical exertion, stress – even the digestive process.   As acids are formed the body begins neutralizing and eliminating them to restore balance.  When the level of acidity and toxins reach levels beyond the body’s capacity to neutralize and eliminate them properly we begin noticing changes in our health.  While subtle at first, over time this results in signs of premature aging, the onset of age-related diseases, a weakened immune system and other chronic health problems.

One of the most beneficial properties of alkaline ionized water is the negative electrical charge of the water.  This is most often represented as ORP or “oxidation reduction potential.”  A negative ORP indicates antioxidant properties – or in simpler terms, the ability to reduce/eliminate toxins.

Alkaline ionized water produced by water ionizers will have a negative ORP.  This negative ORP is created through the process of electrolysis – or in industry terms “ionization.”

The electrolysis or “ionization” chamber of a water ionizer contains electrodes (referred to as “plates” in the industry) which deliver an electrical charge based on the amount of power being delivered to the unit.  As water passes through the electrolysis chamber the electrical charge causes the H2O molecule to “disassociate” whereby the two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom split into one hydrogen atom (+H) and one oxygen atom with a negative hydroxyl ion (-OH).

Water containing +H and minerals with a positive charge are drawn to one side of the chamber (acidic) and water containing -OH and minerals with a negative charge are drawn to the other (alkaline).  The negatively charged alkaline water is dispensed for drinking and the positively charged acidic water is released through a secondary outlet hose.

The negatively charged alkaline ionized water will have a negative ORP giving it antioxidant properties making it “antioxidant water.”  The antioxidant properties of the water help the body eliminate toxins and waste that create excess acidity in the body – which helps the body achieve a healthier pH balance.

Water Structure & Absorption

Most drinking water – bottled, tap or otherwise – is made up of largely unstructured water molecules in clusters of 13 – 20 molecules.  During the ionization/electrolysis process, the water molecules are re-structured into smaller clusters of hexagonally structured molecules.

The smaller cluster size and hexagonal structure of alkaline ionized water results in higher absorption.  Not only is the body better able to absorb the water but it is also better able to absorb the minerals contained in the water.  The higher absorption rates of ionized water are why you should not take prescription medications or Niacin supplements with ionized water.  Anything delivered along with the water will penetrate the bloodstream and cells of your body better.   Taking regular aspirin with strong alkaline water for a headache may be the best way to test this for yourself.   Many people report that they can actually feel the aspirin working in their system in as little as 5 to 10 minutes.

With higher absorption rates, cells are better and more quickly hydrated.  The water is better able to penetrate your system and the antioxidant properties are able to do their job drawing out toxins for elimination.

Impact on Health

The most common reported benefits of drinking alkaline ionized water are increased energy levels, reduced blood pressure, regulated blood sugar, increased ability to fight seasonal colds & flu and improved skin texture and tone.

When the body has excess toxins and waste, blood oxygen levels are lower and key resources in the body are diverted from their intended targets in attempts to eliminate toxins and reduce acidic waste.  Organs begin fall from optimal levels of function and you begin to experience mental and physical fatigue.  Over time, symptoms of age-related diseases like high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes and cardio-vascular disease begin to appear.

Low absorption rates of most drinking water don’t allow for full hydration of cells so skin begins to lose its tone and texture and begins to dry out which can make us look older.  Calcium, a key mineral used by the body to reduce acidity and regulate organ and muscle function is used at a higher rate and the body will eventually begin to draw more calcium from bones and teeth.

Effective hydration coupled with the antioxidant properties of alkaline ionized water allows for better absorption of the water and aids the body’s efforts to reduce toxins.  Calcium, magnesium and other minerals found in drinking water are more readily absorbed by the body for use in the blood, organs and muscle tissue.

As toxins and waste are more effectively neutralized and eliminated from the body, acidity is also reduced, balancing the body’s pH.