“Oxidation reduction potential” or “ORP” as it is referred to in the water ionizer industry, equals antioxidant potential.
While drinking alkaline water offers benefits over drinking regular tap or bottled water, the ORP (oxidation reduction potential) of the water is the true measure of its potential health benefits.
Alkaline water that has been produced by a water ionizer will have a high “negative ORP.” The “negative” implies the “reduction” power (oxidation reduction) of the water. Most tap and bottled water will have a positive ORP – some bottled alkaline water will have a slight negative ORP – but if you are looking for water that is not only alkaline but loaded with antioxidant properties, alkaline ionized water is the way to go.
There are a number of bottled waters on the market that claim to be “alkaline” and carry the negative charge which creates the negative ORP number, but none will compare to the water produced by a water ionizer.
These bottled versions of “structured” or “alkaline” or “antioxidant” water have been treated with a blend of minerals which interact to elevate the pH and interact with the water molecules to create a mild negative ORP. While these bottled waters are a better choice than regular tap water or common types of bottled water, they still don’t offer the more significant antioxidant potential found in water that has been “ionized.”
Water with the highest negative ORP is created by the process of electrolysis – an electrical current delivered to stimulate the separation of elements. Water ionizers are simply “water electrolysis” machines with filtration to remove common contaminants from the water for drinking. Every water ionizer has an electrolysis chamber containing highly conductive plates which deliver and electrical current to the water.
The electrical current delivered during the electrolysis – or ionization – process creates a separation of the elements that make up the water at a molecular level. The elements/minerals that carry a negative charge are drawn to one side of the chamber and those carrying a positive charge are drawn to another. The water with the negative charge is dispensed from one area of the water ionizer creating drinking water with a high number of negatively charged electrons – or high ORP (oxidation reduction potential.) Water containing the negatively charged electrons is released through a separate hose.
Through the ionization process, water with high ORP is created. Nothing has been “added” to the water and the water ionizer’s filtration system has removed most common contaminants like chlorine and VOC’s. The negative ions in the water, when consumed, actively seek out positively charged electrons in the body – oxidizing elements in our bodies – reducing oxidation that contributes to illness and age-related diseases – acting as an anti-oxidant.
Drinking alkaline water is definitely a step in the right direction. You are reducing your acid intake. And many bottled alkaline waters will carry a slightly negative charge, providing some antioxidant benefits. However you won’t find the full antioxidant potential in those bottled waters that you find in alkaline water produced by a water ionizer. At best you’ll have alkaline water with an ORP that is anywhere between -100 to -200.
The alkaline ionized water produced by most water ionizers will have an ORP of at least -300 at the 9.5 pH level recommended for drinking. Most water ionizers we’ve tested are producing an ORP of -450 to -600 at the 9.5pH level and -200 to -400 at the lower alkaline settings. That’s a big difference when compared to bottled alkaline water.
When stored, alkaline ionized water will begin to lose this negative charge – much like the bottled alkaline water found on the store shelf. Having a water ionizer gives you access to the freshest, strongest antioxidant water you can get. Even if you fill a couple of bottles to take with you for the day, the water you’ve produced using your water ionizer will still have more antioxidant potential than the bottled alkaline water you buy at the store or online. And special bottles are available which are designed specifically for maintaining the antioxidant properties
One more note – Every bottle of water you buy and consume means another bottle that will end up in the environment somewhere. While most water bottlers are making bottles that are more biodegradable, few people go through the “separation for recycling” process to ensure eco-friendly disposal. In addition to having healthier water to drink anytime and anywhere, bottling your own alkaline ionized water using a high quality stainless steel or glass bottle reduces the amount of plastic that will ultimately end up back in the environment.
On the surface, a case of alkaline water seems to cost less than buying a water ionizer – when you look at the long-term picture you easily get a different perspective.
Buying water off the shelf or online is a recurring cost – and you are limited by how many bottles you buy or can afford to buy. What do you drink the rest of the time? And what about the water you use for cooking? Clean, filtered, alkaline water for drinking but you boil your pasta in tap water? What do you give your pets to drink? And the kids? Just how much water are you buying and just how much unfiltered water is your household using on a day to day basis?
Water ionizers produce alkaline ionized water at several levels of pH, including a “neutral” level which is recommended for drinking with meals or when taking prescription medications. A water ionizer will produce the 9.5pH level recommended for drinking but most will also produce stronger with higher alkalinity and ORP which can be used for cooking, lower alkaline levels which are suitable for pets and small children. A water ionizer will also produce water at several acidic levels which can be used for cleaning, treating cuts, burns or skin conditions and has also proven to enhance hair shine and softness as well as the tone and texture of skin.
With a water ionizer you are never limited by how many bottles you have left. When making coffee, teas or using water for cooking you don’t have to choose between depleting your inventory of bottled water or just using chlorinated tap water.
Your upfront cost for a water ionizer will be more than that case of bottled water, but in the long run you save. Annual maintenance costs for most water ionizers run $150 to $250 for filter replacement. Some water ionizers have cleaning cartridge options available which will cost between $40 – $70 and are recommended for use at least once a year. Others offer a cleaning service which will cost you about the same when you factor in the cost of shipping the unit back for the service.
A good water ionizer will last 8 to 15 years and many now come with lifetime warranties covering the internal parts for as long as you own the unit – one company actually covers the cost of both parts AND labor for as long as you own one of their water ionizers.
If you are looking for an easy, casual option to do something that’s a little better for your body, bottled alkaline water is certainly an option. While drinking a couple of bottles a day is better than drinking a couple of bottles of tap or “regular” bottled water, the overall benefits will likely be minimal and maybe less than you really want for the investment.
If you are looking for both short and long term antioxidant benefits, alkaline ionized water is a better way to go. Once you have your water ionizer you have no restrictions on how much is available to you on a daily basis. Most people who make the switch from drinking a couple of bottles of store-bought alkaline water to drinking the equivalent of several bottles of alkaline ionized water a day notice the difference very quickly.
The higher ORP levels do a better job of reducing oxidizing toxins from the body. The molecular restructuring of the water makes it more readily absorbed by the body and therefore more hydrating. The ionization process makes the oxygen in the water more readily available increasing mental and physical energy levels.
Bottled alkaline water is a better option than tap or regular bottled water. Alkaline ionized water is going to give you a better return on the investment in your overall health in the long run.
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