The Great Drinking Water Controversy – What You Need To Know


What constitutes healthy drinking water may be one of the longest-running controversies in the entire holistic health field. What is the “right” drinking water for human beings to consume?

There are those who insist that everyone should drink alkaline water. There are others, equally adamant that no one should drink alkaline water.

First, Let’s Bust A Few Myths:
Myth # 1:  “If you have been diagnosed with cancer, just drink alkaline water and alkalize your body, and all will be well.”  I wish it were that simple and that such an easy measure were a reliable way to overcome cancer.  Unfortunately, in the several decades that I have dedicated to helping people overcome cancer, I have not found that to be true.  Cancer is a complex disease that is almost always the result of a sort of “perfect storm” of multiple adverse conditions and not just a single cause.  So it makes sense that it almost always takes multiple measures to overcome it and restore health.

A companion myth that we need to bust right now is this: “Alkalize your body, and you can’t get cancer.”  If only it were true!

So what is true about alkalizing the body?  Having the proper PH balance in the body is crucial to health.  But it is far from the only thing you need to do to prevent cancer, let alone to overcome cancer.

Myth # 2:   You can take ordinary water that is not alkaline and add minerals to make it alkaline, and that solves the problem.  This statement is absolutely not true!  There may be some mineral formulations that are safe to add to good, clean drinking water to raise the alkalinity and convert it to healthy water.  But, if there are, I have not found them in over 20 years of looking.  In most cases, the primary mineral will be calcium carbonate because it is cheap and relatively abundant.  That is essentially ground up rocks!  We are not designed to metabolize rocks.  Do NOT put them in your body!

So far, the only really good way I have found to alkalize your drinking (and cooking) water is to run it through a high-quality water ionizer.  I love the higher end Kangen water ionizers. They are expensive, but I think they are worth it.  I know that statement will lead to contrary comments and controversy.  I am confident the best science available supports my analysis and my specific recommendations.  So, bring it on!

Myth # 3:  If you drink alkaline water, you will dilute your stomach acid, and interfere with good digestion and nutritional absorption.  This is a completely false statement that is based on a major false assumption!  It is true that many people suffer from a deficiency of stomach acid and have poor digestion as a result.  However, their poor digestion is NOT the result of drinking water or other liquids that have a high PH.

The fact is that ANYTHING you drink other than car battery acid, or something like that, is going to dilute your stomach acid.  I do NOT recommend drinking car battery acid!

The PH of the liquid in your stomach between approximately 1.5 and 3.5.  That is well into the strongly acidic range.  ANYTHING that you drink that is in that range is, at the very least, harmful to the lining of your esophagus and is not healthy to drink.

Keep in mind that 7.0 is the neutral point for PH and so is neither acidic nor alkaline.  Anything above that is alkaline, and anything below that 7.0 point is acidic.  The higher the number, the more alkaline the water.  The lower the number is, the more acidic the water.

Also, the scale is a “logarithmic scale” so the difference between 7.0 and 8.0 is not just 0.875% as it would be if this were a linear scale.  Each full integer difference on the scale, in either direction, represents a whole order of magnitude, or power of ten.  For example, a liquid with a PH of 5.0 is ten times more acidic than a liquid with a PH of 6.0

So if everything that is safe for us to drink would dilute the stomach acid, (not something we want to do), then what is the answer?  Simple – do most of your hydration away from meals. During meals drink just enough liquid to lubricate the esophagus so that well-chewed food can slide down without causing any irritation.  Of course, chew your food well so that it is in small particles and well mixed with saliva.  Chewing and mixing with saliva is where digestion really starts.

Do the bulk of your hydration well away from meals.  No closer than 30 minutes before a meal and no closer than 45 minutes after a meal.

Myth # 4:  You can use saliva or urine to measure the PH of the body. Not true! Both of these fluids fluctuate frequently and over a very wide range.  It is nearly impossible to take a PH value from these two fluids and interpret it in any way that sheds light on the overall PH of the body.  At the end of this blog post, I share a safe and reliable way to measure the PH of the body.  The blog post I link to explains exactly how to properly and accurately measure the average PH in your body.  The average PH of your body is what you want to measure and perhaps keep track of.

A Little More Background:
Different parts of the body are supposed to be at different PH levels.  For example, your healthy colon needs to be slightly acidic.  As mentioned above, the stomach is strongly acidic.  Our blood needs to be very close to a PH of 7.365.  The body will do just about anything to maintain that PH for our blood.  This includes leaching calcium from our bones to neutralize excess acid in the blood.  (This is a major cause of osteoporosis, by the way – the body leaching the calcium out of the bones to try to balance the PH of the blood.)

Most people these days are out of balance, leaning towards excess acidity.  This excess acidity is the result of too many foods and beverages that are not healthy, too much stress and many environmental factors, as well.  New evidence is emerging that suggests that over-exposure to wireless technology also may be contributing to this widespread and dangerous health challenge.  The consequences of excess acidity in the body, (or a PH that is too low), are nothing short of disastrous.

Perhaps paradoxically, a large segment of the population, particularly those over about 35 years of age have chronically insufficient stomach acid.  This leads to poor digestive health, inadequate nutritional absorption and can even suppress the immune system!  The reason I say this is paradoxical is that overall, their bodies often are too acidic, and they frequently suffer from acid reflux, AKA heartburn.

Of course, there are reliable and safe natural measures to solve both of these problems – heartburn and insufficient stomach acid.  The best measures are safer than pharmaceutical approaches, usually work far better, cost less and are free of side effects.

Stay tuned for an article detailing these the biochemistry involved and the best measures to address these common health issues.

On To Healthy Drinking Water:
In the myth-busting section above we saw that drinking water that has a high PH is NOT the problem that some claim.  In fact, it is not a problem at all for most people.

There is a tiny segment of the population whose biochemistry does not lend itself to drinking water that has a high PH.  This segment is so small that the chances you are in it are less than 0.00005%.  That works out to about five people per million.

These very few people who do not benefit from drinking water with a high PH almost always have characteristic health markers that are easy to detect.  Measuring the body’s PH, looking at a complete blood panel, and finding out about digestive patterns and performance provides a reliable indication.

So what do I recommend for drinking and cooking water?  I recommend a water ionizer.

I also strongly recommend that a pre-filter array should be installed ahead of the ionizer.  Although all good ionizers have a built-in filter, the sheer size and surface area of a filter that can fit within the ionizer limits that degree to which it can remove toxins.  It does not matter how good the water ionizer may be.  A pre-filter is still essential in most cases.  (If you are fortunate enough to have unusually pure water, that has not had chlorine, chloramine or fluoride added to it, then you may not need a pre-filter.  However, these days and in most areas of the U.S.A. that is rarely the case.

Because of the physical limitations of the built-in filters in any water ionizer, it makes sense to install a pre-filter system ahead of the water ionizer.  These days, considering what is inevitably in almost all tap water in the United States I recommend a 5-element array.  If you are renting, not planning to be in your present home long, consider a simple under-counter filter, which can be installed by a good handy person in an hour or less.

For such a filter, the elements should be in this order:

KDF/GAC; Bone Char; Bone Char; Bone Char; Chloramine

I have an article that details exactly what to order and how to install it.  The article is available on request.

Of course, this leaves the shower and rest of the house water unfiltered and still filled with chlorine and fluoride and most likely other toxins, as well.  To take care of that, I like the simple Pelican shower filters.  These are reasonable in cost, do a better job than most, and are easy to install.

If you own your own home or otherwise plan to be there for a longer time period, then a whole house filter array may be a better choice.  These are more expensive and more involved to install, but they offer significant benefits over the under-counter filter arrays.

The whole house system I recommend also is a five element filter array.  It is similar to the under-counter filter array, except that it is meant to be installed in the building’s fresh water system as close to the point of entry as possible.  It also includes a slight variation in the filter elements.  They are:

Sediment; KDF/GAC; Bone Char; Bone Char; Chloramine

For this whole house filter system, I also have an article that details exactly what to order and how it should be installed.  This article is available upon request.

Now that we have the water cleaned up let’s discuss water ionizers.

What Does A Water Ionizer Do?
There are quite a few water ionizers on the market these days.  They all work roughly the same way.  That does NOT, however, mean that the quality of the machine, ease of use, or longevity are the same!  Most importantly, the quality of the ionized water and the resultant health benefits vary widely between different water ionizers.

That said, let’s look at what they all do and how they work:  In almost all water ionizers these days, whether counter-top models or those meant for under-counter installation, the water flows into the unit when an external cold-water-only faucet is turned on.

First, the water, (which should also have gone through the 5-stage filter array discussed earlier in this article), enters the smaller filter that is part of the water ionizer and that is a built-in component.

Next, the water flows over metal plates that have an electrical current applied to them.  In the best water ionizers, these plates are made from titanium and coated with a thick coating of platinum plating.  Titanium is used to manufacture these plates, despite being a difficult and expensive metal to machine.  Titanium is used because it is nearly completely resistant to any form of corrosion from water or any minerals dissolved in the water.  It is essentially inert, and it does not lead to any health issues as other, less expensive metals certainly would.  The platinum coating is used despite costs because it is safe and does not cause any health issues.  Further, it is resistant to most forms of corrosion and is a very good conductor of electricity, which is needed for the electrolysis process to function properly.

Almost all water ionizers have a strong DC power supply built-in.  The power supply converts the alternating current from the wall socket to direct current.  The direct current is applied to the platinum coated, titanium plates described above.

The electrical current accomplishes three things:

1. It separates the water into acidic water and alkaline water.  There are two separate “discharge tubes” in most water ionizers.  The alkaline, or “high PH water” comes out of one discharge tube and the acidic water comes out the other.

I am repeating this because it is so important.  The high PH of the alkaline water is NOT generated by adding minerals to the water!  Doing so is NOT a way to generate healthy drinking water – quite the contrary!  Rather, the water is actually separated by the direct electrical current in the plates over which it flows into acidic water, which we can either discard or use for household cleaning, and high PH water which we use for drinking and cooking.

2. In addition to separating the water into acidic and alkaline, the direct electrical current has the effect of “micro-structuring” the water.  Here’s what that means:  Water that comes directly from the tap has no obvious structure in terms of how the water molecules are organized.  Rather, it is in loose blobs that contain 30 to 45 molecules each.  One might liken these to a blob of jello.  In contrast, “micro-structured” water is tightly organized into small clusters of 6 to 8 water molecules each.

Why is micro-structuring of the water so important for health?  Simple – trying to get a large blob of water molecules through a cell wall and into a cell to provide hydration at the cellular level is a real challenge.  This not only makes it difficult to efficiently and thoroughly hydrate the cells, but it also makes it difficult for the cells to use the water you drink to wash the metabolic waste products out of your cells.  Both functions, hydration and waste removal are absolutely crucial to cell health, which in turn is critical to overall health.

In contrast, the micro-structured water from a good water ionizer, being far smaller in overall size easily passes through cell membranes in both directions.  As a result, both hydration and cellular waste removal are far more efficient and effective.

3. Finally, the electrical current imparts a significant negative electrical charge to the water as it flows over the charged plates.  The alkaline water ends up with a strong negative charge. This strong negative charge turns the water into a powerful antioxidant.  There is a technical term for this negative charge that is imparted to the alkaline water.  It is called the “oxidative reduction potential” or “ORP.”  It is expressed as a negative number, representing millivolts.

In general, water ionizers that impart a charge or ORP factor greater than negative 300mv are reasonably good.  Higher is better.  (To be technical about it, a lower number is better, as ORP is properly expressed as a negative number.)  So the farther BELOW zero the ORP factor is, the better.  The one we use generates alkaline water that has an ORP factor of approximately -700, which is expressed in millivolts.  The full technical expression of the ORP factor for our machine is -700mv.

If you are dealing with or at high risk for a serious health condition it is best to invest the additional money in a water ionizer that generates water with an ORP factor of at least -600mv. Again, keep in mind that the farther below zero the ORP factor is, the more health benefits drinking that water confers. So -600mv is better than -300mv and -700mv is even better.

Practical Considerations:
The water ionizer can also be connected to a faucet that delivers both hot and cold water, such as a standard kitchen faucet.  However, I do not recommend this approach.  It makes it nearly impossible to include a pre-filter, (as discussed earlier in this article), a part of the overall system.  It also makes it too easy to accidentally run hot water through your water ionizer. This will not harm the actual ionizer, but it will ruin the built-in filter that is part of the water ionizer.  That filter will then have to be replaced before the system can be used again.

So Just What Do I Recommend?
I definitely recommend a 5-stage whole house filter array as detailed earlier in this article if possible.  When that is not an option, I recommend a 5-stage under counter filter array as detailed earlier in this article.  If a whole house filter is not an option, be sure also to install a good shower filter to remove and/or neutralize the chlorine and fluoride, which otherwise are absorbed into the body, right through the skin when bathing!

Next, I recommend a high-quality water ionizer to treat the drinking and cooking water once it has been through the primary filter.

Depending on where you plan to install your water ionizer and how the existing plumbing is configured, I may or may not recommend installing a separate faucet to feed cold only into the water ionizer.  This is fairly easy to do.

If you contact me and let me know that you need specifics for a whole house or under-counter filter, I will help you.  I will look up the county water reports for your area and then be able to make sure that the filter I recommend is the most appropriate to remove the known contaminants in your water.  The easiest way to contact me is to post your request in the comments section below this blog post.

Then you will need a water ionizer that is most appropriate to meet your needs.  I will need to know a little about who will be consuming the water, what health challenges they may face. Then I can include that in my recommendations for the best water ionizer to meet your needs.

To your great health!

Jeff Bell

P.S. Use this link to access my blog post that details how to accurately and reliably test your PH. (A crucial aspect of your health!) How To Properly Measure Your Body’s PH

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One Comment

  1. Jeff Bell
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Several people have pointed out that the water ionizers use electricity and that they, therefore, do not treat the water if and when there is a power failure. If you live in an area where power failures are frequent, and your power comes from “the grid”, this could be an issue.

    Of course, even during a power outage, you still have the benefits of well-filtered water.

    If power outages are a frequent problem in your area and household, you might consider a simple, inexpensive battery backup to maintain the water ionizer even when the normal power is not working. Here is one that is appropriate for this purpose: APC Back-UPS 425VA UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector (BE425M) These are readily available from many sources.

    (I am saving up to go solar and get completely free of PG&E and the power grid in my area. Until I am able to complete that project, I will rely on one of these battery backup systems, which are available for about 30 bucks.)

    To your great health!

    Jeff Bell

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