An ever-popular topic, alkaline ionized water is often subject to a lot of false information. Some people claim it’s a fad without any scientific basis, and others claim it is capable of facilitating miraculous recoveries from terminal illnesses.
However, neither of these viewpoints is correct. The health benefits offered by alkaline ionized water are in fact strongly supported by a wide collection of scientific studies, but at the same time, none of them has shown conclusive evidence for it’s ability to outright cure chronic illnesses (although they may help with subduing them).
So, if most of the information on the topic is biased or false, how can you find out the facts? Well, that’s what we’re here for, and to clear out any stigma or inaccuracies let’s look at the genuine health benefits of alkaline ionized water and the studies that support them.
Alkaline Ionized Water Health Benefits
Alkaline ionized water, also known as electrolyzed reduced water, is infamous for the likes of reversing ageing, curing cancer and providing boundless energy. However, as you may have guessed these claims are somewhat exaggerated from reality.
If the terms we’ve used so far have left you feeling a bit confused or unsure, check out our overview of alkaline ionized water. This will provide you with all the background information you need to get the most out of this article.
Yet, despite that, they do have roots planted in real benefits that have been assessed and proven by a multitude of studies and experiments. So, what are the genuine health benefits that can be offered by alkaline ionized water?
The proven benefits of alkaline ionized water include:
- Reduction of oxidative damage to DNA, RNA and proteins
- Suppressed growth of cancerous cells and microorganisms
- Telomere shortening in cancer cells
- Reduction of neurodegeneration
- Reduction of blood viscosity, increasing Oxygen supply
- Reduction of bone resorption
- Reduction of acid reflux triggered damage through pepsin deactivation
Beyond this list, other benefits have been theorised, and are currently being researched further. However, for now, let's look in a bit more detail at a few of the proven benefits and the studies around them.
Alkaline Ionized Water vs Cancer
Among that list of benefits, you’ll have seen numerous items linked to the effect of alkaline ionized water on cancerous cells. From suppressing growth to preventing their formation, numerous studies have been conducted in this area.
One of the most interesting of these is a study by Shirahata et al carried out in 1999 that investigated telomere shortening in cancer cells.
A telomere is effectively a cap found at the end of any strand of DNA. It helps to protect the DNA structure, preventing it from being damaged and mutating.
However, as we age, our telomeres shorten as a result of cell reproduction (mitosis), and when they become too short, the cells they reside in can no longer reproduce, resulting in their degeneration and eventual destruction in the body.
The DNA strands in cancer cells also contain telomeres. However, to enable their constant high reproduction rate, cancer cells readily use a protein called telomerase to bind additional material (RNA chains) to their telomeres, preventing them from ever becoming too short.
In Shirahata’s study, it was shown that the binding action of telomerase was inhibited within a medium containing electrolyzed reduced water. As a result, the telomeres in cancer cells began shortening with each cell division, eventually causing their degeneration.
What does this mean for you? Well, in summary, it means that by drinking alkaline ionized water you can limit the amount cancer cells can reproduce. Potentially slowing their growth rate and reducing some of the short term risks.
Another study by Lee, M.Y, Kim, Y.K & Ryoo, K.K et al in 2006 also looked into the impact of alkaline ionized water in the battle against cancer, but from a very different angle.
Instead of focusing on its impact on cancer cells, this study instead researches how alkaline ionized water can limit DNA damage from oxidative stress. In simpler terms, it looks at how alkaline ionized water can be used to prevent certain types of cancerous growths from forming in the first place.
To explain the science behind the study, oxidative stress is the term used when referring to an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. In particular, it is used when there are too many free radicals in the body and an insufficient supply of antioxidants to combat them.
Why does this matter? Well, put simply, free radicals are unstable molecules that react with other molecules very easily. They can even react with biomolecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins causing damage and mutations.
Therefore, ensuring the body doesn’t experience oxidative stress is important. However, that’s easier said than done, as many of us have insufficient amounts of antioxidants in our diet, even though they do an amazing job at limiting free radical activity.
However, that’s where alkaline ionized water has relevancy, as, by nature, it is very rich in antioxidants. As a result, simply through drinking it, we improve our body’s chances in the ongoing fight against free radicals.
Thanks to the various experiments carried out in Lee, M.Y, Kim, Y.K & Ryoo, K.K et al’s study this expected impact has been proven to be effective. Therefore, alkaline water isn’t only beneficial for people suffering from cancer, it can help all of us reduce the chances of experiencing it entirely.
Reduction of Bone Resorption
Moving away from the battle against cancer, alkaline ionized water also has a strong reputation for preventing osteoporosis as we age. This claim is perhaps a bit broad, but it has been shown in this study to reduce bone resorption.
Now, you may well be wondering, what that is and if it’s good or bad. So, let’s start by covering those fundamentals.
|What is Bone Resorption?|
Bone resorption is the process by which bones are broken down and absorbed back into the body. The process is caused by osteoclasts, which break down bone tissue, causing the release of calcium and phosphorous into the bloodstream. The condition is typically developed in the elderly or individuals consuming an insufficient amount of calcium in their diet.
Based on that definition, it’s quite clear that bone resorption is a condition to be avoided, as it directly contributes to the weakening of bone structure and density over time.
Luckily it can be resisted by consuming a sufficient amount of calcium. However, over time a calcium sufficient diet alone is not enough to limit bone resorption.
Therefore, the results of the study by Emma Wynn et al are particularly interesting, as they show drinking alkaline water that is rich in bicarbonate led to a decrease in PTH (parathyroid hormone). A hormone that indicates low calcium levels when secreted in larger amounts.
Reduction of Neurodegeneration
In a similar vein to reducing bone resorption, alkaline ionized water has also been shown to reduce neurodegeneration. In particular, a study by Kashiwagi et al in 2005 indicated that electrolyzed reduced water was effective at combating apoptosis of neural cells caused by oxidative stress.
Once again oxidative stress rears its ugly head, and once again alkaline ionized water is its bane. This is particularly relevant, as apoptosis of neural cells induced by oxidative stress has been linked as a cause for various brain diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Reduction of Damage Caused by Acid Reflux
Beyond helping with some of the more serious conditions we can develop in our lives, alkaline ionized water can alleviate symptoms for minor illnesses too.
A good example of this is its impact on reducing some of the damage caused by acid reflux disease. Based on previous research it has been shown that the enzyme, pepsin, causes a lot of the damage from this condition instead of the acid itself.
However, despite the harm it causes, pepsin can actually be denatured and neutralised by water that has a strong enough alkalinity. Therefore, to test out the potential benefits, a study was carried out to test alkaline water’s ability to limit pepsin activity.
The study uncovered a strong trend that alkaline water could deactivate pepsin and as a bonus, it acts as a buffer against the Hydrochloric acid, which is the other primary damage contributor within individuals suffering from acid reflux.
Reduction of Blood Viscosity
Alkaline ionized water can also be useful for simply improving standard bodily functions. A good example of such a benefit was uncovered in this study conducted in 2016, which looked into the relationship between alkaline water and blood viscosity.
By inducing dehydration through exercise, the study was able to show a difference in blood viscosity after dehydration between 2 groups who re-hydrated with different types of water.
One group was given alkaline water and the other group only consumed regular purified water. In the end, the latter group only experienced a reduction in high shear viscosity by an average of 3.36%.
The group given alkaline water, on the other hand, experienced a reduction of 6.30% on average. As a result, it’s quite easy to conclude that alkaline water helped to decrease blood viscosity beyond typical levels, which in turn allows for better blood flow and oxygen circulation throughout the body.
An Ongoing Story
Ultimately, the entire truth of alkaline ionized water is still being unravelled and lots of research is still being conducted into it. The limits of its impact may not even be in sight yet, which makes it all the more interesting.
Currently, we don’t fully understand what causes some of the health benefits associated with alkaline ionized water and this is one key piece of the puzzle that needs to be cracked.
However, despite some gaps, there’s no doubt that alkaline ionized water does offer quite an array of health advantages over other forms of water.
Will it cure cancer? For most people, no. However, can it help to prolong life, protect us from a variety of chronic illnesses and improve how our body functions? Undoubtedly, yes.
Alkaline ionized water might not be the source of miracles, but for any health-conscious individual it’s a must-have and investing in it can prove to be much cheaper and achievable than extreme diets or exercise regimens.