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Drinking alkaline water


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#1 mdma

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 06:07 PM


Hi to all,

I came across an article about the benefits of drinking alkaline water and that really surprise me.

I understand that if the human body is made 70 % of water, it is logical to go down that path in attempt of anti-agng and overall health improvement.
But also, pure water has a ph of 7.0 and is therefore neutral, if nature did that it has to be for a reason.

Im just checking if any of you here that have better nutritional knowledge than i do, can share their opinon on that because it sure is intriguing.

#2 4eva

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 07:13 PM

Neutral pH water is the best for most situations. It you were dealing with excess stomach acid then alkaline water would be helpful; but there are also other ways to treat excess stomach acid.

If you don't have an excess acid problem and you drink alkaline water you may develop an excess acid problem. Your body will try to correct the low stomach acid caused by drinking alkaline water (maybe after a couple of days of it)by directing extra acid to your stomach.

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#3 niner

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 04:41 AM

I came across an article about the benefits of drinking alkaline water and that really surprise me.

I understand that if the human body is made 70 % of water, it is logical to go down that path in attempt of anti-agng and overall health improvement.
But also, pure water has a ph of 7.0 and is therefore neutral, if nature did that it has to be for a reason.

Im just checking if any of you here that have better nutritional knowledge than i do, can share their opinon on that because it sure is intriguing.

You probably read about something that is misleadingly called "alkalized" water. It might be called "electrolyzed" or "reduced" water in more scientific circles. While it may be slightly over pH 7, its activity appears to involve free radicals or possibly oxygen nanobubbles ( http://pmid.us/18977493 ). Here's a paper that talks about "active hydrogen" (hydrated mono-atomic hydrogen?)

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1997 May 8;234(1):269-74.
Electrolyzed-reduced water scavenges active oxygen species and protects DNA from oxidative damage.
Shirahata S, Kabayama S, Nakano M, Miura T, Kusumoto K, Gotoh M, Hayashi H, Otsubo K, Morisawa S, Katakura Y.

Institute of Cellular Regulation Technology, Graduate School of Genetic Resources Technology, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. sirahata@grt.kyushu-u.ac.jp

Active oxygen species or free radicals are considered to cause extensive oxidative damage to biological macromolecules, which brings about a variety of diseases as well as aging. The ideal scavenger for active oxygen should be 'active hydrogen'. 'Active hydrogen' can be produced in reduced water near the cathode during electrolysis of water. Reduced water exhibits high pH, low dissolved oxygen (DO), extremely high dissolved molecular hydrogen (DH), and extremely negative redox potential (RP) values. Strongly electrolyzed-reduced water, as well as ascorbic acid, (+)-catechin and tannic acid, completely scavenged O.-2 produced by the hypoxanthine-xanthine oxidase (HX-XOD) system in sodium phosphate buffer (pH 7.0). The superoxide dismutase (SOD)-like activity of reduced water is stable at 4 degrees C for over a month and was not lost even after neutralization, repeated freezing and melting, deflation with sonication, vigorous mixing, boiling, repeated filtration, or closed autoclaving, but was lost by opened autoclaving or by closed autoclaving in the presence of tungsten trioxide which efficiently adsorbs active atomic hydrogen. Water bubbled with hydrogen gas exhibited low DO, extremely high DH and extremely low RP values, as does reduced water, but it has no SOD-like activity. These results suggest that the SOD-like activity of reduced water is not due to the dissolved molecular hydrogen but due to the dissolved atomic hydrogen (active hydrogen). Although SOD accumulated H2O2 when added to the HX-XOD system, reduced water decreased the amount of H2O2 produced by XOD. Reduced water, as well as catalase and ascorbic acid, could directly scavenge H2O2. Reduce water suppresses single-strand breakage of DNA b active oxygen species produced by the Cu(II)-catalyzed oxidation of ascorbic acid in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting that reduced water can scavenge not only O2.- and H2O2, but also 1O2 and .OH.

PMID: 9169001

Another paper:

Biophys Chem. 2004 Jan 1;107(1):71-82.
The mechanism of the enhanced antioxidant effects against superoxide anion radicals of reduced water produced by electrolysis.
Hanaoka K, Sun D, Lawrence R, Kamitani Y, Fernandes G.

Bio-REDOX Laboratory Inc. 1187-4, Oaza-Ueda, Ueda-shi, Nagano-ken 386-0001, Japan. hanak@rapid.ocn.ne.jp

We reported that reduced water produced by electrolysis enhanced the antioxidant effects of proton donors such as ascorbic acid (AsA) in a previous paper. We also demonstrated that reduced water produced by electrolysis of 2 mM NaCl solutions did not show antioxidant effects by itself. We reasoned that the enhancement of antioxidant effects may be due to the increase of the ionic product of water as solvent. The ionic product of water (pKw) was estimated by measurements of pH and by a neutralization titration method. As an indicator of oxidative damage, Reactive Oxygen Species- (ROS) mediated DNA strand breaks were measured by the conversion of supercoiled phiX-174 RF I double-strand DNA to open and linear forms. Reduced water had a tendency to suppress single-strand breakage of DNA induced by reactive oxygen species produced by H2O2/Cu (II) and HQ/Cu (II) systems. The enhancement of superoxide anion radical dismutation activity can be explained by changes in the ionic product of water in the reduced water.

PMID: 14871602


There is something going on with this stuff that goes way beyond simple pH. The people who push it on the Internet mostly do not have a clue what they are dealing with. They describe it using grotesquely incorrect language, making it look like a complete scam.

Edited by niner, 15 August 2009 - 12:44 AM.


#4 rwac

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 07:09 AM

niner,

So why is it alkaline ?

Excess monoatomic hydrogen would make it acidic.

Hydroxyl ions would make it alkaline, but hydroxyl ions are not antioxidant.

Can you clarify ?

#5 stephen_b

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 09:15 PM

niner,

So why is it alkaline ?

I'm not certain, but I think that it's easier to reduce alkalized water than acidic. Perhaps that makes sense, since I don't think acids are good electron donors.

#6 niner

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 10:55 PM

So why is it alkaline ?

Excess monoatomic hydrogen would make it acidic.

Hydroxyl ions would make it alkaline, but hydroxyl ions are not antioxidant.

The alkalinity is (by definition) an excess of hydroxyl ions. Normally, when water dissociates you get a hydrogen ion (H+) and a hydroxyl ion (OH-). In this case, due to the electrochemistry that occurred, an electron got added to the hydrogen ion which turned it into atomic hydrogen, which is sometimes written as H. (H-dot) to show that it has one unpaired electron. It's also no longer a cation, but is electrically neutral. In this state, it's not able to recombine with the hydroxyl ions, so they wind up being in excess. One of the things that they showed in the first paper was that if you adjust the pH of the solution back down to neutral (7) using a buffer, all the antioxidant activity still remains. That shows that the hydroxyl ions have nothing to do with the activity. Essentially they are just a byproduct of producing the hydrogen atoms.

Hydrogen atoms are normally very unstable, at least in the gas phase, and they would quickly recombine to form molecular hydrogen (H2), liberating energy in the process. Something is happening here that is stabilizing them, and it doesn't sound like it's very well understood. The hydrogen atoms appear to be lured out of whatever sort of complex is stabilizing them when they encounter a free radical like superoxide anion (O2.-), and by combining with it convert it to a much less dangerous species. These hydrogen atoms are actually free radicals themselves, by virtue of having an unpaired electron, but they seem to be very benign. Instead of reacting with normal biomolecules and doing all sorts of damage, they only react with other radicals. When they recombine with other more nasty radicals, they form stable species that won't try to steal an electron from DNA or protein. This stuff seems like a good thing to me.

#7 rwac

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 01:20 AM

Sounds like this would be another candidate for a life extension study.

#8 bgwowk

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 08:17 AM

The alkalinity is (by definition) an excess of hydroxyl ions. Normally, when water dissociates you get a hydrogen ion (H+) and a hydroxyl ion (OH-). In this case, due to the electrochemistry that occurred, an electron got added to the hydrogen ion which turned it into atomic hydrogen, which is sometimes written as H. (H-dot) to show that it has one unpaired electron. It's also no longer a cation, but is electrically neutral. In this state, it's not able to recombine with the hydroxyl ions, so they wind up being in excess. One of the things that they showed in the first paper was that if you adjust the pH of the solution back down to neutral (7) using a buffer, all the antioxidant activity still remains. That shows that the hydroxyl ions have nothing to do with the activity. Essentially they are just a byproduct of producing the hydrogen atoms.

This doesn't make sense to me. If a hydrogen ion (H+) becomes a hydrogen atom (H-dot), the only way it could keep that electron long-term would be to take it from a hydroxyl ion (OH-) turning it into (0H-dot). So you'd end up with a solution of hydrogen radicals and hydroxyl radicals, not hydroxide (OH-). However you don't really get a solution of those radicals because the tendency of H-dot radicals produced at the cathode is to practically instantly join other H-dot radicals to make H2 hydrogen gas.

The best discussion I've seen of this whole "alkaline water" or "electrolyzed water" craze is here

http://www.chem1.com/CQ/ionbunk.html

There's a lot of chemistry nonsense in promotion of these ideas. Even if as you say, niner, the whole pH issue is irrelevant to what is "really" going on, I still haven't heard an explanation for the health utility of electrolyzed water that makes chemical sense. The free-radical scavenging claims don't make any more sense to me than the pH claims.

#9 niner

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 05:56 PM

The alkalinity is (by definition) an excess of hydroxyl ions. Normally, when water dissociates you get a hydrogen ion (H+) and a hydroxyl ion (OH-). In this case, due to the electrochemistry that occurred, an electron got added to the hydrogen ion which turned it into atomic hydrogen, which is sometimes written as H. (H-dot) to show that it has one unpaired electron. It's also no longer a cation, but is electrically neutral. In this state, it's not able to recombine with the hydroxyl ions, so they wind up being in excess. One of the things that they showed in the first paper was that if you adjust the pH of the solution back down to neutral (7) using a buffer, all the antioxidant activity still remains. That shows that the hydroxyl ions have nothing to do with the activity. Essentially they are just a byproduct of producing the hydrogen atoms.

This doesn't make sense to me. If a hydrogen ion (H+) becomes a hydrogen atom (H-dot), the only way it could keep that electron long-term would be to take it from a hydroxyl ion (OH-) turning it into (0H-dot). So you'd end up with a solution of hydrogen radicals and hydroxyl radicals, not hydroxide (OH-). However you don't really get a solution of those radicals because the tendency of H-dot radicals produced at the cathode is to practically instantly join other H-dot radicals to make H2 hydrogen gas.

Note that this is an electrochemical system where electrons are being supplied via the negative electrode. There's no need for the hydrogen ion to steal an electron from a hydroxyl ion. If those ions did come in contact, they would recombine to form water rather than dissociate into two radicals. The vast majority of H-dot radicals would combine with other H-dot radicals to form H2 as you suggest, but there is apparently a small amount of "leakage" in the process, where some H-dot species are stabilized in some way.

The best discussion I've seen of this whole "alkaline water" or "electrolyzed water" craze is here

http://www.chem1.com/CQ/ionbunk.html

There's a lot of chemistry nonsense in promotion of these ideas. Even if as you say, niner, the whole pH issue is irrelevant to what is "really" going on, I still haven't heard an explanation for the health utility of electrolyzed water that makes chemical sense. The free-radical scavenging claims don't make any more sense to me than the pH claims.

Sadly, that "debunking" site is providing the Chem 101 explanation of standard water chemistry, apparently without actually reading any of the published papers on ERW (Electrolyzed Reduced Water). It's probably a reasonable response to the large number of internet quack sites that tout "ionized" or "alkalized" water without any understanding of what it is, and further without any understanding of standard water chemistry. If the quacks understood even the basics of water chemistry, they would know how idiotic they sound, and they might take some pains to get the details right. As to the health utility of ERW, I can only point to one published study in humans (here), some mouse work and in vitro work; not that much to go on. Mechanistically, if you have a solution of stabilized H-dot, it will act like an antioxidant in that it will combine with free radical species resulting in paired-electron systems. One key to understanding this is the realization that H-dot can exist in solution in a form that is quite robust to degradation. (Shirahata ref above) Given that, the antioxidant activity could be as simple as H-dot + Molecule-dot -> Molecule-H, or Molecule: + (H+)

#10 Brainbox

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 09:21 PM

Maybe the point Brian is trying to make is that it's not possible to create an equilibrium (or change an existing one) that way? At least that's my big question.

If a H+ ion receives an electron from the electrolysis process, this can only happen if there's a flowing current, so there also must be electrons disappearing from the water at the other electrode. And since electrical current flows with the speed of light, it cannot happen that there's a surplus of electrons at any given time due to some form of time lag? And after the current is removed, to what equilibrium would the water return?

Or what am I missing? Probably a lot :)

Edited by Brainbox, 06 September 2009 - 09:24 PM.


#11 niner

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 12:56 AM

Maybe the point Brian is trying to make is that it's not possible to create an equilibrium (or change an existing one) that way? At least that's my big question.

If a H+ ion receives an electron from the electrolysis process, this can only happen if there's a flowing current, so there also must be electrons disappearing from the water at the other electrode. And since electrical current flows with the speed of light, it cannot happen that there's a surplus of electrons at any given time due to some form of time lag? And after the current is removed, to what equilibrium would the water return?

Or what am I missing? Probably a lot :)

There's an equilibrium for the dissociation of water; H2O = (H+) + (OH-) The concentrations of the products are governed by the dissociation constant for water, such that the product of the molarities of the ions is a constant, equal to 1e-14. [H+][OH-] = 1e-14. If you remove H+ from the equilibrium, then there will be a compensating change in the concentration of OH-. This is an example of Le Chatelier's principle. By adding electrons to the system from an external source and removing some of the H+, the concentraion of OH- has to increase by a corresponding amount. The confusion arises, I suspect from the following question: If some of the H+ is removed, how do you get more OH- without also creating more H+ in the process? To answer this, we need to consider what else is happening in the system.

The electrons here are not moving at the speed of light. There are concentration gradients of all the relevant species around each electrode. Mostly the electrolytic reaction is creating H2 and O2 gas, which bubbles away from the system. Also, in order to get adequate conductivity, there will need to be some other ions around, for example, a bit of sodium sulfate. These primarily act as charge carriers but have their own equilibria that they also engage in. So, if some of the H+ is removed, how do you get more OH- without also creating more H+ in the process? The answer, I suspect, is that other equilibria are being nudged in order to compensate. For example, a sulfate ion might latch onto an excess proton. There are a lot of side reactions occurring here besides the fundamental electrolysis reaction. The concentration of the H-dot species, in whatever form it exists (perhaps some sort of complex with one or more waters, but I'm only speculating), is likely to be very low. The electrolysis of water seems pretty simple on the surface, but there is a lot of complicated chemistry occurring in minor side reactions. Just so we don't get too stuck on the hydroxide ions, recall that when the pH of the solution was buffered back to 7.0, the SOD-like activity was unchanged. Hope this is helpful...

#12 bgwowk

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 03:16 AM

What I couldn't understand is that getting H-dot generated at the cathode is impossible without electrons leaving something else at the anode. This makes electrolytic production of H-dot in water without something else getting produced along with it stoichiometrically impossible.

To figure this out, I did something that I often find useful when researching specialized or obscure technical topics. Instead of searching the garbage-filled World Wide Web, I searched the world's libraries using Google Books. If something is established scientific knowledge, it should be there. I found the following the book chapter

http://books.google....eli..."&f=false

A textbook would have been more credible, but this review article was at least a clear explanation.

H-dot generated at the cathode is balanced by O2 generated at the anode. It's claimed that H-dot radicals are somehow stabilized by "absorbing or adsorbing" on a "microcluster of minerals". I can't rule that out.

It's sort of like cold fusion. There seems to be a small number scientists in Japan who've published actual measurements of unusual antioxidant activity of "reduced water". But the underlying theoretical mechanism is still unclear. Believing that such water could have health benefits against the background of the body's much larger natural endogenous antioxidants seems a further leap. Also, I don't see how activated hydrogen requiring mineral particles for stabilization could ever leave the digestive tract.

#13 niner

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 03:55 AM

What I couldn't understand is that getting H-dot generated at the cathode is impossible without electrons leaving something else at the anode. This makes electrolytic production of H-dot in water without something else getting produced along with it stoichiometrically impossible.

To figure this out, I did something that I often find useful when researching specialized or obscure technical topics. Instead of searching the garbage-filled World Wide Web, I searched the world's libraries using Google Books. If something is established scientific knowledge, it should be there. I found the following the book chapter

http://books.google....eli..."&f=false

A textbook would have been more credible, but this review article was at least a clear explanation.

H-dot generated at the cathode is balanced by O2 generated at the anode. It's claimed that H-dot radicals are somehow stabilized by "absorbing or adsorbing" on a "microcluster of minerals". I can't rule that out.

It's sort of like cold fusion. There seems to be a small number scientists in Japan who've published actual measurements of unusual antioxidant activity of "reduced water". But the underlying theoretical mechanism is still unclear. Believing that such water could have health benefits against the background of the body's much larger natural endogenous antioxidants seems a further leap. Also, I don't see how activated hydrogen requiring mineral particles for stabilization could ever leave the digestive tract.

I'm not sure what he means by a "microcluster of minerals". If we hypothesize that it is a few nm in size, then the bioavailability problem would probably go away. From my reading of the book chapter, it sounded like this was kind of speculative. They also mentioned nm-sized bubbles. The mechanism of stabilization might be one of a variety of things. A stabilized hydrogen radical is in many ways the perfect species to de-activate an unstable free radical in vivo without itself doing damage to biomolecules. In that regard, the health benefits seem at least plausible to me, and there is some published evidence to that effect. I don't get the impression that these effects are huge; they seem on par with other known antioxidants. The physical properties of the hydrogen atom make it interesting in a theoretical pharmacology sense.

Shirahata's chapter, and the one that followed it, seem to be tinged with a quackishness that didn't come through in Shirahata's journal abstract. It's possible this is a cultural artifact. The comparison with Cold Fusion fits in a variety of ways: There are electrochemists involved. Everyone thinks it's fraudulent. There appears to be something to it. It seems to generate a large following in the kook world, which doesn't help it's acceptance elsewhere.

#14 Brainbox

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 06:30 PM

Hope this is helpful...

Yes, although I do not understand it completely yet. Nor believe it. That the presence of various electrolytes are able to induce different Ph values in the GI tract is familiar, but this seems to be something else. Although it seems that impurities in the water are essential. Btw., do these water device work with ac or dc current? - I did assume dc.... which is also implied by your explanation?

Edited by Brainbox, 08 September 2009 - 06:30 PM.


#15 niner

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 10:00 PM

Hope this is helpful...

Yes, although I do not understand it completely yet. Nor believe it. That the presence of various electrolytes are able to induce different Ph values in the GI tract is familiar, but this seems to be something else. Although it seems that impurities in the water are essential. Btw., do these water device work with ac or dc current? - I did assume dc.... which is also implied by your explanation?

Well, it's probably not good to believe things that you don't fully understand, but then you would probably have to not believe in the functionality of your cell phone or the action of resveratrol on mammals by that standard as well. This doesn't have anything to do with pH in the GI tract, or pH at all, for that matter. Buffering the solution to pH 7 has no effect on the SOD-like behavior. I'm not sure that impurities in the water are essential. There is probably a need for charge carrier ions such as Na2SO4. There's a speculation that mineral clusters are involved in hydrogen atom stabilization, but it's only a speculation. It would be easy to test by starting with highly pure water. I would think that an electrolyzer would be DC, otherwise there would be a rising and falling voltage at each electrode, and the anode and cathode would also switch back and forth. I would expect this to work poorly if at all, or if it did work, it would generate an explosive mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gas at each electrode.

#16 KidCharlemagne

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 08:46 PM

Ray Kurzweil is a big proponent of drinking ionized water and you can read his response to critics of it here:

http://glowing-healt...aine-water.html


His answers his critics point by point and I'll put Kurzweil's mind against your typical MD's any day.

I'm considering building a DIY water ionizer since they are REALLY expensive.

#17 niner

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 09:48 PM

Ray Kurzweil is a big proponent of drinking ionized water and you can read his response to critics of it here:

http://glowing-healt...aine-water.html

His answers his critics point by point and I'll put Kurzweil's mind against your typical MD's any day.

Unfortunately, Kurzweil gives a rather ignorant explanation of the phenomenon that a real scientist could poke holes in. He implies that the reducing potential of the water is due to hydroxide ions, which is provably false. Sadly, Kurzweil doesn't know what he's talking about here. He is probably right that the substance is beneficial, but if so, he is right for the wrong reasons. I have to wonder what this bodes for everything else he's been saying...

#18 Shepard

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 09:58 PM

Kurzweil shouldn't be considered an authority on health just because he's Kurzweil. The fact that he claims to take some 250 supplements a day should raise a flag for anyone with a healthy respect for biochemistry.

Edited by Shepard, 23 September 2009 - 09:58 PM.


#19 KidCharlemagne

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:00 PM

Kurzweil shouldn't be considered an authority on health just because he's Kurzweil. The fact that he claims to take some 250 supplements a day should give anyone a pause with a healthy respect for biochemistry.


No he shouldn't. But he does address all the claims of quackery with thoughtful logical answers. I'd be very interested in seeing counters to his responses.




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