Ionized water: how is it produced and what does it do?
Want to know more about the connection between ionization and quality drinking supplies? Time to take a look at the ionization process, what’s involved and some of the terminology relating to it.
Positively and negatively charged supplies
Rivers and streams – all water flows in fact – carry mineral particles with them. Many of these particles are as vital to your well-being as are the obvious nutrients that you obtain from good food.
When water is exposed to an electric current, the particles in it separate into positively-charged and negatively-charged ions. The positively charged ions such as magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium are drawn towards the negative electrode, while the negatively-charged ions (chlorine, sulfur and phosphorous for instance) are attracted to the positive electrode. The process is known as ionization or electrolysis.
This gives two basic streams of liquid for drinking or other uses – an alkaline supply, from around the negative electrode, and an acidic one, from the positively charged electrode. These can be measured on the pH scale, which is not only a way of rating the acidity or alkalinity levels of a substance, but in fact derives its name from the “potential of hydrogen”, the measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions. 7 is neutral, while the lower the number the more acidic the water; the higher the number, the more alkaline it is. Because the scale is logarithmic, it means that each point represents a tenfold increase.
Degrees of alkalinity and acidity
There has been interest in the qualities of both alkalinity and acidity with regard to health and well-being since research carried out by Nobel prize winner Dr. Otto Warburg during the 1930s and 1940s. Warburg’s observations led him to argue that disease was the result of oxygen starvation. His evidence indicated that shortage of oxygen caused cells to change to form of non-oxygen based energy that enabled them to survive, creating an acidic environment. The reverse was true too; Warburg argued that cancer could not survive in an oxygen rich environment.
Small degrees of difference in the pH of the blood, it’s believed, can make the difference between health and disease. At a slightly higher pH value, 7.45, for instance, the blood has 65% more oxygen than at a pH value of 7.3, when the blood is also thicker and more acid.
Many more discoveries have been made since Warburg’s day. Since then, too, the typical diet has become more processed, protein and sugar enriched, leading to even more issues due to acidity. And researchers have discovered that it’s not simply the fact that ionized water is more alkaline that makes the difference to well-being. There’s more to it than that.
What is ORP? And what other beneficial changes result from ionization?
Warburg’s ideas regarding alkalinity and the body are mainstream in parts of Asia. In Japan, it’s common for both alkaline and acid waters to be used in hospitals for specific purposes. There’s a difference in pH between the two, as discussed earlier; but after ionization, there’s also a change in molecular structure and what is known as ORP – the oxidation/reduction potential
This is a measurement of the oxidizing or reducing power of a solution, relating to the quantity of electrons available for exchange. A negative ORP measurement indicates a surplus of electrons, while positive ORP measurements indicate that the solution has the capability to acquire electrons. Why is this significant for health?
The solutions that need to acquire electrons have anti-oxidant qualities, while the donating solutions are oxidizing. Oxidation is the process that breaks down substances, whether it’s rust on metals or fruit and vegetables rapidly turning brown.
It’s a destructive process, and is vital for your health when, for instance, your immune system uses electron-stripping to deal with invading diseases, bacteria and so on. Once they’ve been dealt with, the opposite reaction, reduction, donates electrons in the form of antioxidants. This is why a good diet is key – that’s the only way you will acquire the right vitamins, enzymes and minerals to create sufficient anti-oxidants to deal with the threat. Otherwise the free radicals in your body will continue the oxidation process, causing damage to good tissue. In summary: antioxidants are providers of electrons to the free-radicals that require electrons so they stop the stripping of good cells.
The relationship between ORP and antioxidants
It should be clear by now that antioxidants are a key component of good health and that solutions with negative ORP measurements are also antioxidants. But how can you tell if the alkalized water has a sufficiently high ORP reading?
Take a look at these figures:
• The majority of bottled water has ORP values of between +150 and +300 milivolts
• The ORP of Tap water can be as high as +500
• Freshly juiced oranges have an ORP between - 200 and -100 (though it quickly loses its antioxidant power – that’s why the powerful antioxidant vitamin C is often added, since it stops the juice from oxidizing)
• Ionized water has an ORP of between -300 and -800
The type of oxygen in alkaline, or anti-oxidant water is different too. The higher the pH, the greater the oxygen content in the form of stable OH- molecules. This is also partly why the ionized liquid is more refreshing too.
Bicarbonate in our blood assists in a range of bodily functions from digestion to organ development via its buffering capacity, which decreases as we age. Supporting it by a more alkaline intake helps to neutralize destructive acid in the body, having a beneficial effect against disease and aging. A glass of alkaline liquid about 20 minutes before a meal can aid digestion.
Alkalinity and your unique microorganisms
There’s been a lot in the news lately about the importance of gut bacteria to health. The microorganisms in your intestines are unique to you and the friendly bacteria are nearly 100% anaerobic, so thrive in negative ORP values. Food and drink with negative ORP values support your microorganisms and create a balanced environment for beneficial microbial colonies.
Both alkaline and acid water have their appropriate uses, alkaline for drinking and acid for cleansing.