I didn’t retain much from my grade school science classes. Even in high school, I recall spending the majority of time passing gel pen embellished notes to my friends rather than learning. While I’ll rely on my fiance to teach our future children about the periodic table, geology, and weather, I do know some very basic scientific facts. One of these is that water is pretty important to human life. Our bodies are 60-80% water, and while we can go 3 weeks without food, we can only go 3-5 days without water and stay alive.
Sadly, in the past decade the quality of tap water has drastically decreased. We’ve seen increased pollutants, dangerously high lead levels, and discovered that 94% of our tap water is contaminated by microscopic-sized plastic fibers. Not awesome.
Enter the water industry, a world of filtration devices and systems, water enhancers, alkalizers, light irradiation, ultrasonication, and so on. The state of our water is a complicated matter that could honestly have it’s own blog with hundreds and hundreds of articles. Molly and I are just learning about the existing options for healthier, cleaner water, and we’ll continue to share with you as we learn. Recently, we were introduced to alkaline ionized water (“AIW” for the purposes of this post) by Cincinnatian Cat Harpen.
Cat loaned us a water ionizer unit for 2 weeks. The brand she sells is Enagic's Kangen Water Ionizer. Cat taught us that AIW is the product of mild electrolysis (which takes place in the unit itself). Electrolysis (I googled this one) is the chemical decomposition produced by passing an electric current through a liquid or solution containing ions. So, for the nonscientist, alkaline ionized water is tap water that has been filtered and modified. These modifications set AIW apart from tap water in three main ways: AIW is anti-oxidative, has a different pH level than tap water, and the micro-clusters are smaller.
1. pH (potential of hydrogen). A lot of what we put into our body is acidic (think: red wine). Sometimes we need our stomach acidic (during digestion). However, it is possible for our pH balance to get out of whack. Alkaline water can help balance this acidity.
2. Antioxidant: When we sit an apple on the counter for a few hours it turns brown because of oxidation. The same thing happens inside of our bodies to our cells, which is where antioxidants come into play and help reverse that process. The anti-oxidative properties of AIW can help reverse the negative impact of oxidation on our cells and bodies.
3. Smaller micro-clusters: Water molecules come in clusters rather than a single molecule. Tap water has large clusters of 12-16 molecules. AIW has 5-8 molecules per cluster which means the body can more easily absorb the water into the cells. This means better hydration.
Let me repeat, I’m not a scientist, nor do I enjoy science, so I won’t pretend to explain these topics to you in detail. If you want to learn more about this, head over to PubMed where there are over 300 articles on AIW and potential benefits. From my research, AIW seems particularly helpful for people with GI or stomach issues.
Like I said, we had the machine for 2 weeks. It is the size of a dictionary and hooks up to the faucet. You can adjust the Ph level for different kinds of water. For example, you can have the machine make “drinking water” which is highly alkalized, or you can have the machine make “cleaning water” which is highly acidic. Cat dropped off an entire manual with the machine which was helpful, and a binder full of peer-reviewed journal articles on AIW. Molly and I both thought the water tasted better than tap water and was lighter, which made it easier to chug. I got the flu for the first week we had the machine (unrelated to the machine), so it was hard to assess how I was feeling, but the second week I really did feel more hydrated. Proponents of AIW, including Cat, swear by the water and report a plethora of health benefits. Cat even travels with her Kangen water machine.
This was definitely an educational experience for both me and Molly. It made us really consider what the heck is in our water. If this intrigues you, I recommend linking up with Cat and trying AIW for yourself to see it’s helpful for you. Find her website here. Clean water is definitely an important part of a balanced healthy life.