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Opinion | Apr 26, 2018

Alkalinity Water and FDA: Is it All Hype?

Alkalinity Water and FDA: Is it All Hype?

Clean, pure water is a cornerstone of good health. Your body is mostly water, so the ongoing intake of water is essential to your every function.

But beyond water filtration, there's also the issue of pH - alkaline versus acidic water. There are quite a few astonishing health claims being made about alkaline water, but are they true? The theory behind alkaline water is, in a nutshell, that alkaline (ionized) water is a powerful antioxidant with surplus electrons that can "mop up" the dangerous free radicals you have coursing through your veins. Marketers claim alkaline water can correct excess acidity in your tissues, which can then prevent or reverse cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.

The FDA Recent Statement on Alkaline Water
Recently, The FDA issued a statement on alkaline water to be accessed at . According to the story, The Food and Drugs Authority have cautioned the public to disregard claims that water with higher PH level [Alkaline Water] “prevents the onset of cardiovascular and other diseases”.

A statement signed by Ag. Chief Executive Officer of the Authority, Delese A.A. Darko, indicated there is no evidence as yet that supports the claims made in a viral video purporting that water with high PH [more alkaline] is better for health reasons than other brands which are less alkaline. “There is no documented peer review evidence which has been internationally accepted and endorsed by the WHO and the Medical Community indicating that drinking water of more alkaline nature impact good health better than other drinking water”, it stated.

The statement further explains that drinking water as standardized by the World Health Organization (WHO), CODEX and the Ghana Standards Authority should have a PH level ranging between 6.5 and 8.5. Per the statement, any water that falls outside the range is not suitable for drinking.

Review on Alkaline Water

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Let me begin by stating clearly and congratulate the FDA for their response on this... But as a concerned citizen; I have decided to provide the FDA with some studies on alkaline water for their perusal and further action on their response again on these studies. “There is no documented peer review evidence which has been internationally accepted and endorsed by the WHO and the Medical Community indicating that drinking water of more alkaline nature impact good health better than other drinking water”. The FDA says.

And since the topic it addresses is so fundamental and so important to health and has already generated hundreds of queries. If you base objections around the claims of marketers, you can throw out virtually any health alternative. Just because marketers make silly claims for alkaline water doesn't mean that it doesn't have real benefits, and therefore, we shouldn't throw the baby out with the alkaline bath water so to speak. In truth, there are very, very few legitimate scientific studies about the effects of alkaline water on human health. That said, there is "in truth" far more scientific evidence in support of alkaline water. Yes, most of it involves animal studies, but there are over two dozen of them, which are human studies. And even the pioneer Mayo clinic acknowledges the potential of alkaline water to slow bone loss in the article “Is alkaline water better for you than plain water? To be accessed

Here are just a handful studies for FDA to go through and accessed for both human and animals and respond appropriately as this subject is very significant.

Human Studies:

  1. Selective stimulation of the growth of anaerobic microflora in the human intestinal tract by electrolyzed reducing water
  2. Acid-base balance and hydration status following consumption of mineral-based alkaline bottled water by Daniel P Heil Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010,7:29
  3. Enhanced induction of mitochondrial damage and apoptosis in human leukemia HL-60 cells due to electrolyzed-reduced water and glutathione By Tsai CF et al Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Feb;73(2):280-7. Epub 2009 Feb 7.
  4. Protective mechanism of reduced water against alloxan-induced pancreatic beta-cell damage: Scavenging effect against reactive oxygen species . by Li Y et al Cytotechnology. 2002 Nov;40(1-3):139-49. doi: 10.1023/A:1023936421448.
  5. Inhibitory effect of electrolyzed reduced water on tumor angiogenesis . by Ye J et al Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Jan;31(1):19-26.
  6. Anti-diabetic effect of alkaline-reduced water on OLETF rats . by Jin D et al Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2006 Jan;70(1):31-7.

The Animal studies:
This is a selection of Clinical Studies on the use of Alkaline Ionized (Reduced) Water. You can get all the abstract here:

  1. Anti-diabetic effects of electrolysed reduced water in streptococci-induced and genetic diabetic mice. Kim MJ, Kim HK. PMID: 16945392 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]Life Sci. 2006 Nov 10;79(24):2288-92. Epub 2006 Aug 2
  2. Preservative effect of electrolyzed reduced water on pancreatic beta-cell mass in diabetic db/db mice. Kim MJ, Jung KH, Uhm YK, Leem KH, Kim HK. PMID: 17268057 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]Biol Pharm Bull. 2007 Feb;30(2):234-6
  3. Electrolyzed-reduced water protects against oxidative damage to DNA, RNA, and protein.Lee MY, Kim YK, Ryoo KK, Lee YB, Park EJ. PMID: 17159237 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2006 Nov;135(2):133-44
  4. 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. PMID: 14871602 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Biophys Chem. 2004 Jan 1;107(1):71-82
  5. Electrolyzed-reduced water reduced hemodialysis-induced erythrocyte impairment in end-stage renal disease patients. Huang KC, Yang CC, Hsu SP, Lee KT, Liu HW, Morisawa S, Otsubo K, Chien CT. PMID: 16760903 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Kidney Int. 2006 Jul;70(2):391-8. Epub 2006 Jun 7
  6. Influences of alkaline ionized water on milk yield, body weight of offspring and perinatal dam in rats. J Toxicol Sci. 1998 Dec;23(5):365-71. Watanabe T , Pan I , Fukuda Y , Murasugi E , Kamata H , Uwatoko K .
  7. Histopathological influence of alkaline ionized water on myocardial muscle of mother rats. J Toxicol Sci. 1998 Dec;23(5):411- Watanabe T , Shirai W , Pan I , Fukuda Y , Murasugi E , Sato T , Kamata H
  8. Degradation of myocardiac myosin and creatine kinase in rats given alkaline ionized water. J Vet Med Sci. 1998 Feb;60(2):245-50. Watanabe T , Kishikawa Y .
  9. Influence of alkaline ionized water on rat erythrocyte hexokinase activity and myocardium. J Toxicol Sci. 1997 May;22(2):141-52. Watanabe T , Kishikawa Y , Shirai W .
  10. Effect of alkaline ionized water on reproduction in gestational and lactational rats. J Toxicol Sci. 1995 May;20(2):135-42. Watanabe T .
  11. Impact of extra waters on immunosystem in mice Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2004 Jul;33(4):422-5. [Article in Chinese]
  12. Selective stimulation of the growth of anaerobic microflora in the human intestinal tract by electrolysed reducing water. Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(3):543-6. Vorobjeva NV .
  13. Water desirable for health in terms of ORP (oxidation-reduction potential) to pH relationship. Review PMID: 16180690 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Shokuhin Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2005 Aug;46(4):J228-33. [Article in Japanese]Okouchi S.
  14. Influences of alkaline ionized water on milk electrolyte concentrations in maternal rats. J Toxicol Sci. 2000 Dec;25(5):417-22. Watanabe T , Kamata H , Fukuda Y , Murasugi E , Sato T , Uwatoko K , Pan IJ .
  15. Electrolyzed-reduced water scavenges active oxygen species and protects DNA from oxidative damage. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1997 May 8;234(1):269-74. Shirahata S , Kabayama S , Nakano M , Miura T , Kusumoto K , Gotoh M , Hayashi H , Otsubo K , Morisawa S , Katakura Y .
  16. The mechanism of the enhanced antioxidant effects against superoxide anion radicals of reduced water produced by electrolysis. Biophys Chem. 2004 Jan 1;107(1):71-82. Hanaoka K , Sun D , Lawrence R , Kamitani Y , Fernandes G .
  17. Protective mechanism of reduced water against alloxan-induced pancreatic beta-cell damage: Scavenging effect against reactive oxygen species . Authors: Li Y.1; Nishimura T.1; Teruya K.1; Maki T.1; Komatsu T.1; Hamasaki T.1; Kashiwagi T.1; Kabayama S.2; Shim S-Y.1; Katakura Y.1; Osada K.1; Kawahara T.1; Otsubo K.2; Morisawa S.2; Ishii Y.3; Gadek Z.4; Shirahata S.5 Source: Cytotechnology, Volume 40, Numbers 1-3, 2002, pp. 139-149(11) .Publisher: Springer
  18. Electrolyzed hydrogen-saturated water for drinking use elicits an antioxidative effect: a feeding test with rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2005 Oct;69(10):1985-7 Yanagihara T, Arai K, Miyamae K, Sato B, Shudo T, Yamada M, Aoyama M.
  19. Effects of supplementing of calcium, iron and zinc on women’s health during pregnancy . Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2001 Nov;35(6):365-9. [Article in Chinese] An H, Yin S, Xu Q.
  20. Supplementation with alkaline minerals reduces symptoms in patients with chronic low back pain. 1: J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2001;15(2-3):179-83. Vormann J, Worlitschek M, Goedecke T, Silver B.

Alkalinity Research: Negative studies on Humans

There has been a great deal of debate about battling cancer by making your body alkaline. This has become a focus of interest as cancer rates have skyrocketed (along with many other chronic, debilitating diseases), while our bodies have become more acidic from our processed-food diets. The scientific research about the benefits of alkalinity is by no means conclusive. PH appears to have a major influence on cell mitochondria:

Normal cells die under extremely alkaline conditions. A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that alkalosis (rising cellular pH) causes alkaline-induced cell death as a result of altering mitochondrial function. Another study out of Cornell University states that antioxidants have not proven to be effective against many neurodegenerative diseases, and they state it may be a result of how the mitochondria operate within the cell in certain pH conditions.

There are some scientific studies that really argue against alkalinity, at least with respect to preventing or treating cancer. Consider the research by Robert Gilles, who has studied tumor formation and acidity. According to Gilles, tumors, by their very nature, make themselves acidic - even in an alkaline cellular structure. In other words, they make their own acidity. Scientists who are in the process of developing prototypes for potential new anticancer agents that selectively kill tumor cells by interfering with the regulation of intracellular pH , have found that alkaline treatments do NOT have the desired effect - but strongly acidic treatments do.

Even more interesting is a 2005 study by the National Cancer Institute, which revisits the use of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to treat cancer. They found that, in pharmacologic doses administered intravenously, ascorbic acid successfully killed cancer cells without harming normal cells. This is yet another example of cancer cells being vulnerable to acidity, as opposed to alkalinity ..

Understanding PH

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The concept of the acidity or alkalinity of your body - or of water - is based on the pH scale. So it's necessary to have a basic understanding of what pH is. PH is simply a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions. In fact, the acronym "pH" is short for "potential of hydrogen." The higher a liquid's pH, the fewer free hydrogen ions it has; the lower its pH, the more free hydrogen ions it has. One pH unit reflects a tenfold change in ion concentration - for example, there are ten times as many hydrogen ions available at a pH of 7 than at a pH of 8.2

pH scale
The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, and a pH of 7 is neutral. Anything with a pH below 7 is considered acidic, with battery acid being the most extreme example, around 1. Anything with a pH above 7 is alkaline (or basic), with lye at the top of the scale, around 13.3 Natural water on our planet ranges in pH from 6.5 to 9.0, depending on surrounding soil and vegetation, seasonal variations and weather, and even time of day responses to sunlight. Human activities further influence the pH of our water, from the barrage of toxic industrial pollutants. According to an educational website called Water on the Web :

"Pollutants in water can cause it to have higher algal and plant growth, as a result of increased temperature or excess nutrients, causing pH levels to rise. Although these small changes in pH are not likely to have a direct impact on aquatic life, they greatly influence the availability and solubility of all chemical forms in the lake and may aggravate nutrient problems. For example, a change in pH may increase the solubility of phosphorus, making it more available for plant growth and resulting in a greater long-term demand for dissolved oxygen."

Most aquatic animals and plants have adapted to life in water with a very specific pH, and will die from even slight changes. A pH below 4 or above 10 will kill most fish, and very few animals can tolerate waters with a pH below 3 or above 114 With living systems being so sensitive to changes in pH, it should come as no surprise that YOU, as another living organism on this planet, would be sensitive to your water's pH as well.

Studies on PH significance on Health.
The scientific literature indicates pH is important for nutrition and vitality. For example:

Michigan State University studied greenhouse growth media (including the pH of that media), finding it is extremely important for the media pH to be properly adjusted prior to planting. Too high of a pH (greater than 6.5) increases the chances of micronutrient deficiencies. Too low of a pH (less than 5.3) results in calcium and/or magnesium and/or manganese toxicity.

Ohio State University Extension Service reports that alkaline water affects a plant's ability to obtain nutrients from the soil and can alter the soil's pH over time.

An ecological study in the Netherlands found that an influx of alkaline water led to the demise of a native plant called Stratiotes aloides L.

Fish chronically exposed to alkaline soft water exhibit signs of stress (sometimes fatal), while fish in alkaline hard water experienced no such adverse effects, according to a study at the University of British Columbia.

If you are a gardener, you can view a helpful illustration of the environmental effects of pH in your own garden. If your pH is low, your hydrangea produces pink flowers, but if your pH is high, you'll get blue flowers.

Types of Water Available to You the Consumer

In terms of types of water, here are some basic definitions to keep in mind:

Purified water: Water that is physically processed to remove impurities (e.g., distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, etc.)

Distilled water: Water that is boiled and evaporated away from its dissolved minerals, and then the vapor is condensed.

Bottled Water. This water is typically from a spring or has gone through reverse osmosis before it is bottled. However, some brands are simply bottled tap water that may or may not have gone through any additional filtering.

Alkaline water: Water that has been separated into alkaline and acid fractions using electrolysis, which takes advantage of the naturally occurring electric charges found in the magnesium and calcium ions; in the drinking water industry.

Deionized or demineralized water: Water in which the mineral ions (salts such as sodium, calcium, iron, copper, chloride and bromide) have been removed by exposing it to electrically charged resins that attract and bind to the salts.

Hard and soft water: Hard water is any water containing an appreciable quantity of dissolved minerals; soft water is treated water in which the only cation (positively charged ion) is sodium.

Some mountain springs are slightly acidic, depending on the minerals naturally occurring in them. But the most famous mountain waters in the world, waters renowned for their healing properties, are highly alkaline. I'm referring to the waters coming down from the Himalayas, and specifically to the waters of the Hunza valley, which have a pH that runs between 9 and 11. So with this analysis we need more education from the FDA!

Thank you and God bless our Home land Ghana.
Let meet tomorrow for the 1ST public lecture

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Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu: PhD(A.M) is a science writer and National President of the Alternative Medical Association of Ghana(AMAG)He is a member of the Prostate cancer transatlantic consortium, a firm researching into prostate cancer in black community.

Raphael Nyarkotey Obu
Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, © 2018

Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu is a Research Professor of Prostate Cancer and Alternative Medicine –Da Vinci College of Holistic Medicine, Larnaca City, Cyprus. He is the president of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine at Tema, Com 7 Post Office, affiliated to Da Vinci College in Cyprus and the

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