Alkaline Water: Mercola’s Claims Addressed
Dr. Mercola vs. Alkaline Water
As you know, I recommend alkaline water as part of a disease-risk-minimized lifestyle, and I even arrange a heavily discounted group buy for Influence Water. I have an under-sink unit that I have used every day for several years and LOVE it.
Readers have been asking me to respond to Mercola’s newsletter. It states that alkaline water would be good for becoming initially more hydrated, or for detoxification, but otherwise he doesn’t recommend it. He says he doesn’t dispute the short-term health benefits people report but doesn’t think they will last a long time.
If he thinks alkaline water increases hydration, and detoxifies the body–why wouldn’t it be good long-term? He doesn’t say.
Mercola refers to water below a pH of 4 and above a pH of 10 killing fish in ecosystems referenced on the website, “Water on the Web.” (Must be true: the internet said so.) And of course, that’s very low pH and very high pH in that research. The few studies he cites relate to fish and plants, all with extremes in acid or alkaline levels.
What is recommended by practitioners including Dr. Robert O. Young advocating for alkaline water is a setting of about 9 to 9.5–not extremes.
Why would higher pH water harm us? After all, Mercola states in his newsletter that natural water available on the planet ranges in pH from 6.5 to 9.0, depending on surrounding soil and vegetation and other variables. (Then, inexplicably, in the interview embedded in the newsletter, Mercola says, “I don’t think you are going to find naturally occurring alkaline water.” It's almost as if two staff writers wrote the article in pieces, and didn't compare notes.)
As an example, Trinity Springs in Idaho exits the ground at pH 9.4 to 9.6.
Mercola says in this newsletter, “I can assure you that I would never use alkaline water as a regular source of water.” Yet in his newsletter Early Death Comes from Drinking Distilled Water (the untenable title is another example of fear-based exaggeration), he says, “The ideal water for the human body should be slightly alkaline and this requires the presence of minerals like calcium and magnesium.”
The reason to drink higher-pH water (my tap water measures the low end of that range, 6.5) is to combat the acids we are bombarded with in modern environments and diets. It’s important to note that drinking alkaline water doesn’t give you a free pass: it cannot neutralize consumption of lots of soda, sugar, medications, and meat/dairy—all of which are highly acidic. (The average American is now drinking a gallon of soda weekly—pure acid!)
But even those of us trying to eat a high-nutrition diet struggle with too much acidity. From pollution, stress, and foods with higher ash than drugs/meat/sugar/medications, but foods which are still too low, given all the sources of acid in our lifestyle.
So, alkaline water is an easy and simple way to address that. Mercola points out that the World Health Organization doesn’t have info about alkaline water in its water-quality report, which seems a random and irrelevant piece of data (if it even qualifies as that).
The highly political and bureaucratic WHO bureaucracy doesn’t agree with Mercola on his anti-vaccine stance, and the WHO endorses virtually every vaccine on the market. We could expose innumerable areas where Mercola disagrees with the WHO.
Studies on Alkaline Water
Mercola says few scientific studies have examined the effects of alkaline water on human health, and I agree with that—in the U.S., where Big Pharma and a few other for-profit conglomerates control most research. Benefits of alkaline water have been documented in studies in Japan, Korea, and Russia for decades. I also agree that claims are made by some about alkaline water one shouldn’t necessarily stake the farm on (including that it cures cancer).
Further, I agree that the network marketing of the biggest alkaline-water ionizer company is a problem. Their sales people tend to be rather rabid in their repeating every health claim as the gospel truth, plus their ionizers are now $4K to $6K, which is both exorbitant and unnecessary.
Mercola states this: “Most likely the optimal pH of the water you were designed to drink is somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5.” I’m not sure how he draws this rather squishy-sounding conclusion, since he doesn’t say.
Later in the report he says, “Somewhere between 6 to 8 is likely fine.” (Squishy.)
I have chosen to use alkaline water in my home, with positive effects, particularly on my (and my children’s) energy. It’s not just that the water has higher pH: it’s also reverse-osmosis filtered, with minerals added back in. (Otherwise it cannot be ionized, or made alkaline.) Clean and filtered water is at least as important as pH, with our municipal water supplies containing drugs and hundreds of chemicals.
Mercola’s newsletter headline is written to grab readers, saying that alkaline water is a fad that could “Do Some Major Damage.” What damage can it do? He doesn’t say.
In his newsletter he says, “Although the research is clear that alkaline water has detrimental effects on plants and animals, there are not many studies with humans.”
Not true—“alkaline water” does not “clearly” have detrimental effects. Only at extremes in a few studies with plants and fish. The ionizer companies, and practitioners, do not recommend extremely alkaline water for drinking.
Mercola's "Water Expert"
Mercola’s expert in his video interview, Houston Tomasz, is a guy whom Mercola states has no medical background and works for a water company. That is the sum total of the credentials Mercola cites for his “water expert.” (My research indicates he works for Aquasana, a water filtration company. Mercola himself sells a water-filtration system.)
Ironically, Mercola uses the argument talking with Tomasz, that we shouldn’t mess with what nature gave us.
This is ironic on many levels, and I’ll give you three examples. First, Mercola wants us to split in three different camps and eat completely differently according to his Nutritional Typing program instead of what nature gave us.
Second, Mercola sells the multi-vitamins at exorbitant prices, despite meta-studies (reviews of hundreds of studies) showing consistently that eating synthetic, isolated nutrient pills aren’t helping. And in some ways, in some dosages, they are hurting our health. They aren’t what nature gave us.
Third, Mercola sells tanning beds, which cause cancer and premature aging and certainly aren’t what nature gave us.
I agree with the idea in theory that “natural” is important; however, we are in the unfortunate circumstances of having our diet and lifestyle altered to become rather unnatural. The idea of alkaline water is to address the unnatural (highly acidic) state of affairs we find ourselves in.
Interestingly, in an effort to discredit alkaline water, Mercola interviews Tomasz, who says several interesting things:
“I personally believe that alkaline water is better for you.”
“By definition, you can’t have free radicals in an alkaline environment.”
“We don’t know if it’s good for you to drink water with a pH of 10.”
“There’s cheaper ways to get alkaline water out there.” (I agree. This is why I don’t want to see people spending $4K to $6K on a machine.)
Houston Tomasz agrees one should keep the body alkaline. He says you shouldn’t have extremely high pH, which he defines as 9 to 13 (true enough). He says you can’t use R.O. filtration in the ionizer.
Not true. I have an R.O. system, and then the water flows through a remineralizer, and then the ionizer.
He says, “None of them are certified.”
Not true. Influence Water is NSF certified, and ANSI certified. More information can be found here.
My Choice For Alkaline Water
I’ll share a few reasons I chose to work with Influence Water over other options in arranging our wholesale group buy for GSG readers.
Mercola and Tomasz both endorse carbon block filters in the interview—which is part of the Influence Ionizer (in addition to 9 other stages of filtration in the ionizer itself). The Super Filter reduces over 1,000 volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) by up to 99 percent. The company’s patent-pending Vitamin C Ceramic-block Filter Technology reduces not only chlorine, but chloramines as well, which are very difficult to eliminate (even R.O. systems don’t). The Influence Ionizer was tested by ETRLabs.com, and their water outperformed all the other companies tested for filtration success.
At the end of Mercola’s article, he sells us again on Nutritional Typing. And then he says—with no backup for this claim—“A diet that makes one person ‘acidic’ may make another person ‘alkaline.’”
He warns against consuming “too many dark green vegetables”—as if there’s anyone in the Western world doing this. Why does he warn against eating too much green food, instead of attending to the wide-spread under-consumption of green food in the modernized world, as well documented by an avalanche of data?
I agree with Mercola that alkaline water isn’t a “magic bullet.” I also agree that it’s not a slam dunk until more research comes in. (IMO: eating more plant foods for optimal health is a slam dunk based on statistical analysis of the data. Drinking alkaline water, on the other hand, makes sense but doesn’t clear that high bar yet.)
To me, as I’ve said many times, it’s worth the addition to my daily routine at dealer prices—not at outrageous network marketing prices. But you must decide for yourself.