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Tea with AK71: Alkaline water.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In recent months, I kept being bombarded by news about alkaline water. I hear about it on the radio. I read about it in the magazines and newspapers. I read about it in flyers given out at shopping malls. Is alkaline water really so amazing?

A few days ago, when I was shopping at NTUC Fairprice. I saw alkaline water on sale! These bottles were placed together with bottles of mineral water and distilled water. Price: $2.90 for a 2 litre bottle. Made in Singapore.

Anyway, the idea is that our body is very acidic and the food we eat is mostly acidifying too. So, to maintain a healthier balance, we need to eat alkalising food. For some time now, when I want a snack, I eat an orange, an apple, a handful of raisins, figs or almonds. These are alkalising. So, I guess drinking alkaline water is a natural next step.

I know there are companies which sell machines which would make normal tap water at home into alkaline water either through distillation or ionising processes. I don't think I can convince my mom to have one installed. She is skeptical about the health benefits of alkaline water. Frankly, I don't know for sure if the benefits are proven beyond a doubt as well. At $2.90 a day, I guess, it is worth a try.

Does anyone have any personal experience, good or bad, with alkaline water? Would you like to leave a comment to share your experience?

Er, in case you are wondering, this is not an advertorial. I don't make any money from blogging about this.  ;)


financialray said...

I believe I read it in the Straits TImes or Sunday TImes about alkaline water. Its benefits have not been proven on stringent scientic evidence, the reason being water is only one of the thousands of things we consume from time to time. So to prove beyond reasonable doubt, it would take time or very strict methods, that is 2 groups of people eating and exercising the same stuff except for difference in the type of water consumed. Also, they should be of same age, same sex, same race....almost impossible to have such a study.
Anyway, think the medical jury is the body will keep our pH at a constant level, so taking alkaline water is akin to selling ice to the Eskimo.
Perhaps the passing fad after detox, we need to be seen to do something else to keep ourselves healthy. So naturally drinking alkaline water which is effortless comes straight to the commercial guru with the marketing ingenuity.

Sometimes, what is free like a healthy diet and regular exercise sounds terribly hellish for keeping ourselves healthy.Irony.

Unlike those financial or investment courses....2-3k per day per head, this is $2.90 per day per entire population, fishing vs casting a net to catch ikan bilis

So the Chinese saying goes again ...Jiang Tai Gong is forever looking for a good fishing spot.

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

I am amazed at how business people are trying all ways to seize opportunities. Even micro things like drinking water are being used to promote their new products. Alkaline water? Wow, that is really something unheard of. :)

INVS 2.0 said...


Maybe can use it to water my plants since rainwater nowadays is mostly acid content (thks to the pollution). Can neutralise the pH levels in my garden soil. :D :D

AK71 said...

Hi financialray and INVS 2.0,

Thanks for the comments on this topic. :)

Over lunch today with an old friend who is also a chemist, I was advised that this is totally unscientific.

I wonder how would those people who have installed expensive alkaline water maker in their homes would feel about this. Thank goodness I have spent only about $10 so far on this. ;p

Yes, nothing beats having a sensible diet and regular exercise. I am incorporating these once again in my lifestyle. :)

Kelvin said...

Marketing bullshit.

And that is my most complimentary description I can say of "alkaline" water.

Quick Facts
1) The term "body pH" cannot be defined. This is because the pH varies in different parts of the body. Even if I assume that they are refering to the pH of blood, its pH is around 7.4 (neutral pH=7). Without going into much details, the blood can physiologically buffer or maintain a tight pH balance on its own. While pH imbalance can occur, it is NOT through daily diet.

2) "Alkaline" water produced by some ionizer machine from pure water is chemically not possible. Pure water (without substantial amount of dissolved ions) is almost impossible to ionized, so they need the addition of some other salt to make the electrolysis process occur to a larger extent.

3) The gastric juices in your stomach is by default, highly acidic. So you may have to drink a huge-ass amount of "alkaline" water to neutralize it. Not that you should make that an aim, as the low pH activates digestive enzymes in your stomach and act as a protective barrier against foreign entities such as some bacteria.

I have much more to rant against the pseudo-science of "alkaline" water but I think this should do for now.

On a more practical note, there are also other cheaper ways to make your normal drinking water alkaline... such as adding oven cleaner to water. :p

AK71 said...

Hi Kelvin,

Haha.. Yes, another friend who is very good at Chemistry told me that we can just add sodium bicarbonate to form alkaline water. Eno fruit salts?

Sigh, I should have been more diligent at my "O" level Chemistry. The price of ignorance!

Well, I am glad I went ahead with this blog post. I am saving $2.90 x n. ;p

I think someone should call the radio station to tell them to stop all this false information on how good alkaline water is for our health! Charlatans!

financialray said...

Hi Ak

I didn't know Jiang Tai Gong even appeared on radio.

Truth be told, u can get rid of one Jiang Tai Gong, there will be more of other Mr Jiang popping up.

More importantly, we should learn not to be the fish that Jiang Tai Gong is going after.

Incidentally, I received a SMS today telling me my mobile number has just been selected as the winner of a 1 million pound prize and to email a hotmail address.

la papillion said...

Hi AK,

While reading the comments on the blog, I'm reminded of how it is impossible to cool hot milk into the freezer faster than cooling cooler milk by Erasto Mpemba, or how it's impossible that the sun revolves around the earth by Copernicus, or how it's impossible that the world is anything but flat, or that the newton's laws of motions apply everywhere.

I'm reminded that science is a cemetery of dead ideas. Hence, I won't be too quick to dismiss pseudo science as a quack by the standards of mainstream science. I would try it out for myself for a period of time, if it works good for me, I'll believe it. For me, I'll keep an open mind. Afterall, it's the unreasonable man that changes the world - the reasonable man merely follows the status quo.

Paul said...


The morale of yr blogpost: Always listen to Mum!

I'm one of those who think that the whole thing about 'Alkaine Water' is not only marketing hype, its a con job! Albeit a semi-legal one. Just like stuffs like coffee-detox etc.

AK71 said...

Hi financialray,

Yup, I listen to the news on radio 93.8FM and it talks about alkaline water and its benefits all the time. Advertisements, no doubt.

You make Jiang Tai Gong sound like a con-man. Hahaha.. Jiang Tai Gong was a person of substance and people went looking for him voluntarily for advice. He was also my ancestor from historical times. ;p

I think a more appropriate parallel would be Bernie Madoff. He convinced people of his genius when there was none just like the purported benefits of alkaline water when there is none.

AK71 said...

Hi LP,

You would make a very good diplomat, I believe. :)

This comment of yours reminds me of your comment in my blog post on Eldershield. You are very persuasive. ;)

AK71 said...

Hi Paul,

Haha.. Yes, mom knows best! ;)

I am finishing the last bottle of alkaline water today.

After what LP said, I am torn as to whether to continue drinking alkaline water.

Kelvin said...

Hi AK71,

Please don't buy any more alkaline water. I cannot emphasize more on the quackery around it. It is not just about bad chemistry, but it flouts the fundamental principles of biology and physiology.

I can understand the philosophical arguments for alternative viewpoints. Yet, the burden of proof should be on advocates of alkaline water themselves, to provide concrete reproducible evidence of their benefits.

The historical examples quoted by LP is precisely the point. Their views were thought to be wrong or even heretical during their time. But eventually, when the body of evidence became too compelling, it became accepted as the mainstream view.

Science is about being skeptical. Whoever has the strongest evidence will eventually be adopted by the greater scientific community, even in the face of opposing political/religious/commercial interest.

You may call this cruel and unaccepting, but I say that is what makes science rigorous.

AK71 said...

Hi Kelvin,

A strong voice of reason!

Indeed, when I was in school, I was taught that any evidence produced should also be replicable.

I guess I will just continue drinking distilled water which is the purest water available. It is also freely available at my workplace! That makes me happy! ;)

Anonymous said...

The carbonic-acid-bicarbonate buffer in your blood maintains your blood pH between ~7.3 to ~7.

Your blood pH isnt going to change when u eat copious amounts of grapefruit or lemon. Likewise drinking alkaline water isnt going to raise the pH of your blood. The buffering system ensures that your pH remain fairly constant.

Alkaline water is a scam

hydrogenperoxide said...

Wah I never know someone who spends only 80 cents for a lunch would spend 2.90 on drinking water :P..
But I really can't believe that water can be made into alkaline in a very cheap manner and without any side product (Hydrogen)..
AK, if you want to drink more "alkaline" water, try to start drinking mineral water (the mineral, Ca2+ as example, is "basic" and hence mineral water would be more "alkaline" than the normal distilled water.. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Anonymous,

And so I was told. Thank you for reinforcing this notion! :)

Oh well, see what happens when one did not pay attention in science classes? Sigh...

AK71 said...

Hi pero,

I have stopped eating 80c nasi lemak. Really. I know it is bad for me. It is all a matter of discipline.

I am spending more money on healthy food these days. The other day, I spent almost $4 on fresh lettuce to make tuna salad for dinner. That simple but healthy dinner cost me almost $6!

Yes, I was told mineral water is more alkaline too. I will stick to distilled water since I get it free at work. ;p

Anonymous said...

Seeing all the comments, it looks like I'm the only one consuming alkaline water and have been drinking for more than 10 yrs.

Its not something new actually, but the marketing seems to have intensified in recent months.


AK71 said...

Hi Alex,

Care to share your experience? Has it provided you with benefits in any way?

Anonymous said...

Hi AK,
In response to your question, I must firstly qualify that water is not like medicine, I do not drink alkaline water to cure a specific ailment.

As with many of the "alternative" things, results/benefits are more subtle and varies with individual.

What I can say is that on normal days I do not detect any specific benefit. But drinking on down days, ie about to get sick, I feel there is relief and benefit.

Another point I can say is that after drinking alkaline water for some time and I then drink normal water it tastes awful, I will not want to switch back to normal water.

AK71 said...

Hi Anonymous,

I guess you must be Alex. :)

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. Useful reference for me. :)

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