American stand-up comedian, Mitch Hedberg is quoted as saying, “My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.” Although we get the joke, there is an element of truth in that seriously absurd statement because we all know that water sustains all forms of life, including human life.
Perhaps one of the most mysterious elements on Earth is water. That’s right, common H2O. Scientists are still discovering amazing facts about water. For example, some of the water you drink might have been around since the last Ice Age. Also, data shows “living next to water can make a person happier, calmer and more creative”.
This might be because the water outside resonates with the water we have inside our bodies. Our bodies are more than 70% water. For a 120lb person, that about 10 gallons of water. Our blood is 90% water. As you may know, your blood circulates throughout your body, distributing nutrients and oxygen and collecting wastes and carbon dioxides. So, basically, without water, our bodies would stop working.
Are all types of water the same? In other words, does it matter which water I drink?
Research indicates that understanding water and drinking the right kind of water will contribute greatly to our health and longevity.
What is the structure of water in living organisms?
Dr. Moo-Shik Chun is a professor at the Korea Science and Technology Institute in Seoul. His research has demonstrated that the water in a living organism is much more complex than ‘regular’ water—or as the scientists say, ‘pure or bulk water’.
Dr. Moo-Shik Chun has found that water in living organisms is constructed as follows: one protein molecule surrounded by at least three layers of water molecules. The layers are named Z, X and Y. There are 70,000 water molecules in those layers. The Z layer is most internal layer, bonded to the inner protein molecule. The Z layer behaves like solid water but only freezes under very low temperatures. Next comes the Y layer which freezes at 14o Fahrenheit. For science buffs, we tell you that the Y layer surrounds an “an alanine dipeptide molecule which has 62% hexagonal structures, 24% pentagonal structures, and 14% other structures”. The external layer, the X layer, is most like ‘regular’ water.
The Y layer with its hexagonal structure is the water most preferred by living organisms. This may be the reason why plankton, green algae, etc. grow so well in snow-melted water.
What is acid water? Is it good for us?
Let’s take a short trip back to high school biology and chemistry…
Remember the pH scale which measured whether a liquid was acid, neutral or alkaline? The pH scales runs from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. The lower the number, the more acidic the liquid. The higher, the more alkaline.
So, acid water is water with a pH of lower than 7.
All kinds of soft drinks are very acidic, especially cola. In order to neutralize one glass of cola, it takes about 32 glasses of high pH, alkaline water. A glass of cola (with a pH of 2.5) added to 10 gallons of water with a pH of 7.4 will lower the pH of those 10 gallons to 4.6.
Recall that above, we said our human body contains about 10 gallons of slightly alkaline water. The pH of our blood ranges from 7.3 to 7.45. So, if we drink a glass of cola…
Fortunately, our bodies are more capable of protecting themselves, so drinking a glass of cola does not lower our blood pH to 4.6 like it does to regular water—that would be fatal. Our bodies are able to maintain the needed pH range of 7.3 to 7.4, but the result is that we lose a lot of bicarbonates.
Too few bicarbonates in the body creates an unhealthy condition called ‘metabolic acidosis’ or too much acid in the body.
What about ionized or alkaline water? Is it beneficial?
When atoms or molecules lose or gain electrons, we say that they are ‘ionized’. This ionization happens when atoms or molecules naturally recombine with new partners. Water naturally ionizes to a very small degree: one in ten million parts of water. It naturally ‘deionizes’, too, so that in reality, only about two out of every billion H2O molecules remains ionized. The remaining ions create active chemical reactions with minerals in the water to to produce alkaline water.
Alkaline water is said to promote health and delay death.
If a water is said to be ‘pure’, what does that mean?
In an attempt to get ‘pure’ water, some people promote distillers, reverse osmosis (R.O.) filters and purified waters. So, ‘purified water’ is just another name for distilled or R.O. water.
Distillers and R.O. filters work very well. They take as many solids as possible out of the water. The result is what we call ‘dead’ water. Fish cannot live in it. If enough ‘dead’ water is consumed for long enough periods of time, valuable body minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium, can be leached out (removed from) of our bodies.
Of course, those who sell distillers, R.O. filters and filtered water insist that the fewer solids in your water, the better it is. But here’s the thing: if we use a Total Dissolved Solids tester (TDS tester) to measure the solids in a water sample, water rich with good minerals can test as bad as water with dangerous minerals, salts and metals. This marketing tactic, then, is very misleading and could be damaging your health instead of supporting it. Check out the US government EPA fact sheet to find more information on when and how to test your water.
Health tip: Remember to check the back of the label on your store-bought alkaline water. Does it say something like, ‘’Our water is so pure/good that you can’t test it with a pH strip.’’? Put that water back immediately.
In this case, ‘pure’ = ‘dead’. There is no beneficial alkaline water in that bottle!
So, is demineralized water good or bad?
The World Health Organization research on R.O. and distilled waters done by Frantisek Kozisek, National Institute of Public Health, Czech Republic concludes clearly that “drinking water should contain minimum levels of certain essential minerals”.
The results of Kozisek’s research suggest the following negative consequences of water with lower than recommended minimum minerals levels:
- Direct effects on the intestinal mucous membrane, metabolism and mineral homeostasis or other body functions.
- Little or no intake of calcium and magnesium from low-mineral water.
- Low intake of other essential elements and microelements.
- Loss of calcium, magnesium and other essential elements in prepared food.
- Possible increased dietary intake of toxic metals.
So, healthy water is alkaline water with some levels of certain minerals in it.
How can alkaline water improve aging?
First of all, aging is not getting older. OK it is, but it is more complicated.
The number of years a person has lived is not 100% coordinated with how old that person looks, feels or which negative health conditions that person has. For example, younger people who have spent long periods of time outdoors in harsh conditions can have skin which looks older than more elderly people whose skin has been more pampered.
A large part of what we call ‘aging’ is the accumulation of old waste products within our bodies. These acidic waste products cause a variety of negative health conditions.
The name of the game is “Help your body dispose of acidic waste products”—the more the better. Since waste products are removed by the blood and disposed of in liquid form (urine or sweat), drinking the right kind of water can score more points. The best kind of water for playing this game successfully is acid-free, alkaline water—water that neutralizes harmful acids and disposes of them safely without leaching out valuable alkaline minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium.
It is recommended to drink bottled, alkaline mineral water or ionize your home water. Keep in mind, though, that ionized water loses all its alkalinity in 2-3 days.
It is not recommended to drink natural alkaline water found in nature because not all alkaline minerals are beneficial. Some are dangerous to the human body. We do not know which minerals are in untested natural water.