What are these molecules anyway?
They are called ‘free radicals’. Without going into too much science, free radicals are molecules which have an unpaired electron. These molecules roam around the body looking for a solution. Their preferred solution is to get another electron from another molecule (make a pair)...good for them, not so good for the other molecule.
Why are free radicals problematic?
Due to this extra electron, free radicals are unstable and highly reactive. They like to attack important macromolecules in the body (larger, complex molecules) and cause damage. Some favorite victims are DNA, proteins, lipids (fatty acids), and carbohydrates.
Again, without getting into too much detail, free radicals create a lot of cell damage and disrupt the balance of many systems in our bodies. Evidence of free radical influence has been found in Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, cataracts, Parkinson’s disease, malignancy, arthritis, deafness, cardiovascular disease, certain muscle diseases, and accelerated aging...just to name a few.
How come I have free radicals in my body?
Many biological systems naturally produce free radicals. This natural production is usually not problematic because other body systems are in place to handle the free radical production.
However, external forces can also cause the production of free radicals in our bodies:
- Dietary factors such as coffee, fried foods, alcohol, hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Air pollutants such as asbestos, carbon monoxide.
- Certain environmental and occupational chemicals.
- Some medical drugs such as adriamycin, nitrofurantoin, chlorpromazine.
- UV radiation.
The problem comes when there are more free radicals in the body than the body can effectively handle.
So what’s this about drinking water to fix it?
The biological process that causes most free radicals is called ‘oxidation’. Antioxidants are substances or agents which reduce the amount of oxidation in the body and hence, lower the number of free radicals.
Usually, tap and bottled water are oxidizing agents. That is because their chemical makeup means they are looking for electrons.
Alkaline, ionized water is an anti-oxidizing agent. In other words, it can donate its extra electrons to free radicals, thus neutralizing them.
How do I know which water to drink?
Step 1: Look for an alkaline, ionized water.
Step 2: Check out its ORP.
Sorry! Its Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP). ORP is measured in millivolts (mV) using a special meter. This measurement tells how much the water is anti-oxidizing. The lower the number, the more anti-oxidizing it is.
Water with an ORP of +100 mV is not anti-oxidizing at all. It is very oxidizing. Not only is it not going to neutralize any existing free radicals, it will most likely add to the number.
Water with an ORP of -400 mV is highly anti-oxidizing. It will be able to neutralize many free radicals and is thus a much better choice.
Since we should be drinking about 8 glasses of H2O each day anyway, why not add value and health by making it alkaline ionized water?