Thursday, January 25, 2007

What's the Deal with Water Ionizers?

You've probably seen the ads for water ionizers; or maybe someone you know actually owns one, and they've given you an earful on why they spent hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to buy the thing. But do they actually do anything? That's the question asked in this week's "Healthy Skeptic" column at the LA Times.

According to vendors, water ionizers make water easier for you body to absorb, less acidic and packed with antioxidants. The idea is that A) your tap water is really hard for your body to absorb because the water molecules that make it up are clustered, B) your body is seething with harmful acids, and C) ionized water is a good way to get antioxidants.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Scientists that spoke with the times explained that, A) while water may be "clustered," it falls apart pretty easily, B) nothing you eat or drink can control the body's pH balance (acidity), and C) so-called antioxidants in ionized water (negative ions) bind with positive ions long before they reach your body's cells. The best way to get antioxidants into your system is by consuming antioxidant molecules like Vitamin E and beta carotene.

Does this mean ionized water is completely useless? Of course not! It's pretty good at quenching thirst.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.