I still get lots of questions about Alkaline Water and Water Ionizers in particular.  I was getting ready to write a blog about that issue when the question popped into my head:  "How can I write anything better than what Robert Slovak did on this subject?  The answer is that I cannot, so I am going to publish a blog he did back in 2012.  Essentially, the ionizer industry is a scientific misconception that has spawned a billion- dollar industry.  Enjoy, but if you have an Ionizer, you are not going to like it. The truth hurts.

The Truth Behind The Alkaline Water Marketing Hype

The reason people are convinced to buy an alkaline ionizer is that they are told there is a premium on neutralizing acid in the body to make the proper acid-alkaline balance. And according to the alkaline ionizer theory at least (and I accept this), the alkaline water has the ability to neutralize stomach acid temporarily. You may have been taught that during the neutralization of stomach acid, that your body will recover by replenishing the acid in your stomach and allowing your body to produce an equal amount of bicarbonate buffer (alkaline buffer) into your bloodstream. So let's accept that this is a positive reaction: your body has released bicarbonate buffers, and you’ve alkalized your bloodstream, which will have the consequence of alkalizing your tissues and the organs, etc. Unfortunately, the science is much more complicated than that...and drinking water from alkaline ionizers may do more harm than good.

Alkaline Water 101: 2 Basic Must-Know Science Concepts To Help You Understand How Alkaline Ionizers Work

Concept #1: Alkaline Water and pH

Here is a place where terminology is almost everything. The term alkaline water is referring to the pH of the water. Alkaline has a pH of over 7. So if the water is 7.5, you can say it's alkaline water. If it’s 8.5 it’s alkaline water. If it’s 9.5, it’s alkaline water. If it's 13, it’s alkaline water. So it's just a term that means what's the pH of the water.

What pH really Means:

  • You may already know that pH actually stands for the potential for hydrogen. That’s what the P and the H mean. So it determines a certain quantity, referred to as hydrogen ions in the water.
  • pH is a parameter that can be applied to anything: there’s the pH of the skin, the pH of the hair, the pH of water, the pH of milk, anything.
  • A lot of hydrogen ions = an acid pH.
  • Few hydrogen ions or none = an alkaline pH.


Concept #2: Electrolysis

Alkaline ionizers use a process called electrolysis. If you were to take a battery and hook it up to a glass of water and just put two terminals in the water, you’ll see the bubbles coming out of the water. And this is the process of electrolysis.

In alkaline ionizers, the electrolysis process separates the constituents of the water into two parts or sides, so to speak:


  • One side is alkaline minerals - this stream of water is reserved for drinking and consumption and the pH is over 7.


  • The other side is acid minerals - this stream of water has a pH below 7 and is reserved for other purposes.

So when water goes through an alkaline ionizer, two streams of water that emanate from this device. Now that you know these basic concepts, let’s move on to alkalinity of water.

Alkalinity of Water: Alkaline Water Does Not Mean It Has Substantial Alkalinity

People are convinced that alkaline water is sufficient to neutralize the acid, but it’s just not true. The only thing that neutralizes acid is alkalinity, not the water being alkaline. So let me rephrase that: Alkaline water does not mean that it has substantial alkalinity. There must be alkaline minerals in the water -- to begin with -- in order to produce alkalinity in your water. So if someone is on a water supply that is marginal in the amount of alkaline mineral content, such as Seattle, Washington, Albany, New York or Denver, Colorado or any of the thousands of towns and cities with low alkaline mineral content water…an alkaline ionizer (or the electrolysis process), can make it have a high pH, but it doesn’t mean that your water will have a high alkalinity. The truth is, people are being hoodwinked into thinking that this high pH is guaranteeing the neutralization of the acid in their stomachs, but in fact, it’s not doing anything at all! It’s simply being neutralized in just seconds. Only a drop of acid would neutralize, say, a pH 9 water produced on a water supply in Seattle, Washington. Clearly there is a deception going on here. And the marketers have convinced the entire customer base that alkaline water is the same as water with alkalinity when in fact it is not. I find this reprehensible, although I don’t know if it's intentional. As a scientist, I'm really trying to decipher why alkaline water sellers can just say, "Hey, if your pH is over 9, you’ve got it covered." Because when you look at the science, it’s just totally untrue.

Don't Be Duped - Alkaline Ionizers Don't Make Safe Drinking Water

Most people don't realize that the actual source of water is important when it comes to using an alkaline ionizer. In fact, the source of water you attach your alkaline ionizer to is critical.

High Potential For Unsafe Drinking Water Because Alkaline Ionizers Don’t Remove Contaminants

Here are common contaminants you may find in alkaline water:

  • Chemical Contaminants - The quality of water alkaline ionizers produce is very dependent on the water it is put on. Are you using tap water, well water, or bottled water? First, take the opportunity to learn more about the type of water you’re using in your alkaline ionizer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified hundreds of contaminants that are allowed to be in your water, such as aluminum, fluoride, chlorine and more. These are contaminants that the EPA considers must be in water to keep it safe and healthy on their terms, not our terms. To learn more about drinking water safety and contaminants in your water, click here.
  • Mineral Contaminants - Alkaline ionizers have to re-mineralize the water with filters. And even though it’s beyond the scope of this discussion, I’m very skeptical of re-mineralizing filters. Re-mineralizing filters typically use natural minerals for various reasons. And those natural minerals, which are from the earth, can also contain contaminants that are re-released into the water, creating yet another complication.

So alkaline ionizers just don't make good water purifiers. They don’t have sophisticated technology and they have very limited filtration, which sellers overhype.

Why Alkaline Ionizers Are An Expensive Proposition And What You Can Do Instead

So let's face it, if you are reading this article, you are likely interested in safe drinking water. You want the highest quality and healthiest options. If you were considering an alkaline ionizer, like Kangen, Jupiter, Life Ionizer, IonLife, etc., and you wanted truly pure water, you’d have to add a reverse osmosis water purifier to your water source, then connect the alkaline ionizer. And those who can economically afford it are tending to do this, but now you’re looking at somewhere between $5,000 - $7,000 for a water system. This is expensive and unnecessary.

There are easier, more affordable and better solutions for restoring the acid-alkaline balance in your body. Here are a couple of simple solutions:

  • Use baking soda.
  • Drink Gerol Steiner sparkling water (you will see, right on the bottle, it has 1,800 milligrams per liter of acid-neutralizing alkalinity.



  • Alkaline ionizers do not create substantial alkalinity of water. Alkaline ionizers are highly dependent upon the source of the water supply for alkalinity. There has to be enough alkaline minerals in the source water supply (e.g., tap water) to create alkalinity of water.
  • Alkaline ionizers do not contribute to acid-alkaline balance in your body (or alkalizing your blood stream). There have to be enough acid-neutralizing minerals to create alkalinity in your body.
  • Alkaline ionizers do not have good filtration. Your drinking water may still contain contaminants that are unsafe to drink.
  • Alkaline ionizers are unnecessarily expensive. Why spend thousands on an inadequate water filter when you can have more success with pure, clean water and baking soda?

*Update 07/20/2020

Our Answer To Water Alkaline Ionizers

For years now customers have asked us for a high quality solution to alkaline ionizers. The requested requirements were simple, but required a ton of research and testing to perfect. Our customers needed a product that could provide pure water with high alkalinity, that was relatively inexpensive. Our first endeavor into this is the All American 6 Stage Reverse Osmosis System. This undersink RO system features 100% American made parts and is paired with our trademarked Livation Hydration Chamber.


which does the following: 

  1. Uses far-infrared balls to emit minerals
  2. Increases the pH of the filtered water typically to between 8.5 – 10.0 
  3. Changes the oxidation-reduction potential of the water (ORP) to between -100mV and -200mV 
  4. Reduces the sizes of the clusters of water molecules (re-structures) so that the water is easily absorbed in the body 
  5. It also puts beneficial alkaline minerals into the water, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium. 
  6. Adds molecular hydrogen with antioxidant potential

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John Miles
September 21, 2017
I have drank alkaline water---made by a water alkalizer---for over 10 years now. I use reverse osmosis to purify the water, then remineralize it with pelletized calcium/magnesium in a remineralization cartridge, then I send it to the alkalizer. I measure the pH of the water using a handheld pH/ORP meter which measures pH to 1/100th of a pH. I have sufficient mineral content to consistently make pH 10.5 alkaline water. The water also have a substantially low ORP as well. I have experienced significant health benefits from drinking this water. I lowered my blood pressure over ten points in the first three weeks of use. I completely cured arthritis in my knees that had made every step painful. I can test my urine pH with test strips and attain a urine pH as high as 9.0. I am 59 years old and take no medications. You can attempt to debunk the effectiveness of a water alkalizer all you want, but I will never stop using mine and reaping the health benefits it has provided me.
September 21, 2017
The fact is that you have significantly increased your consumption of water. Would not make a difference if it was hi PH or not. Must people are constantly dehydrated. When you spend a lot of money on a machine you tend to drinks much more. It's not the PH it's the all in the amount
Mark Timmons
September 25, 2017
What is the ORP?
September 25, 2017
Oxidation reduction potential
May 12, 2021
You are absolutely right. My wife was facing acid issue for last several years. None of the doctors in Bay area including those in Stanford could give any solution and the medicines they gave stopped working after a while. One day I found Alkaline water at the water section and bought few for her to try. She feels much better and stopped taking those medicines. I am sure people bullshit without knowing or without practical experience. Bought Gofilter from Amazon and when she starts complaing that she is getting acidity we know time for filter replacement. But their quality is very inconsistent and not reliable so looking for more permanent solution although expensive
jay harris
September 28, 2017
About 3 years ago a friend of mine gave me and my wife a presentation about the benefits of consuming Alkaline Water. I must say, I definately agree with the benefits, but the pricing of 1 of the units is what scared me. Nice Article!
Mark Timmons
October 3, 2017
The way that people are selling Ionizers is based upon a scientific misconception.
Rob Elliott
October 2, 2017
Hello Mark, I believe it stands for Oxidation-Reduction Potential. Here is a brief breakdown: Oxidation-reduction potential, or ORP, is a measurement that indicates the degree to which a substance is capable of oxidizing or reducing another substance. ORP is measured in millivolts (mv) using an ORP meter. A positive ORP reading indicates that a substance is an oxidizing agent.
Mark Timmons
October 3, 2017
You are correct!
John Miles
October 17, 2017
Forgive me for not explaining ORP. Oxidation Reduction Potential is basically the ability of the water to act as an antioxidant. Oxidative stress damages cells. Because the water alkalizer uses a negatively charged plate to create the alkaline water it imparts a measurable negative charge to the resulting alkaline water. The Hanna Instruments HI98120 measures both pH to 100th of a pH as well as ORP to a resolution of +/-1000mV. The more negative the measurement, the greater the antioxidant value. Tap water will have a highly positive ORP---indicating no antioxidant value. Alkaline water produced with a water alkalizer will display a negative value. The more powerful the water alkalizer, the more negative the reading will be.
Thomas S.
July 5, 2018
Is it possible that choosing a certain type of limestone and crushing it up in a water dispensing bottle filter has health benefits ? If so is it a good idea to add a simple two pronged zapper attached to a 9 volt battery, Or is there more science to the topic than just that. I know that I dont like risking long term health problems from not understanding that food and water alone is not enough and the idea of having healthy mineral rich water seems like a great idea to compare with chemicals and who knows what in the tap water.
Mark Timmons
July 8, 2018
Maybe if you drank 40 gallons a day. You can't dissolve that much. Maybe you should eat it? JUST KIDDING! If you are bent on the best mineral water, this is it:
September 15, 2018
Can you please give me answer in one line there is require alkaline water or not ?
Mark Timmons
September 15, 2018
No... of course not!
Mark Acidicus
September 15, 2018
I take water out of any Orlando lake, big or small, scoop out the algae and other debris and put water in a 5 gal GLASS water bottle, like the ones they actually sold over 10 years ago. I then put it in the sun for 5 days, float 3 oz of tequila in it and let it settle in for a day, Then I drink the water. Water tastes great, no hint of tequila after taste, and I haven't been sick in 16 years.
Mark Timmons
September 15, 2018
Hilarious. Maybe you should also smoke eight White Owl cigars a day like George Burns. That's healthy too!