The Science Behind Hydrogen Infusion Machines and Alkaline Water Ionizers

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This article outlines the science behind two types of water machines that will likely be competing head to head for the affection of health consumers in America in the very near future.

We begin our comparison by first looking at Hydrogen-Infusing Machines because the claims made for hydrogen infused water are easy to verify. Following the discussion about hydrogen water-infusing machines, we will delve into the murky world of alkaline water machines.

Hydrogen Infusion (water) Machines “HIM’s”:

The health benefits of ingesting molecular hydrogen gas (H2) for humans first drew public attention in 2007, when a study by Dr. Ohsawa, et al. in Japan titled “Hydrogen acts as a therapeutic antioxidant by selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals,” appeared in Nature Medicine. The discovery by Dr. Ohsawa and his group instantly caught the attention of the scientific community because of the implications of their study on human health.

Since Dr. Ohsawa’s study appeared in 2007, more than 500 scientific studies and review papers have been published in reputable scientific and medical journals. To date, the benefits of ingesting H2 has been found to be beneficial for every human organ and has been identified as being beneficial in more than 150 specific human diseases (see www.molecularhydrogenfoundation.com).

The H2 industry in Asia is closely regulated and has grown to become a billion-dollar industry in a few short years. The scientist that are guiding us in our journey of learning have indicated that approximately 1,600 researchers are currently studying molecular hydrogen. How long will it be until H2 bursts into the the consciousness of the American health community?

The soon to be introduced HIM units use Ultra Filtration filters to clean the water to “almost pure” 0.01 microns, thereby eliminating bacteria and much more from the source water. One particular HIM does electrolysis on water one drop at a time and then infuses the therapeutic hydrogen gas into the clean water which becomes available for drinking.

The “secret” to the technology of HIM’s is a Proton Exchange Membrane “PEM” produced by Dupont. The PEM allows hydrogen protons created at the anode during electrolysis to pass through the membrane and form hydrogen gas by picking up electrons at the cathode. This leading edge technology has been used for decades in industrial electrolysis systems as well as in fuel cells. This technology has recently been applied to the hydrogen water industry in various commercial units and has now been made available for residential use as well.

The water produced by HIM’s remains pH neutral during the process. That means the pH of the water will remain close to the level of pH supplied by the source water. Neutral pH is very important because calcium and magnesium which are found in the source water won’t precipitate out of solution during electrolysis. That is important because the water cell won’t get clogged up and rendered virtually useless when it comes to producing soluble hydrogen gas, which is what happens with alkaline water ionizers that produce high pH levels. Not to mention that you won’t have to worry about getting those “white flakes” in your glass anymore.

Alkaline Water Ionizers:

At the time of the writing of this article in early 2016, at least a couple of hundred thousand alkaline water ionizers have been sold in America over the past decade. Prior to 2004 when Enagic USA Inc. started selling their “Kangen” machines using a direct marketing “MLM” system, alkaline water ionizers sales were rare in America. Alkaline water ionizer sales have experienced limited success in Japan and Korea since the early 2000’s.

Anecdotal evidence has been gathered that support the health benefits of drinking alkaline ionized water over the years. However, the alkaline ionized water story has never received any support from the scientific or medical communities in America. In fact, the scientific and medical communities have always been very clear that the claims being made by the sellers of alkaline water ionizers are not supported by science or medicine.

The fact that alkaline water ionizers have not been able to provide any legitimate scientific arguments or studies to support various claims (e.g. microclustering, free electrons, etc.) made by the industry over the years does not preclude the fact that alkaline water ionizers may provide health benefits. In fact, a properly maintained alkaline water ionizer may produce some molecular hydrogen in solution which as you have learned above is responsible for creating the health benefits. Proper maintenance of an alkaline water ionizer requires daily or weekly (depending upon the source water conditions) acid bath of the plates in the water cell.

Before condemning alkaline water ionizer sellers, it is important to realize that until the benefits of molecular hydrogen were discovered in 2007 in Japan and reported here, nobody knew the real source of the health benefits of the water. Going forward, no more excuses for dispensing false information should be tolerated.

Responses to Alkaline Water Ionizer Claims by Medical Organizations:

The Cleveland Clinic website published a fact filled article in October 2013 with the title: “Alkaline Water: Don’t Believe the Marketing Hype”. The article quotes Beth Czerwony MS, RD, LD, who talks about the human body’s natural buffering systems and the inability of the alkaline marketers to prove their claims. In fact, she is quoted as saying:”claims have not been properly tested in controlled scientific studies, and some even run counter to what science tells us about the body”. You can visit the website by clicking on the following link: http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/10/alkaline-water-dont-believe-the-marketing-hype/

The Mayo Clinic website has published an article titled “Is alkaline water better for you than plain water” by Katherine Zeratsky in which she says: “claims made by alkaline water ionizers can not be supported here”. Here is a link to the website: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/alkaline-water/faq-20058029

Responses to Alkaline Water Ionizer Claims by Chemists:

Here is a link to a website by Dr. Stephen Lower, a retired chemist who crushes what he refers to as pseudo-scientific claims made by alkaline water ionizer companies: http://www.chem1.com/CQ/ionbunk.html. Dr. Lower’s website was widely criticized by the alkaline water ionizer industry due to his refusal to test the machines, but his debunking of the scientific arguments offered by the alkaline water ionizer industry were never successfully challenged.

The MHF founder and executive director, Tyler LeBaron, who is widely recognized as a respected authority in the study of molecular hydrogen gas, frequently lectures as a keynote speaker at medical and scientific conferences around the world. When asked about the alkaline water industry claim that alkaline pH water neutralizes an acidic diet, he tells his audiences that one teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a glass of water will neutralize more acid than 10,000 liters of pH 10 alkaline water. His explanation of the fact is based upon the fact that bicarbonates are a buffer and water is not. Our bodies naturally produce bicarbonates to maintain homeostasis in the GI tract and blood.

Tyler debunks the myth about micro clustering in the first of a four part series here:   http://www.molecularhydrogenfoundation.org/microclustering-the-making-of-a-myth-part-1-facts-claims-and-history/ . You can link to the second, third, and fourth articles from there.

Tyler debunks claims about visually compelling demonstrations used by alkaline water ionizer sales people that supposedly demonstrate that strong alkaline water removes pesticides from fruit and vegetables, and the emulsifying qualities of the water here:   http://www.molecularhydrogenfoundation.org/core-information/strong-alkaline-water/)

The website: http://www.apswater.com/article.asp?id=198&title=Alkaline+Water+Hoax+It+is+Simple+Science offers a link to a 12:29 minute Podcast from Brian Dunning of www.skeptoid.com that is a “must listen” for anyone considering buying an alkaline water ionizer or joining a MLM system that markets alkaline water ionizers.

SUMMARY:

  1. Various claims made by the alkaline water ionizer industry over the years have not been substantiated by the scientific or medical communities. In fact, the claims have been rejected by the medical community and successfully debunked by scientists.
  2. Molecular hydrogen has been found in more than 500 independent scientific studies and reviews to be beneficial in more than 150 human diseases.
  3. Ongoing research on molecular hydrogen is expanding rapidly through the efforts of more than 1,600 researchers.
  4. Hydrogen Infusion Machines are capable of producing therapeutic concentrations of molecular hydrogen on a consistent basis over a wide spectrum of source water conditions
  5. Unlike Alkaline Water Ionizers, Hydrogen Infusion Machines produce molecular hydrogen without raising the pH level of water. That means calcium doesn’t precipitate out of solution during production causing scale build up within the water cell. That is important because calcium deposits render the cell incapable of producing molecular hydrogen gas in solution. If you don’t drink the hydrogen in the water, it won’t help you.

Before alkaline water ionizer sellers decide to attack us, we would like to invoke the famous words of Elton John: “Don’t shoot me, I’m only the piano player”. Our goal is simply to investigate and report the scientific evidence. How the evidence is interpreted is up to the reader.

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