A water ionizer is an appliance that filters and ionizes water.
How It Works:
First, water flowing into the Ionizer passes through a multi-layered filter to remove contaminants.
Next, the Ionizer re-arranges the minerals in the water, according to their electrical charge. This takes place in the ionization chamber, which is divided into two compartments by a diaphragm or membrane. One side has positive electrodes (cathode) and the other has negative electrodes (anode).
When the filtered water enters the ionization chamber, the negative electrodes attract the positive alkaline minerals to their compartment; while the positive electrodes attract the negative acid minerals to theirs.
So one side has only alkaline minerals and the other only acid, at which point alkaline water flows out from the Ionizer’s top outlet, and acid water from the bottom.
Alkaline water contains the minerals essential to our health – calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and silicon. This water is highly beneficial in neutralizing body acids.
Acid water on the other hand can be used in place of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, e.g. for washing vegetables. It has a shortage of electrons giving it the ability to oxidize and sterilize.
You can use a simple pH test kit to assess the alkalinity or acidity of the water. Most Ionizers include this. You can also test alkaline water's ORP – that’s oxidation reduction potential.
Manufacturers make various claims about the chemical properties of ionized water. A common claim is that in non-ionized water, water molecules form tightly bound clusters, and that ionizing water breaks up those clusters. Manufacturers claim that ionized water is more readily absorbed by the body than ordinary water, and that minerals in ionized water are more readily available to the body. There is an element of truth to the first part; water molecules are held together by hydrogen bonding, and (especially in the presence of cations) can form clusters.
Critics argue that water ionizers have no permanent effect on water. Water spontaneously self-ionizes to 10-14 M under normal conditions. If the concentration of these ions is increased (hydroxide and hydronium), then they will react with each other to restore the original concentration. The reaction is very rapid (strong acids and strong bases completely react with each other in seconds, so hydronium hydroxide (or ionized water) should have a half life measured in fractions of a second (or, at best, a few seconds). If the water is removed from normal conditions (e.g. heated) the concentrations may be increased slightly, but not very much, and are reversed when the water is returned to standard conditions. Therefore, water ionizers cannot increase the concentrations of these ions for a significant time, without the addition of oppositely-charged ions, to produce an electrostatically neutral solution.
A link is often made between consumption of non-ionized water and a medical condition known as chronic cellular dehydration. Another claim is that ionized water is an antioxidant. Water ionizer makers claim their product treats chronic diarrhea, Indigestion, Gastrointestinal abnormal fermentation, and Acidosis. These claims are, again, not usually based on empirical evidence, but rather testimonials about individual health benefits.
Actual clinical experience of doctors administering ionized water is proving the validity of the laboratory research that led to the original manufacture of Ionizers.
Gabriel Cousens, M.D., writes in "Conscious Eating" (2000): "Japanese and some American hospital research has found ionized water useful for the treatment of cancer, diabetes, intestinal problems, liver problems, and other chronic diseases. Alkalinized ionized water can play a powerful role in reversing the degenerative results of an acid system. This is a revolutionary health breakthrough."
Dr. Robert O. Young in his book “The pH Miracle for Weight Loss: Balance Your Body Chemistry, Achieve Your Ideal Weight” (2005) endorses alkaline water Ionizers. Watch this CNN interview (quick video) with Dr. Young where he states obesity is an over-acid problem.
Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, M.D. report that: “A key component of our Longevity Program is reducing free radical damage, a chief factor in disease and aging. The negative ions in alkaline water are a rich source of electrons that can be donated to these free radicals, neutralizing them and stopping them from damaging healthy tissues ... Another benefit of drinking alkaline water is that ... you combat metabolic acidosis and improve absorption of nutrients ... Dr. Grossman has had many patients report of health benefits they have experienced from drinking alkaline electron-rich water.”
Dr. Theodore A. Baroody, Ph.D. Nutrition, writes in “Alkalize Or Die” (1991): "I have administered over 5,000 gallons of this ionized water for every health situation imaginable. ... it is my opinion that this technology will change the way all health care providers and the public approach their health ... My suggestion is to drink restructured alkaline water whenever possible."