By Dr. Bob McCauley
This is not the first time someone with gravitas in the natural health industry has made disparaging remarks concerning ionized water, dismissing it as a “fad”, “snake oil on tap” and/or simply as a “scam” that will eventually be exposed for the fraud it really is. Dr. Andrew Weil, who has in the past offered a lot of excellent natural health advice, dismisses Ionized Water and I wrote a rebuttal to his dismissive comments.
I have also debunked the debunkers of ionized Water, none of whom I believe have ever tried it. These misguided health professionals have missed the most important health advance in the history of mankind. Worse, they have potentially kept scores of people from integrating ionized water into their lifestyle and making themselves healthier.
However, I did not expect misinformation to disseminate from Dr. Joseph Mercola whose website www.Mercola.com I have followed for many years now. It is informative, a great resource and Dr. Mercola seems sincere in offering the information and promoting the products he sells, one of them being Chlorella of which I am proud to say that we are one of the largest importers of Chlorella in North America. I believe in Chlorella the way I believe in Ionized Water. Both have been scientifically assessed and documented. However, when it comes to Dr. Mercola’s opinions about Ionized Water I have concluded he knows nothing more about it than what he might have heard, but he certainly has not investigated it thoroughly the way he has about so many other things, such as his negative assessment of soy, which I completely agree with. This makes the situation even more troubling and saddening to hear Dr. Mercola offer such a negative assessment of ionized water. Clearly, he understands almost nothing about it, and for someone who is supposed to be on the cusp of natural health advances it has taken him quite a long time to comment and then to denounce it as though it has suddenly appeared on the market when the fact is that Ionized Water has quite a long and interesting history.
I have been drinking Ionized Water for 14 years, since January 1996. Don Strayer walked in with a story about some incredible water he was promoting and the rest is history. When I first discovered Ionized Water I thought it was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen in my life and my assessment has not changed one bit other than to say I am even more adamant now about it than I was then. I have written six books on health, including The Miraculous Properties of Ionized Water, which is in its 3rd Edition and is by far my biggest selling book. It has been translated into Spanish and soon Chinese. I also wrote a guide to purchasing a water ionizer, all this in an effort to legitimize ionized water and tell the world about the healthiest substance we can possibly consume because there is nothing better for our health than water and there is no better water than Ionized Water.
The fact that Dr. Mercola is a medical doctor neither qualifies or disqualifies him from making an assessment about Ionized Water and anything else regarding natural health, nor do you need to be a water expert. Health and medicine are two completely different things and should never be confused with one another. I am a Certified Water Technician with the State of Michigan. I am also a Type II Public Water Supply Specialist and have both S-5 and D-5 certifications. I have been in the bottled water business since 1993. My family has a long history in the water industry. My father, who had a PhD from MIT, pioneered environmental issues regarding ground water and drinking water quality. I have two credentials in Natural Health. However, none of that or anything I could possibly say about Ionized Water verifies whether it is the healthiest substance we can consume. This is because the truth of what Ionized Water is does not depend on witnesses. But that doesn’t mean that witnesses can’t help. Let me and so many others stand witness to the healthiest substance available: Ionized Water.
DR. MERCOLA, LET’S GO TO SCHOOL:
MERCOLA: First of all, I don’t doubt that some people notice improvements from them. There is no question.
HOUSTON: That’s probably from drinking more water.
MY REPONSE: This begs the question of whether Dr. Mercola is suggesting that drinking ionized water is actually healthy for people or whether it is a placebo and people only “think” it is benefiting them. This is the first of many contradictory statements that both Dr. Mercola and Houston make in this interview.
MERCOLA: One of the primary ones is that most all of them are multilevel marketing systems. They are very expensive. They are well over a thousand dollars. There is a strong incentive to sell those that are unrelated to the quality of the water that’s being produced.
MY REPONSE: Most companies that sell water ionizers are not multilevel marketing companies, but rather are traditional companies that sell direct to the consumer and their prices are always much lower for comparable products.
MERCOLA: But even more important from the quality of the water, I don’t think that we were designed to drink alkaline water — at least all the time. It is my understanding, some of the healthiest waters maybe even acidic. At least from some of these mountain spring sources.
MY REPONSE: Dr. Mercola is unclear as to whether we should drink alkaline water some of the time or not at all. I have never heard of any mountain spring water sources that are naturally acidic. Nor do I know on what basis Dr. Mercola makes his claim that some of the healthiest waters may be acidic. The only water that is acid is purified water, such as reverse osmosis or distilled water. Rarely do we find a ground water that is below a pH of 6.5. I would like Dr. Mercola to explain his reasoning as to why he considers some of the healthiest waters to be acidic. The statement is blatantly wrong in my opinion.
MERCOLA: I think the central guiding natural process that I try to follow is that I don’t think you’re going to find naturally occurring alkaline water.
MY REPONSE: The primary component in ionized water that makes it an alkaline is hydroxyl ions, i.e. molecules that possess an extra electron. The more of these there are in the water the higher the pH of the water will be. Hydroxyl ions are found commonly in nature. They can be found in abundance in waterfalls, the waves crashing on the beach and water bouncing off the rocks as it comes down a mountain. However, these hydroxyl ions are quickly neutralized by the abundance of hydrogen ions that are also present in nature. Therefore, the effects of the hydroxyl ions are short-lived and nearly impossible to harvest from nature.
By producing ionized water, we are able to magnify and concentrate the same hydroxyl ions that are commonly found in nature. Ionized water possesses all the same qualities as raw fruits and vegetables:
- Ionized water is alkaline as are raw foods.
- Ionized water possesses an abundance of hydroxyl ions that are free radical scavengers, as do raw foods.
- Ionized water is a negative charge, oxidation reduction potential (ORP), that reduce oxidation in the body and as do raw foods.
- Ionized water is detoxifying due to its small water molecule cluster, as are raw foods.
The only differences are that raw foods have nutrients and ionized water is extremely hydrating.
MERCOLA: I think the central guiding natural process that I try to follow is that I don’t think you’re going to find naturally occurring alkaline water.
HOUSTON: Not at a level of 10 or 12 or 13 on the pH scale.
MY REPONSE: There are several instances of naturally occurring ground and spring sources that have a pH 9.4 or higher, such as Trinity Springs in Colorado. More importantly, ionized water should never be consumed over a pH 9.9. While some marketers mistakenly encourage people to consume ionized water at a pH up to pH 11. It should never be consumed above pH 10.
MERCOLA: No. When you try to play with natural processes and think that you’re academically, intellectually superior what’s happened over thousands of years — that you’re going to produce a better–, sometimes you can, but when you do that, you have to be really careful and especially with something foundational like water.
So I like to keep it as simple and basic and as close as to what we find in the natural environment as possible.
MY REPONSE: I appreciate Dr. Mercola’s sentiment of wanting to get everything as simple, basic and close to nature as possible, especially when it comes to water which is the foundation and cornerstone of health, and I maintain that ionized water fits that description exactly.
HOUSTON: All the water you find on the planet has minerals in it.
MY REPONSE: Technically that is true although many water sources such as glaciers, rivers, lakes and even some ground water has extremely low amounts of minerals in the water (TDS). However, Houston is right in concluding that naturally occurring water contains minerals and that purified water (reverse osmosis and distillation) are not natural and therefore are not found in nature.
HOUSTON : I absolutely believe that we should all be — from our dogs and cats and fish, to us, that all of our water should have minerals in it.
MERCOLA: Well if doesn’t it’s a problem. This is incontrovertible, absolute documented fact that if you are having demineralized water you invariably suffer some health consequences as a result of that.
MY REPONSE: I absolutely agree with Dr. Mercola and Houston. All water we consume should have TDS (total dissolved solids) of at least 100 ppm (parts per million). This would include almost ALL ground water and Spring water.
HOUSTON: I personally, I feel that if you’re close to 7, you can’t be all that wrong. I personally believe that alkaline is better for you.
MERCOLA: Maybe 6 to 8, somewhere in that range. When you start going beyond that…
HOUSTON: 6.5 to 7.5.
MERCOLA: 6.5 and 7.5, so even more defined. It’s probably a healthier range to shoot for.
MY REPONSE: Upon hearing this exchange between Houston and Dr. Mercola my sense is that they have not really carefully considered what the pH of water and foods that we consume should be. Dr. Mercola offers a range between pH 6 – 8, which is a 100 fold difference between the two numbers since the pH scale is logarithmic. Then Houston offers a more narrow range of 6.5 – 7.5, which Dr. Mercola tends to go along with and then states that it is a “healthier range to shoot for”. I get a sense from that exchange that they are making it up as they go. For the record, anything below a pH of 7.0 is acid and should not be consumed in my opinion.
HOUSTON: So my feeling is the closer to the middle you are, the better we are for what our bodies processes are designed to operate on.
MY REPONSE: Yes, the optimal body pH is 7.0, which is measured through your urine, not saliva. However, to bring it up to neutral, 7.0, we need to constantly add more alkaline substances such as Ionized Water and raw fruits and vegetables. This is because we are constantly acidifying our bodies with our lifestyle, diet and environment. The cooked foods we eat are acidic, in particular the animal protein we consume, which most of us put at the center of our diet. This is why I recommend ionized water and raw foods that are both alkaline.
HOUSTON: The reason why I personally and this is just my personal opinion feel that alkaline water is optimal is because by definition you can’t have free radicals in an alkaline environment. There are no loose hydrogen atoms flying around looking for electrons.
I feel that if you want to minimize the possibility of having free radicals in your body, keep your body alkaline and your body will stay in balance that way.
MY REPONSE: Although he is correct in stating that ionized water is a free radical scavenger, Houston is demonstrating with that comment that he does not fully understand the principles of ionized water. Is not the alkalinity in ionized water that makes it a free radical scavenger, rather the presence of hydroxyl ions which are molecules that have an extra electron attached to them, giving them the ability to attach itself to a free radical and neutralize its potential for cellular damage.
There are several ways to make one or more alkaline such as alkaline drops, which typically contain potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. However, for a water to be considered a free radical scavenger it must contain free electrons, which only ionized water and raw foods have. The purpose of drinking alkaline water is to balance the body’s pH by bringing it closer to neutral at 7.0, not negate free radicals.
HOUSTON: My feeling is, I always like a pH above 7.
MY REPONSE: I agree with Houston that the pH of whatever we consume, whether it is food or liquid, should have a pH above 7.0. However, in this interview, Houston has stated that he prefers to drink water with a pH of 6.5 – 7.5. Therefore, his statements in this interview are contradictory since pH 6.5 is acid. This again demonstrates that neither of them has really thought any of this through.
HOUSTON: Now getting that I don’t have the medical background, and you [referring to Mercola] do, I just know water.
MY REPONSE: You certainly do not need a medical background to understand health or water. Health and medicine are completely unrelated, therefore whether someone has medical credentials does not impress me one way or the other when discussing what is healthy. In that regard Dr. Mercola and Houston are equally unqualified to discuss ionized water since neither of them have bothered to research it.
HOUSTON: They’re electrocuting the water.
MY REPONSE: ionization is a simple concept that involves the use of an anode (negatively charged electrode) and a cathode (positively charged electrode) to produce positive and negative ions. It is naive and misrepresentative to state that the water is being electrocuted.
HOUSTON: They do make outrageous claims for health. Those are short lived. The companies just can’t do that. I’ll . . .
HOUSTON: So they use a selective filtration device like the technology that use so that they can actually take out some contaminants because those ionizers don’t remove anything from the water.
MERCOLA: It’s an important point to consider, very important point. Thank you for mentioning it. These ionizers are not water filters.
HOUSTON: No, they’re not treatment devices.
MY REPONSE: We should not confuse a water ionizer with a water filter. However, all water ionizers that are marketed today have a built-in filter that cleans the water before it is then ionized. It is important that contaminants be removed from the water before it is ionized by filtration and ionization have nothing to do with one another, although they should be used in conjunction with one another.
HOUSTON: The ionizers, they give you that range of 9 to 13, and 4 to 2 on the low side. It’s not a natural process.
MY REPONSE: Residential water ionizers are only able to produce a pH in the range of 4 to 11 depending on the source water. Once again Houston’s assessment of ionized water is wrong, demonstrating he does not know much about it other than what he is heard.
HOUSTON: This is difficult to get as NSF or they’ll lean on their UL mark. What they’re not telling you is those certifications are electrical components that were not going to burn your house down. Those have nothing to do with water quality. So when you see those —
MERCOLA: Or distinction in an area that creative marketers can give you the impression that it’s certified and it is truly certified. It’s not illegal but it’s unethical and it’s deceptive.
MY REPONSE: Filtration cleans the water while ionization takes the water to another level of healthiness that has not been seen before. A water ionizer could never get NSF certification because it does not treat or filter the water in any way. A better way to look at a water ionizer is that it enhances the water and makes it healthier to consume. I often recommend a pre-treatment filtration system before the water ionizer, which would give you double filtration.
HOUSTON: There is certainly a place for acidic water and alkaline water . . . I do see a place for ionizers industrially. But when it comes to human health, we don’t know if it’s good for you to drink water with a pH of 10 or to wash your skin with water with a pH of 3.
MERCOLA: Because the studies haven’t been done.
MY REPONSE: There have been hundreds of scientific studies done on the subject of ionized Water. I have collected them in my book the Miraculous Properties of Ionized Water, and they are available on my website. There are also numerous studies that have been conducted on ionized water in other languages such as Russian and Japanese. I carefully chronicled the development of ionized water in Russia beginning in the early 20th century.
MERCOLA: It’s probably not going to be your best long term solution when you’re drinking water that doesn’t appear this way in nature.
MY REPONSE: As I previously stated ionized water does appear in nature and mimics the attributes of raw foods which are also only found in nature. Since Dr. Mercola suggests that we should only consume things found in nature I would like to remind him that cooked foods do not appear in nature yet he promotes cooked foods such as fish, ostrich and other cooked meals. Wild deer and squirrels live on a raw food diet, not a cooked food diet. My point here is that if we want to discuss what is naturally healthy for the body as those things only found in nature then we should be consistent.
MERCOLA: I think this may be more of a public health service announcement to really warn people that if you are consuming alkaline water, an ionizer, you really want to give it a second thought and maybe want to eliminate it from your house and certainly not promote or recommend it to anyone else because more than likely, in the not too distant future, this is going to be well known and publicized and these devices will not even be available anymore.
MY REPONSE: I have been consuming and promoting ionized water for 14 years and I have been listening to the prediction of its death knell for that long. Ionized water is the healthiest substance we can consume and debunkers such as Dr. Mercola and others are not going to get rid of it by simply stating they are a fad or by denouncing it as others have as “snake oil on tap”. Ionized water is here to stay because the truth cannot be kept a secret forever.
HOUSTON: I mean, when you’re selling a product that 10 people get a commission on, it’s expensive.
MY REPONSE: We should never put a price on our health because without our health we have nothing. Having said that, my suggestion to those who do not wish to buy a product where 10 people are getting a commission is for them to buy the product from a company that sells directly to the public and not through a multilevel marketing structure. There are plenty of us out here who do just that.
It has been my experience that water technology professionals such as Houston know a lot about water, but nothing about health. There have been numerous attempts to get the water tech industry interested in marketing water ionizers, but there is no interest because fundamentally they are a health product, not a water product. The biggest mistake that Houston and Dr. Mercola both made in this interview is assuming that a water ionizer is just another water product trying to pass itself off as something special. The fact is that a water ionizer produces the healthiest substance we can possibly consume.