What is Alkaline Water?
The acid – alkaline balance is controlled by a powerful buffering system largely mediated by calcium channels. Much has been written about cancer and alkalization and it has become a popular belief that cancer cells cannot grow in an alkaline environment. Let’s try to understand where this information came from and how we can separate truth from fiction; there will be much to benefit as far as health is concerned.
Fact: The pH of the body is important and needs to be maintained in a semi-neutral state to achieve homeostasis.
Fact: Diet does play an important role in maintaining a neutral pH
Fact: Poor diets, including the typical American diet, contribute to lowering tissue pH levels (create a greater acidity)
Fact: Increased acidity (lower pH levels) in the cells and extracellular spaces contributes to poorer cellular function and more sluggish removal of extracellular toxins
Fact: Cancer cells do have an acidic ‘slime’ layer that surrounds the growing mass
Fiction: Cancer cannot grow in an alkaline environment. This is not true. The reason that cancer has an acidic layer that surrounds it is because the rapidly replicating cells are producing a vast amount of waste that cannot be cleared quickly enough by the lymphatic system. This acidic layer then protects the growing cells limiting the Th1 immune cytokines from making an assault. Dr. Tullio Simoncini, the Italian MD who was imprisoned for injecting sodium bicarbonate solution into cancer sites has had some success in breaking down the acidic wall. There are just too many buffering systems to think that alkalization of the stomach can perform the same feat.
Truth: You have to understand physiology; pH of the blood will always be maintained at the expense of the tissue. A diet high in carbs, additives, flavorings, chemicals, excitotoxins, etc., tend to acidify the system, NOT because they are acidic in themselves, but because of what the body needs to do to detoxify such garbage. Our bodies do not become alkaline because we drink alkaline water any more than we become acidic because we eat things that have a low pH. Sure, soda pop is acidifying to the system but NOT because it is acidic (it is), it is acidifying because of the increased (and overwhelming) pressure the accumulation of poor food choices has on the liver and cellular organelles.
How do we alkalize the tissue? Is that a goal? Yes and no. Our goal should be to detoxify and stop toxifying the body by getting back to the way we were meant to eat. Vegetables and whole fruit help to bring balance back to the system and are alkalizing to the tissue, NOT because they register higher on the pH scale (lemons are extremely acidic) but because of what they do INSIDE us. They are filled with nutrients and enzymes that aide healing. Understand, I can destroy a carrot by growing it conventionally with fertilizers and pesticides, process it, blanch it, can it and let it store on a grocers shelf for nine months and THINK I’m doing right by eating vegetables but my carrot side dish may now be equally acidifying to my system and a can of soda. It is both the type and quality of food choices that either brings healing or destruction.
Live, raw, organic food is the best ‘alkalizer’. This is why juicing (making your own home-made carrot, apple, celery juice, etc.) is the best. It is a pre-digested bundle of nutrition that alkalizes your tissue. It also carries an abundant amount of enzymes that assist the breakdown of the acidic ‘slime’ layer of cancer.
Fiction: What’s wrong with alkaline water; doesn’t that help? NO, I am firmly against drinking alkaline water in an attempt to alkalize the tissue. First, it can contribute to the hypochlorhydria that has set-up your ill health in the first place. Hypochlorhydria is probably the most common health problem in the modern world and is characterized as a decreased stomach acid production largely caused by the chemicals in food that have irritated the stomach’s acid producing cells. Symptoms include increased gas, GERD, reflux, upset stomach, etc., and most people treat the symptoms with antacids, Prilosec, Tagamet or Rolaids. These medications will relieve the symptoms but are exactly what NOT to do. People with a decreased stomach acid are not able to digest their food and it sits in the stomach longer, causing upset, fermentation of carbohydrates, and possible regurgitating what little acid is there up through the esophagus causing giving reflux. Again, you can negate the symptoms by using antacids or you can fix the problem by adding digestive enzymes and HCl (in supplement form) to the diet with each meal until the stomach cells have heals enough to take over their responsibility.
There are several other reasons I do not recommend alkalizing your water but will comment on just one more. Several recent studies in JAMA have pointed out that subclinical, undiagnosed H. Pylori infections are far more common that otherwise thought. One study stated that nearly 50% of the world’s population suffers from an undiagnosed H. Pylori infection. H. Pylori can be responsible for ulcers but can also infiltrate the epithelial tissue to cause autoimmune inflammation of the cardiovascular tissue and even sinusitis and Rosacea. Alkalizing a stomach that is meant to give the individual a first-line defense against pathogens, maintain a pH of about 1.5 to digest food, and quickly do its job to move bolus through the system seems counterproductive.
There is much to be said about toxins in our water but let’s just take a common sense approach. If we are attempting to detoxify poisons in our body, it only makes sense to eliminate as many sources of toxic exposure as possible. Drinking water is one source.
Out of all the types of water purification, I like Reverse Osmosis filtration best. Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a process in which dissolved inorganic solids (such as salts, heavy metals, etc.) are removed from a solution (water in this case). This is accomplished by household water pressure pushing the tap water through a semi permeable membrane. The membrane (which is about as thick as cellophane) allows only the water to pass through, not the impurities or contaminates. These impurities and contaminates are flushed down the drain. Good RO systems remove most everything larger than .001 microns.
Though RO purification removes all ‘bad’ things like heavy metals and contaminants, it also removes good minerals so you must make sure you are taking a mineral supplement if you are drinking RO water. This is why some say that RO water is ‘dead’ water. I agree. It’s a pretty easy ‘fix’ and the benefits of removing all the stuff that RO does far outweigh the negative of having to take a mineral supplement.
Like everything, not every RO unit is created equal. We use a unit produced by Ecowater Systems and it seems to be the best that I’ve researched. Just don’t buy a super cheap one as the quality of the membrane equals the quality of filtered water at the opposite end.
*This blog post is particularly for those drinking city water. Well water has a variety of minerals that is healthy for the body and does not contain fluoride. However, it is wise to get your well water tested every couple years to be certain your water is not contaminated with heavy metals.
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Dr. Conners graduated with his doctorate from Northwestern Health Sciences University in 1986 and has been studying alternative cancer care for over 20 years. He holds AMA Fellowships in Regenerative & Functional Medicine and Integrative Cancer Therapy.
He is the author of numerous books including, Stop Fighting Cancer and Start Treating the Cause, Cancer Can’t Kill You if You’re Already Dead, Help, My Body is Killing Me, Chronic Lyme, 3 Phases of Lyme, 23 Steps to Freedom, and many more you can download for FREE on our books page.