Antioxidant alkaline water is drinking water that has been treated, either by adding chemicals such as potassium hydroxide and bicarbonate or by electrolysis, so its pH level is elevated. Antioxidant alkali water is just one of the terms used for the bottled waters that are popular in the health food store and supplement industry. Other names for antioxidant alkali water include electrolyzed reduced water, ionized water, and alkaline water.
Pure water, which only occurs when all minerals and dissolved gases have been removed from the water through the process of distillation, is neutral on the pH scale. Substances with a neutral pH are given a value of 7.0. Acids are those substances with a pH of 6.9 and lower; alkaline substances, the chemical opposites of acids, are 7.1 and above. That makes alkaline water is any water with a pH greater than 7.0.
One of the most common alkaline substances in the home is plain old baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate. Electrolysis involves passing an electric current through drinking water in an effort to produce ions, or tiny charged molecules that are free and ready to become involved in chemical reactions. Pure water will not conduct electricity, so it cannot be electrolyzed or ionized until some chemicals are dissolved into it.
The health benefits of drinking antioxidant alkaline water have not been scientifically proven or widely accepted by the medical community. There is some possibility, though, that the carbon in the bicarbonate chemicals that are being added to the water are absorbed into bones, making them stronger and less resistant to arthritis. A lack of scientific proof aside, anecdotal proof for the health claims of antioxidant alkaline water is abundant. An Internet search will yield many sources advertising the positive effects of drinking antioxidant water. One must be skeptical when examining these claims, though, because they are typically coming from vendors of antioxidant alkali water machines and supplements, or their customers.
The most common antioxidants are vitamins C and A. Antioxidant alkaline water could essentially be made at home by adding a pinch of baking soda to tap water and using it to wash down a multivitamin. The term antioxidant is best understood by simply examining the parts of the word. “Anti” is the prefix meaning “against”, and oxidation is a process involving the element oxygen.
While oxygen molecules are necessary for breathing and other life functions, oxidation is not necessarily a positive thing. Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which oxygen reacts with substances and chemically changes them. For example, when a fresh apple is cut and exposed to oxygen in the air, it turns brown, and objects made of metal will rust or tarnish, all a result of oxidation. Oxidation also occurs in the human body and causes much of the deterioration associated with aging. Antioxidants can slow the process of oxidation, so they are considered healthy by most medical and health professionals.