A total rip off that was the conclusion of Dr. Rafael Castillo, who recently wrote an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer about his relatives purchase of a $4,000 “water alkalizer or ionizer” from a Multi-Level Marketer. Mr. Castillo did not mention the brand of the machine, but from the price his relative paid, and the fact that it was bought through multi-level marketing, you can easily tell his relative bought a Kangen Water machine. Castillo was shocked by his “scholarly” relatives’ purchase, and responded by attacking alkaline water as a scam.
Interesting Fact: Dr. Castillo cites many of the claims that Enagic sales reps use to sell the Water Machine that we here at LIFE Ionizers have also spoken out against in many articles on this blog.
Does it cost $4,0000 for alkaline water?
No. in fact, you get alkaline water for a lot less than that. LIFE Ionizers’ M5 ionizer costs $1,497, a lot less than the Kangen machine. Or for even less, LIFE has a travel ionizer called the LIFE Fuzion for just $897. Either machine makes alkaline water for a lot less than Kangen!
Dr. Castillo claimed he doesn’t understand why water ionizers cost more than $100. The reason is the platinum coating on an ionizer’s plates. Platinum costs about $1,400 an ounce. An ionizer’s plates must be coated with platinum for your safety. Platinum is a noble metal, it’s not affected by the process used by water ionizers to make alkaline water. If the plates in an ionizer weren’t coated with platinum, it would result in titanium oxide particles being released into the water going through an ionizer.
Fact: Dr Castillo is a doctor, not an engineer. He doesn’t know how water ionizers work, and therefore doesn’t understand why water ionizer plates must be coated with platinum. It is the platinum coating on the plates that make up the majority of the cost of making a water ionizer.
Rafael Castillo – Water Health Advocate
Dr Castillo is a heart specialist who describes himself as a water therapy advocate, and in fact he has a column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer where he has stated that water is “one of the best natural medicines freely available to man”. So the big question is: Why would a water health advocate attack alkaline water?
The reason given by Dr Castillo is that he considers it to be a placebo. Dr. Castillo holds this opinion despite the fact that he has seen a study that showed that drinking alkaline water may retard bone loss. Dr, Castillo cites two other doctors that hold similar opinions to his. So the big question is: “Why is there so much skepticism about alkaline water?” The most likely answer? Alkaline water has been given a bad reputation by the overly aggressive way it is marketed by Enagic’s army of multi-level marketers.
Dr. Castillo’s skepticism is based on claims such as ‘alkaline water can slow down the aging process and prevent disease’. He has a right to be skeptical, because neither of these claims have been adequately studied. There is research showing that alkaline water has potential as an antioxidant, we discuss it on this blog. But before anybody can claim that antioxidant potential can cure disease or retard aging, additional research must be done.
LIFE Ionizers has spoken out against the outrageous claims that Dr. Castillo cites as his reason for viewing alkaline water as a placebo. In fact, on the subject of the junk science being foisted on an unsuspecting public by Enagic’s Kangen Water salespeople, we largely agree with Dr. Castillo, and urge Enagic to subject it’s salespeople to more responsible oversight.
The Bogus Science Behind the Alkaline Water Scam
Dr. True Ott, another “expert” cited by Dr Castillo in his article attacks alkaline water as “junk science” with some junk science of his own. According to Ott:
These machines strip electrons from the contaminants themselves, and this creates hydroxyl ions which are harmful free radicals. The OH- ions attack cells and stimulate adrenaline, which is why there is a short-term buzz, but in the long run it creates a condition that breeds cancer. It can also cause arthritis.
Here’s the junk science in what Ott said, and the studies that prove he’s wrong
Claim: Strip electrons from the contaminants themselves: What contaminants? Water ionizers, like any drinking water system, have filters to remove contaminants. Dr. Ott never explains what contaminants he thinks are in alkaline water, nor does he say what happens to them after their electrons are stripped away. That matters because if you take electrons from a substance, it changes.
Claim: Hydroxyl ions are harmful free radicals Dr Ott is mistaking the hydroxyl radical (-HO) for the hydroxyl ion (HO-). According to Free Radicals and Reactive Oxygen, a study guide for medical students from Colorado State University, the hydroxyl ion (found in ionized alkaline water) is not a radical.
Claim: The OH- ions attack cells and stimulate adrenaline Dr Ott provides no medical references to back up this claim. He is guilty of doing the same thing Enagic’s sales reps do – making unfounded medical claims – and he is wrong.. In fact, here are five studies that say: Alkaline water functions like an antioxidant:
- Lee, MY, YK Kim, and et al. “Electrolyzed-reduced water protects against oxidative damage to DNA, RNA, and protein.” Springer Link. Humana Press, 01 Nov 2006. Web. 2 Jul 2013. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1385/ABAB:135:2:133
- Hiraoka, A, M Takemoto, and et al Studies on the Properties and Real Existence of Aqueous Solution Systems that are Assumed to Have Antioxidant Activities by the Action of “Active Hydrogen.”Journal of Health Science. Journal of Health Science, 09 Jun 2004. Web. 2 Jul 2013. http://image.sciencenet.cn/olddata/kexue.com.cn/upload/blog/file/2009/8/200986121047259319.pdf
- Tsai, Chia-Fang, Yu-Wen Hsu, and et al. “Hepatoprotective effect of electrolyzed reduced water against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in mice.” http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691509002464Sciencedirect. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 01 Aug 2009. Web. 7 Nov 2013.
- Yan, H, , and et al The neuroprotective effects of electrolyzed reduced water and its model water containing molecular hydrogen and Pt nanoparticles.” BMC Proceedings. Europeans Society for Animal Cell Technology, 22 Nov 2011. Web. 29 Oct 2013. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1753-6561/5/S8/P69
- Kashiwagi, Taichi, and Et Al. “Electrochemically Reduced Water Protects Neural Cells from Oxidative Damage.” Electrochemically Reduced Water Protects Neural Cells from Oxidative Damage. Hindawi Publishing, 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2014. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2014/869121/abs/
Claim: In the long run it creates a condition that breeds cancer. It can also cause arthritis. This is the second example of Dr Ott doing the exact same thing he accuses Kangen Water sales representatives of doing: He’s making medical claims with no studies to support them. A search of Google Scholar reveals that there are no studies that support Dr. Ott’s claim that alkaline water could cause arthritis or cancer.
Did you know?: LIFE Ionizers has been selling water ionizers in the US since 1996 – 19 years. Water ionizers have been sold in Japan since the 60’s, so they have been in use for about 50 years. In 50 years, there have been exactly zero reports of alkaline water causing any disease or degenerative condition.
There are many studies that show benefits from drinking ionized alkaline mineral water. You can read all about them here on the LIFE Ionizers blog.
LIFE Ionizers rebukes Dr. Ott for making medically unfounded claims. He is doing the exact same thing he is accusing Enagic’s salespeople of doing: Making claims that are not supported by medical research.
Dr Castillo also cites Dr. Andrew Weil, an author who has appeared on TV health shows who also makes claims about alkaline water but – like Dr Ott – he provides zero medical research that supports his claim. Dr. Weil is like any TV doctor, he may mean well, but he should back up his claims with research – something sorely lacking from TV doctors!
Philippine FDA Advisory on “Alkaline or Oxygenated Water”
Dr Castillo cites Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go of the Philippine FDA who rebuked Enagic and other multi-level marketers for making: “false, deceptive and misleading claims and strategies to promote alkaline water and oxygenated water” It is exactly these kind of claims that LIFE Ionizers has spoken out against.
Fact: Alkaline water is NOT oxygenated water!
LIFE Ionizers has said this many times before, in several articles: Alkaline water is NOT oxygenated water.” In fact, alkaline water is rich in excess hydrogen, it is not rich oxygen! Anybody who claims that alkaline water is oxygenated does not understand basic chemistry: Alkaline water has a higher pH than regular water. The “H” in pH stands for hydrogen. Claims that alkaline water is oxygenated are completely bogus.
The Chemistry: The acidic water made by a water ionizer is oxygenated. The alkaline water made by a water ionizer is rich in hydrogen. In fact, there is hydrogen gas present in alkaline water when it comes out of an ionizer.
Dr. Go is right to speak out against claims that alkaline water is oxygenated – it’s not. Claims about alkaline water being oxygenated is something that LIFE Ionizers has spoken out against for years. Dr. Go also questioned claims that alkaline water can raise blood pH, but two clinical studies on humans show that it does. We here at LIFE Ionizers feel strongly that Dr. Go is working from bogus information. Sadly, health professionals like Dr. Go can’t possibly give good advice about alkaline water when they are given bogus information.
Does alkaline water affect your blood pH level?
So is Dr. Go right? According to the study: Hydrogen-Rich Water Affected Blood Alkalinity in Physically Active Men, he’s wrong. Alkaline water can raise blood pH within the healthy pH range for blood (pH of 7.35 – 7.45). The study was a placebo-controlled, fully randomized interventional clinical study – the gold standard for medical studies. It compared the effect of drinking plain bottled water vs. alkaline water on the blood pH of 52 physically active men. The study showed that alkaline water can raise blood pH under two conditions of metabolic acidosis:
- Exercise induced acidosis – Blood pH lowered by exercise-induced acidity
- Fasting-induced acidosis – Blood pH lowered by body in a fasting state
Exercise induced acidosis occurs when you work out, and your muscles produce lactic acid. The study found that alkaline water raised blood pH by an average of .07 pH. That many not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that the healthy range for blood pH 7.35 – 7.45 is just .10 of a pH! This means that an increase of .07 ph is a 70% increase in blood pH within in the normal pH range for blood.
Fasting induced acidosis occurs if you’ve gone without food for 12 hours or more. In that condition, during the study, alkaline water was shown to raise blood pH by and average .04, which is a 40% increase in blood pH within the normal pH range for blood.
Drinking plain water (the control in this study) was shown to have no effect on blood pH under conditions of exercise- or fasting-induced acidosis. Dr. Go is wrong, alkaline water can raise your blood pH if your body is in a state of metabolic acidosis.
Reference: Ostojic, Sergej, and Marko Stonanovic. “Hydrogen-Rich Water Affected Blood Alkalinity in Physically Active Men.” . Research in Sports Medicine: An International Journal, 06 Jan 2014. Web. 20 Feb 2014. <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15438627.2013.852092>.
An open message to Enagic and other LIFE Ionizers competitors
As an industry, water ionizer companies have brought the scorn of articles like The $4,000 scam on alkaline water on ourselves. There are about 40 studies on the health effects of alkaline water that legitimately show promise – so there is no reason to make unfounded claims about alkaline water. The skepticism we face as an industry is largely a self-inflicted wound. LIFE Ionizers urges you to stop making unfounded claims about the health benefits of alkaline water, and to stop using junk science to promote it.
An open message to Dr. Rafael Castillo
LIFE Ionizers salutes you for being a healthy water advocate, for taking a stand against junk science, and for urging people to drink adequate amounts of water. We would be happy to share with you the studies we’ve compiled that document the potential health effects of alkaline water. We agree with you that it’s not OK to claim that alkaline water cures all diseases, but we respectfully disagree that it’s a placebo. We would ask you to note that Katherine Zeratsky of the Mayo clinic has pointed out that there is research that shows that alkaline water has a link to bone health, plus the multitude of other studies that show the positive benefits of ionized alkaline mineral water.