Why You Should Avoid Alkaline Water

This article is a warning to avoid drinking artificially alkalinized water.  I am sorry to have to write it, but there is a push to get people to buy alkaline water machines, and the propaganda is intense.  Also, when one starts to use it, one feels better, so many people just assume they are becoming healthier, which is not the case in my experience of over 30 years.  I am not selling any competing products, and am only interested in keeping people well.

One reason for the popularity of these machines is that some people do indeed feel better for a while drinking alkaline water.  Quick benefits may include fewer aches and pains, and perhaps a little more energy.  However, the problems with the alkaline water machines more than make up for any benefits they confer.


This is most often tap water that is put through an electrical machine that often runs the water over platinum and titanium plates.  This process causes the exchange of some platinum and titanium ions that makes the water more alkaline in its pH.  The machine also has a carbon filter in most cases to remove some impurities.  With some units, one can also add a white powder that makes the water even more alkaline.

This is very different from naturally alkaline spring water, for example.  Spring water passes over rocks in the earth and picks up various minerals, which affect its pH.  Good spring water usually has a slightly alkaline pH of about 8 or even 8.5, but not much more.


The pH balance of the body is very important, and most people’s bodies are too acidic at the cellular level.  It does not matter if the saliva, urine or other fluids test alkaline.  In almost all cases, the body cells, which is the site of metabolism, are too acidic.  This predisposes one to many metabolic imbalances and diseases including cancer.  The rationale for drinking alkaline water is that it will correct this important physiological imbalance.

Problems with this rationale for alkaline water:

1. The real cause of excess acidity at the cellular level is a deficiency of what are called the alkalinizing or alkaline reserve minerals.  These come from what one was born with, and from the diet.  If one lives a stressful life, one also depletes these quickly.  They include calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and a few others.

Unfortunately, drinking artificially alkalinized water does little or nothing to replace these vital minerals. In fact, it may deplete them for unusual reasons.  It may make the body think it is alkaline, so the body does not need to hold on to its alkaline reserve minerals as much, and it eliminates some of them, making the person even more deficient.

2. Water from alkaline water machines replaces the vital minerals with a little cadmium, lead, arsenic and other toxic metals found in tap water and not filtered by any carbon filters that I am aware of.  Some filtering systems claim to filter out toxic metals, but I have not observed this in practice.  Those filters that I have seen that are said to remove a lot of toxic metals tend to damage the water even worse.  Reverse osmosis is an example of this type, along with KDF and other types of “advanced” filtration media.

3. In addition, the alkaline water machines also replace the good minerals with a little platinum and titanium found in the plates that the water passes over to make it alkaline.  These are both supremely toxic metals, especially platinum.

In addition, I have observed slightly higher levels of nickel in those who use alkaline water machines for several years.  The nickel is probably leached from the stainless steel in the machine, or perhaps from a nickel-plated machine part.  Nickel is a deadly toxic metal.  The alkalinity of the water may cause a little to be leached out of the machine parts.

4. Carbon filtration also does not remove enough of the toxic chemicals in the water, so one is also getting a dose of chlorine, fluorides, aluminum, copper, residues of medical drugs in many areas, pesticides and more.

5. As a result, alkaline water machines do not really balance the body’s pH, although they will change it a little, giving some people the impression they are getting well when, in fact, they are becoming more ill. 

The only way to truly balance the body is to replenish the alkaline reserve minerals.  To do this, one must eat a lot of cooked vegetables.  The cooked vegetables, and perhaps some mineral supplements, when carefully chosen such as kelp, can and do supply the alkaline reserve minerals.  Good quality, natural spring water also supplies some alkaline minerals, as does good quality sea salt.  Using these on a daily basis, the body can be slowly remineralized.  This is the way to do it, not drinking artificially alkalinized water.

Is the water from an alkaline water machine the same as naturally alkaline spring water?  Definitely not. First, alkaline spring waters usually have a pH of about 8 or possibly 8.5.  The water from the machines is often much higher, up to 12 or 13.  This is not healthful.

Secondly, alkaline spring water and some well water is high in calcium and magnesium, which are excellent for one’s health.  Water from the machines, by contrast, is artificially made to be alkaline by mixing the water with a small amount of platinum and perhaps titanium, both of which are toxic metals.

Why is the diet important?  Much of the acidity of the body is due to a diet that is too high in grains, cereals, beans, and sugars.  Refined food diets are the worst, but so are most people’s high carbohydrate natural food diets.  All of these foods have an acidic reaction in the body due to their peculiar mineral content.  Red meats also have a more acidic reaction due to other factors such as their high iron content and the bacteria needed to digest them properly.

Even eating some fruits today seem to have an acidic reaction.  This is due to their content of fruit acids, their higher sugar content, their unbalanced mineral content today thanks to hybridization, and genetic modification.  Some fruits are still alkaline forming, but not all by any means.  We find that fruit is not a healthful food today.

The diets need to be corrected by eating at least 70% cooked vegetables each and every day.  This is the only way to obtain enough alkaline reserve minerals.  Also, consuming sea salt only, and natural spring water, and supplements of kelp, for example, also help.  Drinking an artificially alkalinized water does not help very much, and makes the person worse for the reasons outlined above.


I know of three types of alkaline water systems.  None are recommended, and all are harmful, but the worst are the first type – the electrical machines.

Type #1  Free-standing electrical home units

The first type of alkaline water machines are most popular. They are free-standing kitchen units.  These include the Kaagen, Jupiter, I-Water, and others.  These devices begin with tap water, which is already a toxic product.

The water passes through a carbon filter which does not remove most toxins and mainly improves the taste.  If the filter becomes clogged or just old, it may also become a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and even parasites.

Then the water passes over electrified platinum-covered titanium plates to alkalinize it.  Adjusting the electrical flow determines how much of the toxic platinum is added to the water.

Then some machines may add a calcium solution or powder to the water to further enhance its alkalinity.

Problems with these machines, that are heavily and falsely advertised in my opinion, include:

  • Yin disease.  Drinking any artificially alkalinized water, or even very alkaline well or spring water, tends to make one’s body more yin.  This is the worst problem with highly alkaline water.  Yin means expanded, ill and centrifugal in its effect, in traditional Chinese and Taoist medical terminology.  This is a physics quality of matter.  Today, becoming more yin is almost always extremely harmful for the body, because most bodies are already too far in this direction due to ionizing radiation, toxic metals and chemicals in the environment, and mineral deficiencies.  It does not matter that you may feel better on this water.  Becoming yin is always eventually a disaster.  Please read the articles on my website entitled Yin Disease and Yin and Yang Healing to learn more about this serious condition.
  • Cleanliness. Tap water is not a very good base water.  It is quite variable, and most tap water in America and elsewhere is not of excellent quality.  It contains some chlorine compounds, fluorides, medical drug residues, hundreds of toxic chemicals, toxic metals and more.
  • Carbon filters cannot remove most toxic metals and many toxic chemicals, no matter what the manufacturers claim. When water passes quickly over carbon, not that much is removed.  Also, as the carbon filter becomes dirty, it stops working well and may well make the water even more contaminated.  This is why changing carbon filters often is absolutely necessary.
  • Platinum is too toxic for any human exposure.  While the amount of exposure is small, we have noted that after using the machine for more than about 3 to 6 months, some who use it begin to develop a little platinum toxicity.  While this may be okay for most people, some with delicate kidneys or liver problems may be affected.  The amount of platinum absorbed from the water depends upon one’s tap water and one’s body chemistry.  The more poorly nourished one is, the more platinum one is likely to absorb.  Other factors such as one’s age, vitality, etc. also have an effect on platinum absorption.  However, any platinum is too much.
  • Mineral depletion.  Drinking alkaline water seems to deplete some of the alkaline reserve minerals in the body.  I am not sure why this happens, but perhaps the body is flooded with an alkaline water, so it excretes some alkaline reserve minerals because the body may believe the minerals are not needed any more.
  • White powders added to the water.  Some alkaline water machines use a whitish powder that is added to the water to make it more alkaline.  One must find out exactly what it is.  Most is not that pure.  Avoid coral calcium powder, for example, or some other contaminated product that adds more toxic metals.

If you want to use an alkaline water machine, at least do not add the powder, and turn off the alkalinization feature, and just use it as a water filter.  Preferably unplug the unit so there is less chance that the platinum plates are electrified and leaching a little platinum into your body.  Your water is still passing over platinum, which is perhaps harmful.  I have seen terrible problems caused by these machines when used daily for more than 6 months or so, even though the damage is very subtle at first.

I do not like the advertising for these machines with claims that most Japanese hospitals, and most Japanese people use them.  I do not believe this is true at all.

Type #2  Water store alkaline water

 A few health food stores and water stores are selling even more dangerous alkaline water.  They begin with reverse osmosis water.  Then they add a calcium solution or powder, often coral calcium, to alkalinize it.  Problems with this methodology are:

  • Yin.  Once again, any alkaline water seems to have a negative yin effect.  Reverse osmosis does not hydrate the body well at all and should never be used for daily drinking water by most people.
  • The calcium solution or powder. The powder may be made from coral calcium and may contain toxic metals.
  • Very toxic, possibly.  When toxic metals are added to reverse osmosis water, the ‘hungry water’ seems to take up the metals easily and drive them deep into the body cells and the kidneys.
  • All the problems of reverse osmosis water.  These are detailed in the article entitled What Kind of Water Should I Drink.  They include making one yin, not hydrating the body well at all and mineral depletion.

in Articles/Diet/Nutrition

Dr. Lawrence Wilson of Drlwilson.com has worked for over 30 years specializing in nutritional balancing science, a particular method of improving health that he originally learned from Dr. Paul C. Eck, a brilliant biochemist. He spends most of his time teaching physicians and nutrition consultants about nutritional balancing science.

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Lisa Phelps
10 years ago

Wendy, I appreciate the research and info presented here…I, too am certified and studied nutritional counseling for over 30 years, and have studied for almost 3 years under several drs specialized specifically in water There are some issues that need to be clarified…the blood alkalinity vs the inner cell alkalinity. I can honestly say that the best available water is the Enagic Kangen machine offering 7 waters, used and approved for the last 40 years in Japan who is the longest living people group. No other machine or waters compare except the 7 natural springs located around the world that naturally provide what this machine reproduces.


Lisa Phelps
10 years ago

Wendy, I appreciate the research and info presented here…I, too am certified and studied nutritional counseling for over 30 years, and have studied for almost 3 years under several drs specialized specifically in water There are some issues that need to be clarified…the blood alkalinity vs the inner cell alkalinity. I can honestly say that the best available water is the Enagic Kangen machine offering 7 waters, used and approved for the last 40 years in Japan who is the longest living people group. No other machine or waters compare except the 7 natural springs located around the world that naturally provide what this machine reproduces.


Wendy Myers
9 years ago

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. This post was written by Dr. Lawrence Wilson who has studied the toxic effects of metals for decades. He has found that his clients that drank alkaline water from either Kangen or other types of machines had peculiar toxicities of titanium, nickel and other metals. The only explanation is the metal plates the water is passed over.

Your patients likely don’t suffer acute toxicity with medical grade titanium in their bodies, but they may suffer low level chronic toxicity. I find this is the case with anyone with a metal filling, gold filling, or metal implants. There are residues of these metals in one’s bodies as evidenced by hair mineral analysis or urine tests. All of my clients with titanium implants have elevated titanium in their hair mineral analyses. Titanium is the least of one’s worries with drinking this type of water but I can’t imagine it’s a good idea in the long term. We need some titanium, but not much.

“Titanium presents significant allergy risks as well.
Recently, titanium, used in orthopedic devices and oral implants, considered as an inert material, can induce toxicity or allergic type I or IV reactions. These reactions to titanium could be responsible for unexplained successive failure cases of dental implants in some patients (named “cluster patients”). The risk of an allergy to titanium is increased in patients who are allergic to other metals. In these patients, an evaluation of allergy is recommended, in order to exclude any problem with titanium medical devices. We stress the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to take into account patients with an oral allergy, with participation of specialists from dental and dermatologic fields.”
PMID: 20384051

9 years ago

There is some terribly inaccurate information in this article, and there are also many holes in the theories purported. The first hole is grouping all water alkalizing machines together to make the claim. The second is that there no scientific, clinical trial results referenced. The first inaccurate claim is that a water alkalizers take out vital minerals from the water, when the exact opposite is true. In a properly made machine the alkaline minerals referred to as “reserves” such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and so forth, are CONCENTRATED from the source water and made more bio-available. There are waters in parts of the world which have measurable healing properties. These machines mimic this natural process. I appreciate the authors efforts to help people find better health, however I would encourage him to research this topic more. There is too much evidence supporting the health promoting attributes of drinking alkalized water to disregard.

Also, the negative aspects of alkalized water which are highlighted often originate from a lack of experience and knowledge of the technology and the results it has produced. There are improperly made machines which have actually caused health issues, and as it is with all things, those wishing to find an argument against something will focus in on such an issue, which is misleading. Even these illegitimate negative assertions are minuscule in comparison to the positives. There is a safe process that is proven, and this what people need to be educated about.

The reason medical grade platinum is used in properly made machines is because this metal does not react to the water in a way so as to leach, and there isn’t any scientific proof to support this claim made in the article. However, there is 40 years of evidence from millions of people from the nation of Japan that support the health benefits of drinking this water. That is better evidence to wager with. It is a tragedy that the western world is only now beginning to learn about it and embrace it.

On another point, the alternative suggested is to drink pure spring water. That would be healthy if it were available to the average person. However, bottled spring water is stripped of all it’s healthy components. It has been separated from the earth, filtered and acidified to extend shelf life, stored in plastic for weeks, months, or years, more than likely been exposed to extreme heat, and picked up unhealthy chemicals from its’ container. That is a no-brainer for me.

Wendy Myers
9 years ago
Reply to  Jerry

thank you for your well thought out answer. I will ask the author, Dr. Lawrence Wilson, to respond.

L. Vandenheede, MD
L. Vandenheede, MD
9 years ago

I am an orthopedic surgeon who has studied healthy lifestyle choices for years now. I disagree with many of the statements made in this article.
First, the grouping of all water ionizers together and making assumptions about them has no scientific basis. To assume that these are the sources, for instance, of high nickel levels appears baseless. Nickel is in everything from jean snaps to watch bands. All water ionizers are not created the same! The Enagic company, maker of the Kangen ionizers, use medical grade titanium, not simply food grade. If all medical grade titanium leached into the body, hundreds of thousands of people would be mortally effected by the millions of orthopedic implants that have been used for decades. The quality of the titanium is one reason why Enagic machines are more valuable, and therefore more costly, than the cheap imitators. This is why I don’t buy implants from Ace Hardware to place in my patients.
Secondly, no scientific data is specifically mentioned; I recommend people investigate “The Effect of the Alkali Load of Mineral Water on Bone Metabolism: Interventional Studies” and many, many other studies available on http://www.pubmed.gov. Forty years of investigations, often performed in Asian countries, does indeed suggest a significant interest and application of water alkalization in these nations.
Third, the most important physiological aspect of Kangen water – it’s antioxidant properties – isn’t even mentioned in the article. It is the single most effective source of anti-oxidation immediately available to the body upon ingestion.
Fourth, our bodies are absolute control freaks when it comes to our pH levels. Drinking alkaline water lessens the drain on our alkalizing mineral reserves. These minerals – magnesium, calcium, potassium,etc – play hundreds of various roles in our biochemistry. Our body doesn’t just decide we don’t need them because our acidic load is lessened; we still need those minerals for our kidneys and lungs and muscles to function.
I apologize for the lengthiness of this reply, but I felt a much more thorough explanation of water alkalization was warranted.

9 years ago