COVID and water ionizer

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    ‘To protect our health and our pocketbook, we must use our wisdom and do due diligence. Caveat emptor, indeed!’

    MARKETING claims out there are advertising drinking alkaline water made with a water ionizer device boosts the immunity of a person and therefore useful for the prevention of COVID-19. This assertion is false, without any scientific basis, and a disservice to the people around the world, making them careless and reckless, and more susceptible to be victims of this pandemic. While wearing a good facemask properly (covering both nose and mouth, fitting snugly all around the face), washing hands frequently, and social distancing does not guarantee us 100 percent protection against the SARS-CoV2 virus, those guidelines significantly help (more than 95 percent) in protecting the wearer and the public against this deadly pandemic. Drinking alkaline water does not!

    A 63-year-old acquaintance of mine, who had acquired a water ionizer and had been drinking alkaline water for more than two years, had developed mineral deficiencies, kidney failure, and died of COVID-19 infection a couple of months ago. And this is not an isolated case. There is no proof that drinking alkaline water makes us healthier. Financially poorer, maybe, and the scammers, for sure, financially wealthier.

    As far as health is concerned, majority, if not all of us, want the best health minus the sacrifices needed to achieve it effectively and safely. We want to be healthy without exercising, dieting or abstaining from smoking and without disciplined alcohol intake. We want to have good blood pressure and good cholesterol level without skimping on our salt and fat intake and quitting cigarettes. We want to lose weight without cutting down on our calorie intake and exercising daily.

    For expediency, any pill or juice or gadget that comes along with the claim that it is good for our health becomes a “must-buy” crutch, believing it will confer upon us good health and longevity, without lifting a finger, moving a muscle, or getting off the couch and putting down the remote control and the potato chips.

    Unfortunately, the manufacturers of these “health” lotions, potions, pills, juices and gadgets are mostly interested in making their bank accounts healthy, and least interested in the health of their consumer-victims. Otherwise, they won’t continue to prey on the unsuspecting public and sell their useless products, which may even have severe long term side-effects. And organ-failure and cancer are some of those possibilities!

    It is one thing to pay for very expensive pill or juice or machine and finding out years from now that it was not effective. It is another to discover years down the line that its use has caused a debilitating or deadly disease. There is no scientific data that show regular consumption of alkaline water is beneficial to the body and its immune system. Most info-mercials on this are baseless, deceptive, and a money-making scam.

    Now comes the water ionizer, the “ionized” alkaline water it produces, the “special” drinking water. Not only are these marketed water and the ionizing machines expensive, but they are, according to scientists, “medically baseless and worthless.” Most of the good effects these manufacturers claim for their products are available in healthy food items, like fish, fruits, bran, wheat, nuts, vegetables, and water purified by the most advanced multiple-stage reverse-osmosis filtration system. It might come as a surprised to many but boiled water, minus its sediments, is safer than some of this expensive drinking water. Using the commercially available home water filtration pitcher or the below-the-sink filtration system, and then boiling the water will even double the protection. This will certainly not cost $1,500-$2,500 like the ionizers.

    When it comes to health, there is no better guide than our modern science, where extensive and rigidly-controlled laboratory testing, and double-blind, randomized, human clinical trials are the standard before any medication or device gets official approval and goes out to the market.

    Anecdotal reports (usually solicited) or testimonials (usually from paid endorsers) are not scientific proofs. Candidly, these are nothing but lies. If not approved by the US-FDA, RP-BFAD or any other similar national health agencies, any product is suspect. So, public, beware!

    As far as the water ionizer is concerned, here is “the bottom line” as objectively explained in a detailed scientific paper, which aims to educate and protect the public:

    “Here, in a nutshell, are few basic facts that anyone with a solid background in chemistry or physiology would concur with: (1) “Ionized water” is nothing more than sales fiction; the term is meaningless to chemists; (2) Most water that is fit for drinking is too nonconductive to undergo significant electrolysis; (3) Pure water can never be alkaline or acidic, nor can it be made so by electrolysis; (4) Ground waters containing metal ions such as calcium and magnesium can be rendered slightly alkaline by electrolysis, but after it hits the highly acidic gastric fluid in the stomach, its alkalinity is gone; (5) The idea that one must consume alkaline water to neutralize the effects of acidic foods is ridiculous; we get rid of excess acid by exhaling carbon dioxide; (6) The claims about health benefits of drinking alkaline water were not supported by credible scientific evidence; (7) There is nothing wrong with drinking slightly acidic waters such as rainwater. Body pH is a meaningless concept in this context because different parts of the body (and even individual cells) can have widely different pH value; (8) If you really want to de-acidify your stomach (at possible cost of interfering with protein digestion), why spend hundreds of dollars for an electrolysis device when you can take calcium-magnesium pills, Alka-Seltzers or Milk of Magnesia?; (9) Electrolysis devices or ionizers are generally worthless for treating water for health enhancement, removal of common impurities, disinfection and scale control.”

    To protect our health and our pocketbook, we must use our wisdom and do due diligence. Caveat emptor, indeed!

    The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people to live a healthier lifestyle, prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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    Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, a Health Public Advocate, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian and anti-graft foundation in the United States. Visit our websites: philipSchua.com and FUN8888.com Email: scalpelpen@gmail.com