Exposing the Quack Behind the Alkaline Water Quackwatchers

I have been watching with great interest the ongoing development of the strategy by the pharmaceutical industry to cast doubt of the benefits of an alkaline diet and alkaline water.

What are they afraid of?  Do you think that they might be concerned that if we eat properly and hydrate adequately, the need for pharmaceutical drugs will plummet like they did in Japan before the water ionizer industry was forced to shut down advertising for two years?

This article addresses a truly pathetic internet effort to discredit alkaline water.  The face of website in question is Dr. Stephen Lower.  At one time in his career, this man was a legitimate professor of chemistry at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, but it has been 11 years since he was terminated from his position. While a professor is allowed to maintain a “Dr” designation for life, this man has clearly lost all sense of the basics of scientific research.  His internet site, which is obviously backed by someone with a strong financial interest in seeing the awareness of the benefits of alkaline water suppressed, is based upon Lower’s (or the pharma industry’s) self-serving hypothesis that water can’t be ionized and that water ionizers are therefore a scam.  

How does his site, which doesn’t sell anything (therefore no revenues) constantly maintain the top ranking for the hotly contested keywords of alkaline water and water ionizers?  Riddle me that!

Lower’s website offers a couple of chemistry equations, and then he states that pure water can’t be ionized. His statement is true, but irrelevant, because there is no such thing as pure water in nature. The only pure water in the world is created through distillation. His site offers no scientific basis whatsoever, despite claiming that water ionizers don’t work based upon scientific fact. All legitimate scientific papers begin with a hypothesis, describe and perform accepted testing procedures and protocols in detail to insure unbiased data, generate and analyse data, and finally, discuss the implications of the study.  Lower refuses to even test the water or the machines that produce the water, and yet he triumphantly claims that ionized water is a hoax. Shame on him!

When a Vancouver distributor for one of the ionizer companies contacted the ex-professor to invite him to a demonstration to test the results of the ionization process, the ex-professor declined the invitation. The distributor then offered to bring a machine to the ex-professor’s home, or to any lab of his choosing for a demonstration. The distributor’s goal was to provide unequivocal evidence that the alkaline water ionizing machine does change the pH and ORP of water when the water is passed through the simple process of electrolysis. The ex-professor declined the offer.  The distributor then offered to have the water tested any scientific testing facility in the area, and have Dr. Lower choose the technicians and the testing equipment.  The process wouldn’t cost the ex-profession anything, but he refused to take part in scientific testing.

Why would somebody who claims to be an expert on a subject and publishes their beliefs, refuse to attend demonstrations that clearly invalidate his/her claims?

In a more recent email sent by Dr. Lower to a Doctor of Natural Medicine, Dr. Lower wrote: “ I do not test processes or devices, but merely assess the scientific credibility of the explanations given for how they work”.  He also stated: “I am prepared to admit the possibility that some of the dubious products I mention might be effective under the right conditions”.  So, we know he won’t test his theories, and he admits that there may be merit to the fact that ionized water may work, but it doesn’t suit his needs to put those statements on his website that sits at the top of the Google search engine for the subject.

Dr. Lower publicly states on his personal website that he can do without: God, cats, Microsoft Windows, sports, most tv and popular culture etc etc etc.   Probing a little further into his website, we find a list of favourite websites, which includes the blasphemous Jesus Dressup where you can dress up Jesus as a devil or in other outfits (see http://www.jesusdressup.com/ ) and the Periodic Table of Comic Books (see http://www.uky.edu/Projects/Chemcomics/index.html ) .

You may be wondering why I’m picking on a seemingly harmless 77 year old guy, who is clearly unable or unwilling to assess alkaline water or water ionizers. If it were all harmless fun, we could just have a good laugh. However, I have spoken to numerous people who have chosen to discontinue their investigation of the benefits of alkaline water because of their belief that the opinion of this charlatan has value. If I have personally spoken to dozens of people who have been influencecd by his website, imagine how many thousands of victims he has tricked with his gibberish.  It disturbs me that someone like Lower can destroy the legitimate efforts of people who are attempting to learn about a natural way to improve their health.

It is hard to believe that it can get worse, but it does.  A recent search of “alkaline water” on Wikipedia turned up the following statement:  “However, drinking ionized water would not be expected to alter the body’s pH, and there is no evidence of any claims made by manufacturers that drinking ionized water will have a noticeable effect on the body.[2]” .  Guess where the statement came from?  None other that our infamous Dr. Lower (see “Lower, S. “”Ionized” and alkaline water: Snake oil on tap”).   I’m not kidding!  This charlatan and his gimmicky website are quoted as a source for alkaline water on Wikipedia.

Enough is enough! Surely the pharmaceutical industry can come up with something better than this farce. 

It is time to take off the gloves and go after the people who pretend to know what they are talking about when it comes to ionized water.  I have been made aware of articles from a nutritionist from a famous medical institition and a couple of MDs in the States that claim that ionized water can’t and won’t work.  They haven’t tested the water and they have no research or ancedotal evidence to support their claims.  

Anyone that wants to help me expose unsupported claims from professionals that are just sounding off for notoriety or for hidden profit are encouraged to contact me.   This could get interesting!

 As always, it must be stated that the contents of this article are the opinions of the author and are not intended to be offered as medical advice. Always consult with your health care provider (preferably a Naturopathic Doctor) for health issues.

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171 Responses to Exposing the Quack Behind the Alkaline Water Quackwatchers

  1. Hi Rob. I posted on your blog about 18 months ago. I have a 4 filter RO and wanted the alkaline water.
    You recomended the Alkastream unit or just an Alkaline filter. I bought the Alkastream unit. It has really worked well and Gabe was awesome help. I will need a new filter in a few months and I see things have changed a lot since then. Again I would like your opinion on what to buy, looks like the filters went up a lot and they have newer units. I really want to get the best water I can, so would you tell me your recomendation now?

    Thanks Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Hi Mike:

      Nice to hear your positive feedback on the Alkastream. I have heard many similar comments.

      You can buy the replacement filters from Gabe (http://www.vitev.com). I don’t think the price of the filters has ever changed from $129. The good news for Alkastream owners is that Vitev offers 3 replacement filters for the price of 2 while they have replacement filters in stock. That means the filters cost $86 each with the discount.

      Since you are happy with your Alkastream, I would stick with it. I don’t see any need to spend more money. I assume Vitev will offer existing Alkastream customers a “special” upgrade offer that nobody will refuse when they eventually run out of Alkastream filters….I would expect them to want to hold onto their customer base.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • So, is there a shelf life on these filters? Gabe told me I could probably get over 6 months with the alkalizer since I have a RO unit, I tested the water after 6 months and it was still alkaline and I use a lot of water, maybe 3 gal. per day. After 9 months it was still alkaline but not as good, so I changed the filter and I noticed a slimey film on the side of the canister. Is this normal or anything to be concerned about, my filters on my RO were still good, but my tank is getting to be around 8 yrs. old, maybe I need to clean it, any suggestions would be appreciated?

        Also I have a friend of mine who in interested in buying Purifier & Alkalizer. I see the counter model and the 4 filter system. I’m guessing the 4 filter system purifies the water better. They are health nuts and are presently drinking bottled water, which I tested and is acid ph. So I don’t know what to recommend to them.

        Thanks Mike

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Hey Rob. Do you have a link to the 3 for 2 filters for the alkastream?

        Thanks

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. http://www.m-plan.com.my/images/product/leaflet/20111025184719.pdf

    Can u pls give ur opinion on this type of filter? I’m new alkaline water and recently wan to change the water system as we used this water system for long times and jus now, when I test the PH of the water it produce, its around ph 7-ph 8….. I’m thinking to chg to Alkastream but the problem is I’m living in Malaysia and there is limited choice of natural alkaline water here and even kangen water just get its way into our country by this year ( when I first heard of this machine, as many ppl ask me have u heard of one water machine tat cost more than rm10k?) what is your best recommendations ? My kids owes sicks and I hope by changing the daily intake of water can really improve their health, pls help!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Hi Ping:

      I believe the first thing to consider when choosing a water ionizer is the condition of the source water. The reason for this is that best drinking water is clean and healthy (they are not the same thing). If you have really good source water in Malaysia (clean and safe) supplied by a municipality, you can ignore the “cleaning” factor from consideration. If you can’t depend on safe and clean source water, you will need a Reverse Osmosis system to clean the water. The problem with RO systems is that while they clean the water, they make the water unhealthy. If you do need a RO system for cleaning purposes, you will need to remineralize the water.

      The company that I help out is Vitev (http://www.vitev.com) and one of the main reasons I agreed to help them is that I believe their Ultra ($995) produces the best man made drinking water in the world. If that is too expensive for you, then you can buy a RO system locally and then get Vitev’s Remin filter as an alternative.

      If your source water is clean, then you can start looking at water ionizers. They all work so you really can’t go wrong. My preference is the natural water ionizers for several reasons including the fact that they are very affordable. If someone in your family has cancer and is undergoing chemo treatments, I recommend an electric water ionizer.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. May I know what the reason u recommend electric ionizers for cancer patients? I do own a electrical but I’m unsure what system that got inside tat machine(what plates are made off, how many are there), some more I’m quite concern about the fluoride tat can’t be filter by electrical ionizers. I wan the best of water for my kids. By the way, it is safe for kids to drink the alkaline natural water? For the vitev, may I know does it have functionality to adjust to normal ph water?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Hi Ping:

      I recommend electric water ionizers for cancer patients because they can generate really strong negative ORP when the water first comes out of the machine (you must drink it right away as the energy is only temporary). I don’t recommend that anyone other than cancer patients drink the strong water.

      Water ionizers don’t remove fluoride (despite what they claim). A Reverse Osmosis “RO” system is required. The problem is that electric water ionizers don’t work with RO systems because the RO systems take the minerals out of the water and water can’t be ionized without minerals. The solution is to combine a RO system with a natural water ionizer. Check out Vitev’s Ultra as that is what the machine does.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. hi, thank so much for the useful information. How about kids? is the alkaline natural water is safe for them to consume as they say kids only suitable to drink purified water? can the vitev ultra adjusted to provide this function?
    just now im trying to test the ta water with the ph drop and it come out result is ph 8 which is the same as the filter that I owned now. it is indicating that this filteration dint filter anything or how? I just cant get the puzzle solved out what is happening here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Hi Ping:

      Kids can drink natural alkaline water. The stomach doesn’t differentiate between alkaline foods and water and small children are fed fruits and vegetables in the form of pablum.

      The Ultra provides fairly consistent pH values as the alkaline water is held in the tank and drawn off when the tap is engaged.

      I don’t understand the last part of your comment.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. just now, im test the pH of my tap water which turns out to b pH 8 , this is exactly the pH reading for my current filter system…so what is confusing me here, is that my filter system did not filter out anything since the pH reading before and after filteration is the same one?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Hi Ping:

      The fact that the pH remains the same doesn’t necessarily mean that you filter didn’t remove any contaminants from the water. Filtration and pH are not the same thing

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Tom you are aware that stomach is a very acidic 1.8 acidic and pretty much stays there at all times right? And that the small intestines are around 8.5 alkaline? I mean I presume since you are talking like you know scientific facts you have some sort of science degree???? Or are you just selling water purifiers? Alkalized water passes through the stomach straight to the small intestines . You can chug a 32 oz of ionized Kangen water at 9.5 PH and feel no bloating or ‘slushing’ which is impossible with acidic water or water from most ‘purifiers’. 136-140 or so? Your IQ right? As a member of Mensa we are taught to recognize IQ’s by writing styles and ego behind the facts presented. You do a great disservice to people who could be helped, not just from the drinking water but the 2.5 acidic waters for infections, bacteria, food poisoning etc, or the 11.5 waters or the 6.0 waters. You have never actually used one of the machines that you spend such a large amount of time stepping in the paths of others have you? tsk tsk~ Life has a way of giving us back exactly what we give others~

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Hi Cami:

      You addressed your comment to Tom, but I couldn’t help myself from replying. I will answer your comments one point at a time as it is easier to follow for other readers.

      Your statement about the acidity level of the stomach is

        incorrect.

      As per Anne Marie Helmenstine PhD:

      ***Your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid, but the pH of your stomach isn’t necessarily the same as the pH of the acid! The pH of your stomach varies, from 1-2 up to 4-5. When you eat, the stomach releases proteases and hydrochloric acid to aid in digestion. By itself, the acid doesn’t really do much for digestion, but the proteases that cleave proteins work best in an acidic environment or low pH, so after a high-protein meal, your stomach pH may drop to as low as 1 or 2. However, buffers quickly raise the pH back to 3 or 4. After the meal has been digested, your stomach pH returns to a resting level of about 4 or 5. Your stomach secretes acid in response to food, so first thing in the morning you can expect a slightly acidic stomach pH, but not an acidic level representative of pure hydrochloric acid.***

      I agree that Enagic’s Kangen water gets absorbed with minimal bloating, but so does every other brand of water ionizer, including the natural alkaline pitcher that I have been testing and experimenting with. By the way, the $50 – $60 pitcher is producing great tasting water with a 9.5 pH and -300 ORP and is still going strong after 3 months of heavy use. I’m told that the annual filter costs will be about $50 – $70.

      IQ…do you really want to go there? Perhaps if you did your homework, you would stop embarrassing yourself.

      I agree that Acidic water is good for cleaning. In fact, electric water ionizers were originally created for cleaning purposes. All the “Japanese medical” claims are for the cleaning function….not for the drinking water. While acidic water is a benefit, industry statistics (which I can’t verify as I gleaned the information from talking to the various owners in the industry) indicate that only 1 in 30 people that own water ionizers use the acidic function with any regularity. If someone does want acidic water, you can buy acid water producing machines for about $200. You can also get a Hybrid for $549 that will produce a wide range of pH levels including strong acid and alkaline water.

      I have owned an Enagic SD501 and tested it hundreds of times against the Tyent, EOS, KYK, Chanson and even against a natural water ionizers. The Enagic SD501 never produced superior results to any of the other machines. I made a video of the test that I included in an article on my blog for you and everyone else to see.

      I apologize if my comments seem a bit snippy. I’m a bit sensitive to Enagic dealers because of the hundreds of “factually challenged” comments that I have received over the years in the name of the Enagic “cause”. If you want to carry this further, you better start doing your homework and bring your A game because your first effort was pretty bad.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Cami,

      Maybe Rob thought you meant him when you addressed me. And by chance that Rob was mistaken, please forgive him and read my comment.

      First, I am not a scientist, doctor, nor a seller of any water purification or ionization products. I am simply a person who believes good water is a key component to maintaining good health. From what I can remember I have never taken a standardized IQ test and if I did, I cannot remember which one I took and my test results. I do know from my SAT and GRE test scores that verbal skills are my weakness (I did rather well in the math and analytical sections though). Therefore you will have to excuse any grammatical errors and my poor writing style of previous and current comments. But on the topic of grammatical errors and writing styles, please re-read and analyze your beautifully written comment. Your first sentence is a grammatical mess. When you mention the waters, I’m confused about the 2.5 waters, the 11.5 waters and the 6.0 waters. Are you telling me that your machine makes more than one type of acidic water with a pH of 2.5 or is this just your writing style? As a member of Mensa and knowing that other Mensa members may read and analyze your writing style, I would expect you to type out your best before hitting “submit comment.” Also, you refer to the stomach as singular but in the next sentence you refer to the small intestine as plural. Maybe a member of Mensa has multiple small intestines where us mere mortals have only one small intestine and one large intestine, also known as a colon. Uh oh, am I again stating facts? Well, not only did I find your comment rude and condescending, I found it hypocritical. In your third sentence I felt you got on me because I wrote as if I knew scientific facts without disclosing that I have a degree in science. Yet three of your first five sentences state scientific facts, be it biological/medical/chemical, yet you did not disclose that you have the proper credentials in any of those fields. Tsk tsk. Wait…what’s that saying? “Life has a way of giving us back exactly what we give others.”

      To clear up any possible misunderstandings for future readers, I stumbled on to Rob’s blog in search of some clarity from the confusing world of alkaline water and water ionizers. There is so much conflicting and biased information and views out there that it was refreshing to find a person who writes an unbiased website that does not have ads and links all over it. Since before and after finding this blog I did my due diligence by reading books/articles/operation manuals and watching documentaries on the topic of water. Through my own personal research and education I have come to the conclusion that there still isn’t the perfect water system that provides everything I am looking for, even the one I am currently using. Purification is first on my list since there are a lot of contaminants that comes along with tap water. Don’t believe me; get a water report from your city source. R-O provides the best purification but I am against the water waste that results from those systems. Since I wanted to go natural, as opposed to electric, I had to choose between Alkasteam (now Vitev) and Aqualiv.

      My stance on electric water ionizers still is the same when I wrote my previous comments in Mar and Dec 2012. Even though the high negative ORP and the ability to sanitize my house chemical-free with low pH water and soak my veggies clean of pesticides with high pH water was very appealing to me, I chose against an electrical water ionizer for several reasons. First, while reading the manual for the Life Ionizer product I was interested in purchasing, I was concerned that children under a certain age should never drink above “Level 2” water. There were many other safety precautions, warnings and specific instructions regards to proper operation of the machine, and with two kids at the time aged 9 and 5 under my care, I didn’t feel comfortable with that machine in my house. Since you mentioned Kangen water and 2.5pH water, I feel it is safe to assume you are referring to water coming from an Enagic electric water ionizer so I looked up that manual. On page 6 of Enagic Kangen SD-501’s manual it states, “Make sure sufficient ventilation is provided to let out harmful gases that result from Strong Acidic Water. In the worst possible case, your life would be at risk if the gases filling your room has no way out at all.” And on page 11, “Do not install in a unventilated room for chlorine gases produced through electrolysis are highly toxic.” And later on the same page, “Poisoning can result due to the gases given off during operation.” For my family, the water system and water it produces has to be kid-friendly. Life Ionizer, Enagic, or any other electric water ionizer does not fit that bill. The other reasons I chose against going electric are water waste, maintenance, and wanting alkalinity from mineral ionization, not electrocution.

      For future readers, don’t read my comments as the truth. Please do your own research, check and double-check any “facts” you read. I wish everybody good health and happiness.

      Rob, once again thanks for your time and effort you spend on your blog.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. Great article! I am a massage therapist in a naturopathic clinic. In our colon hydrotherapy clinic we allow our pateints to fill water bottles (1-3 gallons) free of charge. This is only one of the many topics I have found fault with coming from the quack watch site. I will be adding a like to this article on our website.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Hi Rich:

      I checked out your site. I have never tried a colon cleansing, bu my wife is a big fan.

      The “alkaline story” is growing every day. The company that I’m helping out (Vitev.com) continues to get inquiries from big organizations that are discovering the benefits of alkalinity and want tp get out in front of the curve. The information provided by Stephen Lower’s website has always been irrelevent. The fact that pure water can’t be ionized is obvious but when you add alkaline minerals (intentionally, or through the source water itself), ionization is easily achievable. The benefits are real and substantial.

      If you send me a personal email, I will share with you what I have been working on for the past six months. I think it would be perfect for health care professionals like yourself. Geez….I’m really sounding like a salesman now :(

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. I just ordered aqualiv. Please tell me that it is not a hoax!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Hi Linda:

      I’m sure you checked them out before ordering.

      They have been around for awhile and why some of Hoffman’s theories are a little “out there”, the basis of their system is natural ionization which is proven.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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