The mountain lake featured in the image above might appear to have the cleanest water in the world but over time it could poison you. This is because of its alkaline mineral content. The mistaken belief that alkaline water has health benefits is rooted in one of the biggest misconceptions of the 20th century: that all forms of a mineral are good for you. This is the conclusion to the article: The Alkaline Water Problem Part 1: Myth vs Fact.
You will encounter a proposal in this article that you may not have heard before: that alkaline water can directly cause major medical conditions. This article will not focus on which medical conditions alkaline water can cause, but it will articulate why alkaline water is capable of causing conditions in general and why you should avoid it in specific.
The current focus with alkaline water (both natural and artificially made) is upon whether or not its positive health claims are true, as evidenced by this statement from the Mayo Clinic. Nobody is looking at alkaline water as a negative. It is this final conceptual leap that we will now make: that alkaline water is in fact poisonous. Some people seem to have immunity to its harmful effects but the percentage of people who can be harmed by it is high enough that it should be avoided.
The dangers of alkaline water are misunderstood. Even the experts who agree that it is poisonous are under the mistaken belief that this stems from its high magnesium and calcium content. This is not accurate. In fact the harmful effects derive from the fact that alkaline water-based magnesium and calcium occur in their metallic form instead of their nutritional form. This is a distinction most people don’t know they should be making.
If your organic chemistry is rusty, don’t worry: all the science you’ll need is simplified below. We will use magnesium and calcium as the examples, since they are the two primary alkaline minerals, but this principle extends to all minerals that have a metabolic role (chromium, selenium, etc).
To clarify what we’re talking about, alkaline water is water that has been infused with alkaline minerals such as calcium and magnesium, usually through a home filtering system but sometimes directly from natural springs or mountain lakes.
You will be familiar with Magnesium and Calcium from your local health food stores at least, but what most people don’t realize is that the health food store form of a mineral (e.g. Calcium Citrate) is completely different from the form studied in chemistry class (e.g. Calcium, element #20).
Clarification: Elemental vs. Nutritional
1. Mineral: A mineral is another word for an element from the periodic table of elements. It can occur in its base, elemental form or in a more complex, nutritional form that we would think of as a food source. It is important to understand that biologically speaking, the two are completely different things.
2. Elemental form of a mineral: The naturally occurring form of an element as it is found in rocks. You can’t digest any of these; they’re poisonous to the human body even in small quantities. Here are a few examples:
Magnesium (Mg): element #12
Calcium (Ca): element #20
Silicon (Si): element #14
Strontium (Sr): element #38
Chromium (Cr): element #24
Digestion, inhalation or skin absorption of these elements is classified under what we would call heavy metal poisoning, even though they’re not all metals. ‘Heavy metals’ is an umbrella term used to describe all element toxicities because the accurate terms ‘alkaline earth poisoning’ (as with Mg, Ca, Sr), ‘semi-metal poisoning’ (as with Si) or ‘transition-metal poisoning’ (as with Cr) would be needlessly technical.
Absorption of the toxic, elemental forms of minerals causes slow toxic build-up, leads to severe toxicity and is at the root of many chronic health conditions. These elements are not bioavailable in their elemental form and cannot be used metabolically. In the same way that throwing a handful of screws into a spinning jet engine would be a bad idea, these elements have a direct harmful effect on whatever tissue they come into contact with (bone marrow, organ tissue, the intestinal lining, etc) and seem to activate the immune system to attack them in a pattern that is mistakenly termed “auto-immune” by the reigning medical paradigm. In addition to causing toxicity they also block the absorption of their nutritional-form counterparts: paradoxically, elemental calcium can cause deficiency in the nutritional form of calcium by clogging the good-calcium receptor sites in the cell membrane.
3. Nutritional form of a mineral: the form an element takes when it is modified by a plant so that we can digest it and use it in metabolic processes:
(There are many more elements with a biological role, and more forms than those listed above. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list but rather, a few examples to illustrate the point).
Staying with the example of calcium, spinach absorbs elemental calcium out of the soil and converts it into its nutritional form, calcium citrate, which we can digest. The Citrate molecule is like the head on a screwdriver, it enables the calcium to be safely utilized by our bodies without poisoning us. This is illustrated in the diagram below.
The plant forms of minerals are the only forms of the elements that we can absorb. The element’s suffix (-citrate, –oxide, –picolinate, –glycinate) isn’t an irrelevant detail – it is the most important detail. Different element suffixes are each like different heads on a screwdriver that determine how we can make use of that element. If there is no suffix (e.g. pure calcium, element #20 without the citrate) the element will poison our tissue.
To stay healthy and avoid metal toxicity, you must be able to differentiate an element’s nutritional form from its element form. Failure to make this distinction has been one of the major health misconceptions of the 20th century. The concept you have just learned is misunderstood in almost every field, from medicine to molecular nutrition to chemistry and biophysics.
An example of the misconception is a line I read recently in Dan Buettner’s book Blue Zones, an analysis of global longevity patterns. He states that a blue zone region in Costa Rica (an area with a higher than average density of 100-year-olds) is known to have incredibly high elemental calcium concentrations in the rock strata, and then speculates that this may account for why there are so many 100-year-olds, since healthy hearts require calcium to keep beating. This sort of statement perpetuates the myth that the mineral forms of elements are bioavailable, but we now know they aren’t. A more accurate conclusion to draw would have been that the calcium-rich water in the region provided nourishment for all the local plants, and that one could maintain a healthy heart for 100 years by eating locally-grown calcium-rich plants, which would provide higher levels of calcium citrate, or the good, nutritional form of calcium.
The misconception is widespread and is one of the major oversights of 20th century science. There are whole industries that have been built up around the mistaken belief that alkaline minerals (in their pure elemental form) are healthy for you: the alkaline water filter industry, which sells the filters; several bottled water companies that sell bottled alkaline water or mineralized mountain spring water as an end-product; and many supplement companies that promote and distribute alkaline forms of these minerals, such as coral calcium in pill form. These companies are unknowingly poisoning their customers, but the good news (though perhaps not for you) is that some people don’t seem to absorb the poisonous elemental forms of the minerals. This seems to be genetic but whether it is genetics that predispose us to absorb the elemental form of the minerals or genetics that protect us from this is uncertain. I guess it’s two sides of the same coin, so the real question is “Does this affect you?”
Does this apply to you?
In terms of raw percentages, only about 15% of the people I assess have outright calcium toxicity, and only about 5% have magnesium toxicity. This information was arrived at through a muscle testing analysis of a test group of 1000 people, cross referencing a pure element sample of calcium and magnesium with their bioelectric field. A number of these people had a medical urine analysis done with substantiated my findings by showing elevated magnesium and calcium levels. The problem with urine analysis is that it may not distinguish between the elemental and nutritional forms of calcium, so it wouldn’t be as accurate as a muscle testing analysis. The relevant and more pressing question here (for those people who are susceptible to absorbing the poisonous, elemental forms of alkaline minerals) is not only what their total levels are but also specifically where those levels have accumulated. I have seen someone with diabetes where the only problem with their pancreas seemed to be toxicity in elemental magnesium. In every case of multiple sclerosis I have assessed, the primary problem seemed to be toxicity in elemental calcium that had lodged specifically in the muscle tissue.
So this information may not apply to you, but if it does it could be causing a severe, life-threatening medical condition. The good news is that in some cases eliminating the underlying element toxicity and avoiding further exposure to the source can resolve these conditions. The bad news is that short of having a muscle testing heavy metal screen, there will be virtually no way of knowing whether this information applies to you until its too late.
I don’t look at this problem from the perspective of the 85-95% of people it doesn’t affect from the 5-15% it does affect: if an average 10 people out of 100 are going to get sick from drinking alkaline water, that’s not an acceptable percentage. I think it is reason enough that national health authorities should ban the artificial mineralization of water, and should educate the public about the dangers of drinking naturally alkaline water.
Many people who suffer harmful effects will only be aware of them years later, and not make the association that they were caused by alkaline water. And they may not be… Alkaline water is by no means the cause of all medical conditions. Simply thinking about it will not lead to a clear chain of cause and effect, and the hope that it will is perhaps the biggest misconception about human health: our minds are not mentally wired to arriving at an understanding of our health through introspection.
Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself:
- If you know how to muscle test things, you could just muscle test your water. It may produce a weak test response (meaning it was bad for you) for any number of reasons – alkalinity, lead, aluminum, cadmium, but if you stick to the simple rule of avoiding things that test weak, you can ensure that you only make positive health choices.
- You could get a professional Muscle Testing Heavy Metal analysis done to see if this even applies to you. This would have the added benefit of clarifying which element in the water you’re reacting to. It could also clarify which metals were soaking into which organs. For example, if a muscle testing analysis identified elemental calcium toxicity in your kidney and bladder, it would clearly be coming from a liquid source and alkaline water would probably be the culprit, whereas if in fact you had arsenic in your lungs, that is still treatable but it would have nothing to do with alkaline water. Knowledge is power. Note: for the sake of accuracy, your muscle testing specialist should be using pure element samples as a reference, not homeopathic substitutes. Homeopathic products lose their electric charge over time; also, the company imprinting the electromagnetic signature of the mineral onto the homeopathic sample may not understand the difference between the elemental and nutritional forms, so you may think you’re being tested for elemental calcium but are in fact being tested for nutritional calcium. The practitioner doing the testing may not be aware of this either. Muscle testing is complicated enough without making it more so; to avoid confusion, stick to pure element samples.
- You could simply avoid alkaline water and other alkaline products. If you’ve lost the genetic lottery and are susceptible to these elements, avoidance is the obvious way to prevent exposure, and if you’re not sure, you’re better safe than sorry.
- If it becomes apparent that you have soaked up toxic forms of elements, you will need to get them out through metal chelation protocols. Just make sure you know which metal you’re targeting, as no single “chelator” is a cure-all, they’re each like different keys for different doors.
The Truth about Alkaline Water
If demineralized water (ph of 7.0, no mineral additives) is alkalized by blending it with a spinach smoothie, full of calcium citrate, iron citrate, magnesium citrate, chromium picolinate) it is fantastic for you. Global spinach growers should get the word out.
However, when water is alkalized by exposure to rocks or other elemental forms of the minerals listed above, it carries trace amounts of elements from the periodic table that are not bioavailable. Translation: metallic form, not food form. Far from having no beneficial effect on biologic tissue, they do in fact have a slow toxic effect. Over long-term exposure, you can become quite sick, developing anything from skin conditions to organ imbalances and full-blown neurological disorders.
For that reason, mineralized water, termed alkaline water for marketing purposes but also including natural mineral water, spring water, mountain water and some well waters should be considered toxic and should be run through a dense charcoal filter. Charcoal filters bind to many of the elements in mineral water, leaving a pH neutral water of 7.0 that can be said to have been DE-mineralized. Filtered, demineralized water is the only form of water we should be drinking.
And remember boiling doesn’t remove elemental calcium. The boiling point of water is 100°C, whereas the boiling point of magnesium is 1091°C, and calcium is 1484°C. You need to filter and demineralize the water you’re boiling food in as well.
As we begin to make the fundamental distinction between the elemental (metallic) and nutritional (food) forms of a mineral, we will progress toward a better understanding of the true roots of human health.
New Concept in BioScience
This concept, that elements we think of as being good for us can actually accumulate at toxic levels and cause health conditions is one of the most important realizations in modern biology. Most autoimmune diseases seem to be combinations of element toxicities in different organs. As this becomes better understood it will change the face of modern healthcare.
You can take action on this concept today. Filter your water, avoid alkaline minerals in their elemental form and stay clear of alkaline water and other alkaline products derived from rocks, coral and soil minerals.
And this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but if you really want to alkalize your body, your mother was right: eat your vegetables, especially green vegetables.
Spread the Word
If you have friends or family who could benefit from the above information, you’re welcome to forward this article to them.