What is Ionized Water?

Water brands and companies have seized on the alkaline water trends and have begun to artificially inflate pH counts in water for marketing purposes. Health influencers and personalities have long touted the potential health benefits of hydrating with alkaline water high in pH, but one of the key facts and important details about water high in pH is the trend of artificially adding pH to water during the bottling and packaging process. This water is not natural pH water or alkaline water, it is called ionized water.

What is Ionized Water

Just about all water found in nature acquires ions and bicarbonate and calcium as they come interact with rocks and sediments undergound. Even the purest rainwater contains some hydrogen- and bicarbonate ions that are formed when it collects carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If you take regular water from the tap, and artificially add baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, the pH level will become elevated. But this artificially ionizing the water, and is quite different from water from aquifers with high mineral content that is naturally high in pH. The key to high pH water is the minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium bicarbonate that occur naturally in the water. Ionized water is simply water that measures elevated pH levels, and shouldn't be considered alkaline water.

Why it Matters

The minerals from alkaline water is what the body needs and wants. So what is the human body going to do with artificial pH? Because ionized water it is only an abundance of OH- and less H+, the human body cannot utilize these ions as if they were minerals. The process through which your drinking water has acquired a high alkaline and pH is more than important than simply having it. Natural alkaline water is rich in minerals, and while artificial alkaline water may contain some minerals, not all of the minerals found in natural mineral water are found in artificially enhance pH water. It only becomes alkaline due to the ionization process it goes through before being bottled. The human body can recognize alkalinity but it can’t recognize if there are any useful substances in the alkaline liquid. In other words, artificial alkaline water may dupe your body into thinking that it has received minerals like magnesium and calcium. By thinking the water being consumed is rich in minerals, it will start to deplete some of its own mineral reserves, which could potentially result in a mineral deficiency, which is not healthy. To the contrary, natural alkaline water is rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium, which you won't get with ionized water.

How is Water Ionized

Water becomes ionized when it becomes 'charged' by a water ionizer machine. These machines uses electrical currents to break the water molecules into positive hydrogen atoms and negative hydroxide ions at a much higher rate than what is naturally and normally possible. This machine contains both a positively charged electrode and a negatively charged electrode in a bath of water. The process, while called ionization, is actually a form of electrolysis as electrons are essentially removed from the molecules to form the ions. The electrodes are made of an unreactive metal like platinum to prevent the metal from adding metal ions to the water. After breaking the water molecules apart, the water containing more hydroxide ions is then collected as alkaline water or 'reduced water'. And as a byproduct of the process, the water containing more positively charged hydrogen ions can also be collected as acidic water.

Does Ionized Water Have Health Benefits

While there are studies that suggest drinking artificially ionized water over long periods of time can have related health benefits, there is no universally accepted scientific data to support these claims. In general, when it some to drinking water, the less tinkering with Mother Nature the better. So it is recommended that consumers who are interested in high pH, alkaline water for health reasons, should consume only alkaline naturally high in pH.

Click here to learn more about what makes alkaline water tastes better than regular drinking water. And don't forget to visit us on Facebook.

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What Makes Alkaline Water Taste Better?

Water brands like to promote the fact that their water is ‘artesian’, and that the natural processes that allow the water to be accessed give it a special taste or health benefit. The truth is most artesian bottled water is the same, with the exception of the alkalinity or PH in the water. Water with naturally occurring high PH levels generally taste better because they are less acidic and have more minerals, which humans generally like to taste when they drink a nice cold glass of water. Bottled artesian water with a pH over 7.7 is considered to be alkaline water, while normal tap water has a pH of about 7.

Over the years many health experts have weighed in on the idea that alkaline water with higher levels of naturally occurring pH have certain health benefits. Alkaline water has a higher pH level than regular drinking water, so some advocates of alkaline water think it can neutralize some of the acid in human body, but there is little science to back up that claim. In addition, some brands claim that high alkaline water does a better job hydrating, but again, there isn't much real scientific evidence to support this claim. Finally, there are some studies that contend that acid reflux in certain patients can be mitigated by drinking alkaline water with higher levels of pH, but there are other ways for consumers to control their heartburn. In the end, alkaline water high in naturally occurring pH should be a choice based on taste and in some cases, on price. Some of the other factors impacting taste are the mineral content of the water, the receptacle from which you drink it, and the impurities that remain in the water.


Anyone who remembers their 8th or 9th grade science or chemistry classes may recall that acidic compounds occupy the lower end of the pH measurement scale (1 to 14), while basic compounds have pH levels on the higher end of this scale. And since water fall at a 7, or pH neutral, a pH level of 7.5 or 8.0 in water can make a big difference when it comes to taste, even more so when the higher pH is naturally occurring. This is where artesian aquifers come in. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium bicarbonate that occur naturally in certain parts of the world, act to increase the alkalinity or pH levels in spring water. Generally speaking, this makes it taste better. In the end, personal preferences on pH levels in water generally come down to taste. Whether or not alkaline water tastes better is up to the drinker.


Some people contend that ice cold water from a glass tastes better than, say, a glass of water from a plastic cup. Similarly, others like the metallic bite than can come from drinking water from a metal cup. Anyone who has drank water from an insulated reusable metal water bottle can attest that it tastes different, but whether or not it tastes better is merely a preference. Certain taste receptors in the mouth and on the tongue can briefly trick the brain into thinking they are drinking water with a metallic taste, even though the contents of the liquid haven’t changed just because it is in a metal container.


All drinking water, especially tap water from municipalities, has stuff in it like germs, chemicals, dirt, pathogens and essentially anything that can pass through a filter membrane. This material makes up what is called Total Dissolved Solids, or TDS. Dissolved solids can be measured with an inexpensive device, and the data is reported as a parts per million metric, or PPM. But certain things you definitely don't want in your water may not always show up in a typical TDS measurement, so be wary. Most people who drink naturally pure water with very little total dissolved solids will notice an improvement on how the water tastes. Now try the same, low TDS water with elevated naturally occurring levels of pH and you have some mighty fine, great tasting drinking water. Bottled water companies like FIJI and Hawaiian Springs Water know this. After all, they have been pulling natural alkaline water from pristine aquifers on islands in the Pacific for decades now. Not surprisingly, YouTubers have seized on the opportunity to turn consumer interest in water quality into successful channels that earn them a share of ads dollars from Google. Our favorite is Jon Harchick, whose Jon Drinks Water You Tube Channel boasts over 50,000 engaged, loyal subscribers. Jon takes comments and suggestions from his audience seriously, and is prone to drinking water he shouldn’t, and giving honest and sometimes quite hilarious feedback on the fluids he ingests.

So yes, bottled water with higher levels pH and lower levels of dissolved solids will taste better. When this water comes bottled at the source from an artesian aquifer from Hawaii, it tastes even better.

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What Causes pH in Artesian Water?

Water drinkers and enthusiasts like to talk about the properties of their drinking water, especially bottled alkaline water, and pH is one of the most important characteristics because of how it directly affects the way water tastes. But before we get to external factors that affect the pH levels in water, it is helpful to revisit what exactly pH is and what it refers to.

What is pH and Alkalinity?

In water, pH stands for 'Power of Hydrogen'. The numerical value of pH is measured and on scale of 0 to 14, and is determined by the molar concentration of hydrogen ions (H+). This is done by taking the negative logarithm of the H+ concentration (-log(H+)). For example, if a solution has a H+ concentration of 10-3 M, the pH of the solution will be -log(10-3), which equals 3. PH is a determined value based on a defined scale, similar to temperature. This means that pH of water is not a parameter that can be measured as a concentration or a quantity. Rather, it is a figure between 0 and 14 defining how acidic or basic a body of water is along a logarithmic scale The lower the number, the more acidic the water is, and the higher the number, the more basic it is, with a pH of 7 considered to be neutral.

The word 'alkaline' or 'alkalinity' is often misused by bottled water brands in their marketing literature. While it relates to the pH levels in drinking water, it more accurately refers to the way levels pH fluctuate in drinking water. So, in other words, alkalinity technically is a measurement of water’s ability to resist changes in pH. The levels of pH in water can be impacted by external factors such as temperature, salinity and rainfall. If a body of water is high in alkalinity, it can limit or minimize the impact on pH when these naturally occurring factors occur. This is why water from unique places like Hawaii are alkaline. Because the rainfall in Hawaii is so consistent and generally created by the evaporation of cleaner water with lower levels of pollution and toxins as it enters the atmosphere, water with naturally occurring high levels of pH tend to taste better and of higher quality compared to other sources of drinking water. The alkalinity of an underground aquifer at the base of a volcano, for example, is increased by carbonate-rich soils (carbonates and bicarbonates) such as calcium-rich limestone, Because of the presence of carbonates, alkalinity is more closely related to hardness, or mineral levels, than to pH.

What Factors Impact the pH of Water?

There are many factors that can affect pH in water, both natural and man-made. Most natural changes occur due to interactions with surrounding rock (particularly carbonate forms) and other materials. pH can also fluctuate with precipitation and wastewater discharge. In addition, CO2 concentrations can influence pH levels. The alkalinity of water also plays an important role in the daily pH levels of a body of water. Photosynthesis, the process in plants that convert sunlight to carbon dioxide, by algae and plants uses hydrogen, thus increasing pH levels. Additionally, respiration and decomposition can lower pH levels. Most bodies of water are able to restrict these changes due to their alkalinity, so small fluctuations are quickly 'corrected' and may be difficult to detect with any degree of accuracy.

For the average water drinker who is primary interested in taste, this means that higher levels of pH, especially naturally occurring pH, lead to great tasting water.

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Does Alkaline Water Taste Better?

Water preferences generally come down to two considerations, cost and taste. And while we recognize that large parts of the human population all over the world don't access to clean, potable water, this article will focus on the taste preferences for those with access to to clean drinking water, and the question of whether high pH in bottle water tasted better.

Four years we've relied on the old science that divided the human tongue into four taste zones - bitter, sour, sweet and salt - with the tip of the tongue sensitive to bitter, the sides sensitive to sour and salt, while the back sensitive to sweets. But now it is generally accepted that our understanding of how taste information is carried from the tongue to the brain, was flawed, and that individual taste qualities are not simply restricted to a single region or area of the tongue. Enter the idea of 'Umami taste', which is the fifth taste of the tongue, and allows the brain to identify the taste of monosodium glutamate, which in layman's term equates to savoriness of something. So what does all of this mean as it related to the pH in bottled water? A lot it turns out.

For years it was generally accepted that water was water, and there was no real way for the human tongue and brain to accurately identify different tastes in water. But in a 2013 study, it was determined that the mineral composition of water can and does have an impact in its taste, and that the higher the levels of pH, the better is tastes. This makes sense based on what we know about the 1 to 14 scale of acid (low pH) and base (high pH). Bottled water high in pH, especially naturally occurring pH, tastes better because of the extra mineral in the water. Specifically, the study, which is made up of a series of blind taste tests, showed these four compounds had the most impact on taste:

  • HCO₃⁻ (bicarbonate)
  • SO₄²⁻ (sulfate)
  • Ca²⁺ (calcium)
  • Mg²⁺ (magnesium)

The average water drinker isn't concerned so much with why the water tastes better, only that it does. So the next time you're thirsty and are looking for some hydrating nourishment that also tastes great, try water with elevated pH.

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