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Thread: alkaline drinking water

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    alkaline drinking water

    Hi all. I'm going crazy trying to research something related to my Reverse Osmosis water filter I use to filter our drinking/cooking water at home.

    I recently came across something talking about how RO water was bad because it lacked minerals, which led me to an alkalinity filter that my RO manufacturer sells to add back essential minerals and it claims raise the pH (because RO water is acidic).

    So I tested my RO water with my Taylor K2006 and found my water to be acidic (drop test turned yellow, and took 16 drops of base demand to get it in the 7 range). I bought the alkalinity filter, installed it last night, ran some water through it to get it cleaned up, and then tested the resulting water. It was still too acidic to show up on the test block, but took only 8 drops of base demand reagent to get it up to 7. I have no idea if there is a way to calculate what my actual pH was based on how many drops it took of base demand reagent, but I suppose it doesn't matter.

    Now I'm trying to decide if I even care that my pH isn't as neutral as my pool. If you research it, you'll find lots of people who claim that alkaline water is better for you and cures cancer (among other things). However, every one of these articles seems to use the word alkalinity instead of base. For example, they claim that alkaline water is any water that has a pH of greater than 7. To me, the ph doesn't tell me much about alkalinity, so right away the argument that alkaline water is better smells fishy to me.

    Has anyone else that's pool minded ever looked much into this? Has anyone read a convincing reason why my drinking water should be a higher pH level that doesn't seem to confuse the terms alkalinity with base?

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Ok, so the remineralization filter on an RO system is basically a calcium carbonate block that the RO flows through to add CH back into the RO'd water. The carbonate also adds to the alkalinity of the water. Typically one does this in areas where you might have copper pipes and ground water that has a very different mineral characteristic than the RO water as it will prevent galvanic corrosion of pipes. I guess it could be used to improve taste and add some hardness to the water as very soft water can feel slippery on your skin and some people don't like that.

    As for drinking alkaline water for health reasons, well, I'll be blunt - it is a total Baloney Sandwich! Water in the human body is carried by your blood. Your bodies blood has a complex series of buffering agents in it to ensure that the pH of the blood is regulated in a very tight range (pH ~ 7.4). Even just a tenth of a point difference in blood pH either way will cause medical conditions known as metabolic acidosis (pH < 7.32) or metabolic alkalosis (pH > 7.48). Those are extreme medical conditions that would cause a person severe distress and land them in a hospital. If drinking alkaline water (pH > 9) had any effect on blood chemistry, you'd know it.

    7.0 is the exact middle of the pH scale. So, by definition, a pH > 7 is an alkaline pH and a pH < 7 is an acidic pH. The word "base" really refers to ability of a chemical species to raise pH while an "acid" refers to the ability to lower pH (there are more technical definitions regarding the ability of a substance to either absorb or donate a proton, H+, when referring to if something is an acid or base, but its not necessary to discuss that here).
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    As always, I much appreciate that explanation. I have no problems with bluntness, especially since I was already leaning toward agreeing with the total Baloney Sandwich conclusion. I use a T to send RO water to a tap at our kitchen sink, and to our refrigerator for ice. At first I was using copper for the icemaker run, and when I realized my water was acidic, I ordered some PEX and replaced it.

    But mostly I was confused by the terms base and alkaline being used for higher than neutral pH. This helps to explain it!

    Much appreciated!

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
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    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Let me just clarify that, while I think the whole alkaline drinking water thing is pure pseudoscience, I do think your calcite post-filter on your RO system does serve a useful purpose. I have investigated whole-house RO setups for my own needs (but concluded the costs are too high versus traditional softeners) and, if I were to set one up, I would definitely want a calcium hardness post-filter. If one gets a high-quality, properly designed RO system, almost all of the calcium can be removed from the water and, while that might be desirable, it is not typically optimal.

    Let me illustrate by way of example. When central and southern Arizona started using CAP water (CAP is Central Arizona Project and it is a system of reservoirs and aqueducts to bring Colorado River water down to Phoenix & Tucson), it was initially hailed as a good thing for the water delivery and would alleviate the burden on over-used local well water and reduce the depletion rate of the local aquifers. But problems quickly developed because the CAP water is surface water derived from rivers and the local water table here is derived form deep wells. The mineral imbalance between the two types of water quickly started to cause problems with rust and corrosion developing in older residential and commercial plumbing systems. It was determined that the mineral imbalance between the CAP supply and local ground water was enough to induce galvanic corrosion where none previously existed and to cause the passivation layers inside old pipes to start to dissolve into water. The City of Tucson had to spend over a million dollars to add filters to residential homes, payback previous billing charges and upgrade several older parts of the city's water delivery infrastructure.

    So, while such catastrophic problems are not likely to happen in a whole-house RO system, it's always a good idea to avoid extremes. A post-RO calcite filter can certainly be a good thing.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    I love my RO water. But I've heard it will cause calcium to be leached from your bones. I don't worry because I don't always drink RO. Wonder if any one knows? I enjoyed the conversation.


    New pool build in Manor, Texas. 2015. 509 sq. feet; 31'6" x 19'10". Sunshelf & bubbler and waterfall sheer. Gunite inground pool. Pentair Intelliflo VS-3050 pump; Filter: Pentair Clean & Clear 420 Cartridge; Inline chlorination w/UV Sys;Lighting:Pentair IntelliBrite Color LED 120V;Cleaner: KK Racer w/booster.Bench/ledge;limestone Coping; Verona Tile 562 Decking

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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Quote Originally Posted by Jannylee53 View Post
    I love my RO water. But I've heard it will cause calcium to be leached from your bones. I don't worry because I don't always drink RO. Wonder if any one knows? I enjoyed the conversation.


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    See page 150ff - http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_...?ua=1#page=157

    Since North Americans probably have a mineral and vitamin rich diet, drinking low TDS / demineralized water is probably not an issue; take a calcium and Vitamin D supplement if you're worried about osteoporosis. In parts of the world where dietary intake of micronutrients and minerals are poor, drinking demineralized water is probably going to show greater adverse health effects. Unfortunately the answer is never a simple "YES/NO".
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    If I were to eat and drink responsibly all my life eventually I will die...

    But seriously this is a question I have seen in forums before with various opinions. Good RO is close to pure and not ionically balanced with our body fluids but I am certainly not qualified to answer it and would suggest that asking a health professional would be the best advise although I wouldn't mind betting that there will be a difference of opinion amongst health professionals. I recal asking several professors from various fields when I was at uni if RO would be suited to a marine aquarium and I got answers from 'most definately' to 'I wouldn't bother'.

    When I had a marine aquarium I used RO and ion exchange to produce pure water for the tank but tapped off drinking water after the initial sediment and two 0.5 micron carbon filters which would be enough to eliminate crypto and giardia but do nothing for dissolved solids. My choice would depend on the quality of my source water. My tap water is fairly good so I still just use the pre filter and 2 0.5 micron carbon filters.
    Steve.
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    All I know is I keep my body's CSI slightly negative
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Quote Originally Posted by bdavis466 View Post
    All I know is I keep my body's CSI slightly negative
    Alcoholic ketoacidosis will do that to you. You might want to switch to light beer and cut back on the Fireball whiskey shots
    Matt
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Hey now, switching to light beer is one thing but cutting out Fireball is just wrong. That there is a whisky I could drink all night (but certainly shouldn't).

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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Quote Originally Posted by bdavis466 View Post
    All I know is I keep my body's CSI slightly negative
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    At least with ketoacidosis I can lie and say I'm a diabetic... Nothing like masking a problem with a HIPAA card
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    I'm not always glad I opened my mouth, but this time I am. Good conversation out of this thread. Very interesting story about Arizona, I had never heard that. And indeed a good illustration. I never considered whole house RO due to the amount of waste water that would be produced, but you make a very good point about avoiding extremes.

    We bought our house last year about this time and were told "the water is very hard here, but don't worry, the house comes with a water softener." I was excited about the water softener, until I poured myself my first glass of ice water. I did not like the taste, which got my looking into filtration. A coworker told me about his RO system, and I ordered the iSpring RCC7 system off amazon. The resulting water tasted much better, and I was happy enough. It didn't taste like my favorite bottled water (Fiji), but it did taste better than before and clean.

    Just this past week due to another thread around here discussing RO treatment of their pool clued me into the fact that RO lowered the pH of the water. It got me checking, and i realized that was indeed true. So I ordered iSpring's FX15 alkaline filter, which was supposed to raise the pH more than a cheaper model. While I was sad that my pH didn't end up over 7, the water does seem to taste better. I drink a ton of milk, so I'm not overly worried about lacking calcium. But I am in favor of better tasting water. So I'm glad I got it, and I'm not going to worry about the pH being slightly acidic. I'm not feeding it through copper, so it shouldn't leech any of that now, and I don't believe the talk about it being bad for my health.

    Anyway, thanks all!

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
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    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Quote Originally Posted by Donldson View Post
    Hey now, switching to light beer is one thing but cutting out Fireball is just wrong. That there is a whisky I could drink all night (but certainly shouldn't).

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    I said "cut back" not "cut out". Let's not get crazy here people!!


    Quote Originally Posted by bdavis466 View Post
    At least with ketoacidosis I can lie and say I'm a diabetic... Nothing like masking a problem with a HIPAA card
    The alcoholics try that one on my wife all the time in triage...believe me, you ain't foolin' no one. The docs know full well when you've come in with a few too many tied on...
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Quote Originally Posted by bdavis466 View Post
    All I know is I keep my body's CSI slightly negative
    hilarious. Good advice.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
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    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Ever checked the pH of coffee? Coke? Orange juice? Tums?

    The body tolerates different pH levels really well and generally there isn't much concern until people start overdosing on antacids or develop medical conditions where the body can no longer maintain homeostasis.
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    Quote Originally Posted by camueller View Post

    I drink a ton of milk, so I'm not overly worried about lacking calcium. But I am in favor of better tasting water. So I'm glad I got it, and I'm not going to worry about the pH being slightly acidic. I'm not feeding it through copper, so it shouldn't leech any of that now, and I don't believe the talk about it being bad for my health.

    Anyway, thanks all!
    Don't be worried about a calcium deficiency, our son is anaphylactic to dairy and he's not deficient in calcium, his teeth are healthier than most his age. Calcium is in all food, the dairy industry has only been big since the introduction of refrigeration and powdered milk products from the 1900's, a drop in the ocean in evolution terms.
    Steve.
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    I have RO in the studio and hate the taste...softened water in the kitchen only slightly better. An alkalinity filter or a few drops of trace minerals make each taste better, IMHO.
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    The water here is hard enough (iron and calcium) to break a tooth. This house cam with a softener, but learned decades ago the value of an RO filter. NC is in the middle of the kidney stone belt, an RO unit paid for itself in 6 months in vet bills for male cats with "bladder sand" - small kidney stones that pass part way. Our cats get nothing but RO water and that is what I drink....if not beer (NOT LIGHT S***) or some other adult beverage.....
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    Re: alkaline drinking water

    I had no idea how many places had hard water. I sure didn't know that when my family moved to a house 25 miles away from our old one, I would suddenly also have hard water.

    We really didn't have a problem with the taste of the non alkalized RO water, but the stuff out of the softener was awful. One of these days I may add a whole house granular activated carbon filter to the whole setup, but for now I'm happy that our drinking/cooking water both tastes good and is clean.

    It does seem weird taking water that I've softened (removed calcium via ion exchange) and then filtered the heck out of, then adding calcium back to it to drink. But I guess that's just the way it is when you filter with an RO filter and remove nearly everything from the water.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
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    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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