[COLUMN] The ‘Ionizer’ scam

AS far as health is concerned, the 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. Everybody wants to get to heaven without dying!

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, most manufacturers of these “health” lotions, potions, pills, juices and gadgets are mostly interested in making their bank accounts healthier, and least interested in the health of its 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 adverse side effects. Organ failure and cancer are some of those possible complications.

It is one thing to pay for a very expensive pill or juice or machine and find 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.

Now comes the water ionizer, the “ionized” alkaline water it produces, the “special drinking water.” Not only are these marketed waters 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 surprise 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 multiple-stage reversed osmosis filtration system, and then boiling the water will even double the protection. This will certainly not cost $1500 to $2500 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 proof. These are misinformation used to market the product with some semblance of “truth.” Candidly, these are nothing but deception to sell. If not approved by the U.S. FDA, RP-BFAD or any other similar national health agencies, any product is a potential 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 non-conductive 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, under your doctor’s care?; (9) Electrolysis devices or ionizers are generally worthless for treating water for health enhancement, removal of common impurities, disinfection and scale control.”

Talking about liquids, here is a warning: Soft drinks (cola or un-cola, diet or regular), for instance, are poison to all of us, especially to children; they cause metabolic syndrome, which leads to major chronic illnesses. They are killing us softly!

Among “killer foods,” processed foods, especially meats (almost all deli foods), increases the risk for cancer; and sweets and sugars are most unhealthy for us, responsible for obesity and most major chronic illnesses among us.

To protect our health…and pocketbook, we must use our wisdom and due diligence in this informational age, where Dr. Google is on-call 24/7. Caveat emptor!

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to 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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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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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, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. He was a recipient of the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1995, conferred by then Indiana Governor, later Senator, and then presidential candidate, Evan Bayh. Other Sagamore past awardees include President Harry Truman, President George HW Bush, Muhammad Ali, and Astronaut Gus Grissom (Wikipedia). Related websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com; Email: [email protected].


Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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