pH and Alkalinity are not the same

ph_test_paperFor anyone looking at alkaline water, the title of this post might seem a bit conflicted.  We all know the most advertised and marketed aspect of alkaline water is the pH number.  The first thing new distributors at Enagic or MLM brand X learn how to do is put some pH reagent drops in the water and show how purple = alkaline.  From their conclusions are drawn as to how this water can change the alkaline levels in our bodies and result in better health.

But is that accurate?

The short answer is “no”.  Which is why so many in the “mainstream” don’t accept what the alkaline water industry is selling.  The answers they offer to many of the common objections are nonsensical at best and illustrate a massive disconnect in understanding the difference between pH and alkalinity.

Look at the differences in definitions:

pHThe pH of a solution is a measure of the molar concentration of hydrogen ions in the solution and as such is a measure of the acidity or basicity of the solution. The letters pH stand for “power of hydrogen” and the numerical value is defined as the negative base 10 logarithm of the molar concentration of hydrogen ions.  

AlkalinityAlkalinity is a measure of the capacity of water or any solution to neutralize or “buffer” acids. This measure of acid-neutralizing capacity is important in figuring out how “buffered” the water is against sudden changes in pH.

See?  pH is about hydrogen concentration.  Alkalinity means the ability to buffer acids.  Those are massively different and when they are used interchangeably, confusion abounds.  Don’t get us wrong, each are vitally important characteristics of water we should be drinking, but we need to know which hole the peg fits.

It’s unfortunate the word alkaline has a double application, but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt by scientists much smarter than we are.  Over the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting these differences and showing why the benefits so many have enjoyed are actually occurring.

Hint: It’s not pH.

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