DEAR DR. BLONZ: I keep seeing a video ad that says we should not ever drink spring water, carbonated water or even purified water, because it is all less effective than the alkalized water made fresh by their particular machine. They make health claims from drinking their water, and do a series of demonstrations using a color indicator to make the point that their alkaline water is better. I’m not sure about this, and was hoping for your opinion. — R.D., via email
DEAR R.D.: Someone is trying to sell you a machine. I would take a pass.
Depending on where it’s from, spring water tends to be alkaline due to the minerals naturally present at the source. Purified water is just water, usually filtered, with some brands adding minerals for taste. Waters marketed as being alkaline can come from springs where that is their natural state, or from companies adding mineral salts that raise the pH and make the water more alkaline. Machines designed to make water alkaline do this using electricity to ionize the water molecules.
They can use all the acid-alkaline indicators they want, but settle for nothing less than objective clinical evidence — that is, research using people, not water in a glass — to support any health claims for this machine-produced alkaline water. Demand that evidence in writing, such as in the product literature on their website; things said in videos tend to be more ephemeral.