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pH Basics

Dr. David Nix

The patent for this product (5,306,511) was awarded on the claim that 2 drops added to a glass of water will raise the pH to 9-12. Tap water pH is typically 6.5-8. The product consists of a mixture of potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide, and there is a broad range for the ratio of KOH to NaOH. The exact concentration of these chemicals was not provided. From the information provided, the product could neutralize no more than 1 mEq of acid (HCl). Antacids which are given to neutralize gastric acid are capable of neutralizing at least 10 mEq of acid. I suspect that KOH and NaOH are in very low concentrations.

Water has very limited ability to buffer against changes in pH. Increases in pH to 9-12 range would require very little added base. Although there are those who feel than drinking alkaline water is healthy, I can not see any potential for medical benefit. The additive will provide additional potassium and sodium, but the amount is unlikely to have any impact given normal dietary consumption. The NaOH and KOH would be expected to be neutralized rapidly in the stomach forming water and the salts, sodium chloride (table salt) and potassium chloride. Concentrated solutions of KOH and/or NaOH are very caustic, and this further supports that the amount of these chemicals in the product is very low.


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Last update: November 10, 2009
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