What Is Water

Water is the most abundant substance found on our planet, in our bodies, and in our food, making up 70 to 90 per cent of organic matter. The liquids, especially the types of water, we consume also have a profound impact on a full spectrum of health issues. Water is far more complex than common wisdom suggests.

Water is composed of molecules containing two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen: H20. In a liquid state, the two hydrogen atoms make a 104.5° angle with the oxygen atom, which increases to 109.5° when water freezes. That's why water molecules are more spread out in the form of ice, giving it a lower density than liquid water—this is why ice floats.

Although the overall water molecule is electrically neutral, the location of the electrons makes a difference. The side of the molecule with the hydrogen atoms is slightly positive in electrical charge, whereas the oxygen side is slightly negative. So water molecules combine with one another in small groups to assume, typically, pentagonal or hexagonal shapes.6 These multimolecuie structures can change back and forth between hexagonal and pentagonal configurations 100 billion times a second. At room temperature, only about 3 per cent of the clusters are hexagonal, but this increases to 100 per cent as the water gets colder. This is why most snowflakes are hexagonal.

These three-dimensional electrical properties of water are quite powerful and can break apart the strong chemical bonds of other compounds. Consider what happens when you put salt into water. Salt is quite stable when dry but is quickly torn apart into ions (atoms with an electric charge)—sodium and chlorine—when placed in water. The negatively charged oxygen side of the water molecules attracts positively charged sodium ions (Na+), whilst the positively charged hydrogen side attracts the negatively charged chlorine ions (CI-). In the dry form of salt, the sodium and chlorine atoms are tightly bound together, but these bonds are easily broken by the electrical charge of the water molecules. That's why water is "the universal solvent" and is involved in most of the biochemical pathways in our bodies. The chemistry of life on our planet is mostly concerned with water.

The elaborate structures formed by water molecules as a result of its electrical field create a form of memory that has been demonstrated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. On its surface, water assumes a stable configuration that results in the phenomenon of surface tension. One Korean scientist describes three organized layers of water molecules, each with different properties, around each protein molecule.7

There are three vital health issues concerning water: acid/alkaline balance, impurities, and infrastructure. Acid/alkaline balance is based on amount of ionization. Ionization means molecules lose or gain electrons, so they acquire an overall electric charge. When a water molecule becomes ionized, it is split into two parts: a positively charged hydrogen ion (H+) and a negatively charged hydroxide ion (OH-). These ions can then combine with other substances dissolved in water, such as minerals, to form chemical reactions. Ionization is crucial to most of the chemical reactions in our body.

If hydrogen and hydroxide ions are equal in number, the water is considered neutral. At room temperature, neutral water has one out of 10 million (10~7) of its molecules in an ionized state—broken apart into hydrogen ions— and the same number as hydroxide ions. Such water has a pH (proportion of hydrogen) of 7 (the negative exponent of 10 for the hydrogen ions). If we add an acidic mineral—for example, sulphur, chlorine, or phosphoric acid— to water, the acid grabs electrons from the hydrogen atoms, creating a larger number of hydrogen ions (H+). If the proportion of hydrogen ions increases 10-fold, this acidic water will have just one out of one million (1()6) of its molecules as hydrogen ions, or a pH of 6. So pH is measured on a logarithmic scale: increasing or decreasing the pH by just 1 corresponds to multiplying or dividing the number of hydrogen ions by 10.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ALKALINE

To understand why the alkalinity or acidity of the water-based liquids is important to health, we need to understand how the body controls the ionization levels of its fluids. Different pH levels support different types of chemistry, so it s essential that body fluids be maintained within very narrow acid/alkaline limits.9 Your health is extremely sensitive to the slightest change in the pH level of your body's vital fluids. Stomach fluid, for example, is extremely acidic, with a pH of 1.5 (pH less than 7 is acid, more than 7 is alkaline). Pancreatic fluid, on the other hand, is quite alkaline, with a pH of 8.8. The pH inside our cells ranges from 6.8 to 7.1. The most important balance of all is maintained in our blood, where the pH is very tightly controlled between 7.35 and 7.45.

Your body will act to neutralize acidic drinks such as colas and coffee with alkaline blood buffers, which are then unavailable to neutralize other acidic waste products continually produced by the body, including organic by-products of digestion such as acetic acid,10 lactic acid,11 carbonic acid,12 uric acid,13 and fatty acids.14 There are also inorganic by-products created or found in

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