What Happens When Water Ionizes?

Updated: April 16, 2021 by Zac Harding

You have probably heard of the ionization of water, it is not a rare subject of discussion when we talk about drinking water, our health, and staying hydrated. Especially with many water companies now choosing to ionize or deionize their water.

But do we know what this means, and what happens when water ionizes? You may wonder whether or not it is safe to drink this water if there are too many chemicals in it, and if it is okay to drink what the benefits of drinking ionized water are.

However, to know all of this, we need to know what happens to the water when it is ionized and therefore how it affects us when we ingest it.

Time to find out!

What Is Ionized Water?

To understand what happens to water when it is ionized, we first need to know what it is.

Ionized water is water with mineral ions in it. These minerals in water become ionized when they either gain or lose electrons.

All water that is found in nature has minerals in it. That stream has minerals, that river has minerals, the sea has minerals, and it is all ionized water to some extent.

Deionized water, on the other hand, has no minerals in it, it is created by distilling water, or via reverse osmosis. This water is not natural, as all-natural water has minerals in it.

Ionization affects the dissolved mineral salts in water. Tap water, for example, contains dissolved mineral salts, primarily calcium carbonates and magnesium carbonates.

These are what cause those white deposits lefts on plumbing and home appliances, in homes that have hard water. Ionized water is when these mineral salts are split in half.

So, for example, calcium carbonate is split, so the calcium is separated from the carbonate.

what happens when water ionizes
Water ionizes when hydrogen ions detach from water molecules and attach to some other water molecules, thereby creating hydronium ions (H3O+) and hydroxide ions (OH-).

The Two Kinds of Ionized Water

There are two types of ionized water, the first is ionized alkaline water, which is also known as Electrolyzed Reduced Water because it has been shown to reduce the effects of oxidation.

The ability that ionized alkaline water has to reduce oxidative damage is known as ORP, or Oxidation Reduction Potential.

To understand this a little better, we must know what oxidation and reduction mean in these settings. Oxidation is what happens when acidic substances steal electrons from another substance. Think of how apple’s brown, or metal rusts. Acidic water will oxidize things, this can include bodily tissues and even DNA.

Reduction means when an antioxidant substance gives electrons to a substance such as free radicals that attack body tissues and DNA. This antioxidant will reduce the ability that these radicals have to oxidize tissues or DNA. This keeps you healthy.

Ionized alkaline water is a reducer, as it reduces oxidation. Ionized acidic water, on the other hand, is oxidative, as it increases oxidation, it is useful for sanitizing, tools, and kitchen implements. If made with salt it becomes a very powerful disinfectant.

How Is Ionized Water Made?

Tap water is a mixture of two types of ions; mineral ions, which include things such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These mineral ions have positive electromagnetic charges.

Home water ionizers use electromagnetism to separate these positively charged minerals from the negatively charged bicarbonates.

A water ionizer has a charged plate that will act as a magnet, attracting the ions that have the opposite charge they do. When this happens the ions pass through a membrane. This membrane allows ions to pass through it but will not allow other particles to pass through.

Ion separation processes make both alkaline and acidic water at the same time as the membrane separates the minerals from the bicarbonate. Which makes the water inside the alkaline chamber into alkaline only water, and the water in the acidic chamber into acid only water.

This is What Happens When Water Ionizes

Let’s talk in a little more detail about how this works.

Once the minerals are split from their bicarbonate that they were originally combined with, the minerals are drawn through a special ion-permeable membrane and into their separate chamber.

As we stated above. Similarly, the carbonate ions are also drawn through the ion-permeable membrane and they go into a different chamber. This is the separation of the alkaline and acid.

After being separated from the carbonate ions, the alkaline calcium and magnesium ions pull hydroxyl ions from the water around them to form new mineral salts, creating calcium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide.

These newly formed hydroxide salts are hugely alkaline, this is what gives alkaline water its title, with an alkaline pH level. These hydroxyl ions give this alkaline water its age-defiant antioxidating potentials.

When the carbonate ions have entered their chamber, the acidic carbonates react with their water molecules too.

This reaction then produces a solution of carbonic acid. It is a very weak solution, but this is a solution that is enough to be a suitable beauty rinse, or for watering plants, or even as a sanitizer for produce.

To Sum Up

Ionizing water is all about the chemical composition of the water and separating molecules to form new chemical compounds that create two types of water solutions: acidic and alkaline.

It’s good to know what happens when water ionizes because this process is what gives us alkaline water which is all the rage these days.

This water can have a lot of health benefits, but you should also be cautious of bottled alkaline water, as these brands that claim alkaline water, could actually be acidic.

The issue is that alkaline water does not keep when put into a bottle. If it is, you need to drink it within 24 hours to get the water’s full potency.

Even if it is alkaline, it doesn’t have any alkaline antioxidant potential once bottled, and that antioxidant potential is what brings about those sought-after health benefits.

If you do decide you want to switch to drinking only ionized alkaline water, the best way to do this is to get yourself a water ionizer. But you should keep in mind that you would need to drink 2-3 liters a day to reap the benefits.

Water ionization is even a natural process sometimes, and it is nowhere near as complicated as you may think. It is really simple if even a bit heavy on the chemistry side. Check out this video if you want to geek out a bit.

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