Nov 30, 2010
Show the science of alkali water
DR KOH Lam Son ("A different view on alkaline ionised water"; Nov 23) and Mr Kenneth Wong ("Making a case for alkaline water"; Nov 26) referred to the widely researched and well-documented beneficial effects of alkali water, which include the neutralisation of free radicals and a salutary antioxidant effect.
This appropriately brings up the topic of what constitutes good science and research.
Succinctly, the scientific approach demands the formulation of hypotheses, construction of theories, separation of fact from opinion, acceptance through public publication after peer review and the critical quality of experimental results being replicable.
The hypothesis that water can be turned into an acid-alkali/bi-component moiety is merely wishful, the theory behind it untenable and the support for it mainly testimonial in nature, without legitimate substantiation.
Supporters of alkali water can convincingly remove the blinkers from doubting cynics by providing for scrutiny, before the eyes of erudite chemistry professors, the science of alkali water. At the same time, by publishing irrefutable clinical data which would clinch their case conclusively, they can convert doctors that simply transforming a molecule of water can serendipitously turn it into an elixir for health.
Dr Yik Keng Yeong
Nov 23, 2010
A different view on alkaline ionised water
I REFER to Dr Yik Keng Yeong's comments on alkaline ionised water ("Don't be taken in by 'benefits' of alkali water"; Nov 15).
The subject of alkaline ionised water has been widely researched in the last 50 years, mainly in Russia, Japan and South Korea. Scientific studies have generally concluded that it has beneficial alkalising and antioxidant effects.
Alkaline ionised water has been shown to neutralise free radicals and improve the control of many lifestyle-related chronic disease conditions associated with free radical stress - for example, diabetes, gout, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and rheumatoid arthritis.
I urge general physicians to consider using the water as a support measure in the management of patients with chronic diseases.
Dr Koh Lam Son
15 November 2010.
Don't be taken in by 'benefits' of alkali water
OF LATE, more and more patients have been approaching family practitioners asking whether the ingestion of alkali water has a salutary effect on health.
Insofar as I know, no reputable scientific or medical journal has recorded any beneficiary effects of alkaline or ionised water. The structure of the human digestive system is such that the potent acids of the stomach will quickly neutralise whatever small amount - if any - of alkali water made in an ionising machine and ingested orally.
At any rate, these acidic contents from the stomach, once emptied into the intestines, encounter the strong alkaline digestive juices secreted by the pancreas, so the visceral contents turn naturally alkaline.
Adding either acid or alkali to the diet is therefore superfluous as the physiology of the human body just does not need such meddling - acid-base homeostasis being judiciously regulated by the lungs and the kidneys.
Makers of alkali/ionising water machines exploit credulous patients by proclaiming their nostrum as a panacea for curing everything from hair loss to osteoporosis to cancer. Sadly, unsuspecting patients are hoodwinked by their claims which are impressively supported by reams of gobbledegook masquerading as science.
The health authorities should come out against this practice and arrest this trend among the gullible.
Dr Yik Keng Yeong
[Call me skeptical, but read the first letter by Dr Koh. Basically, he says that alkaline ionised water can neutralise free radicals and improve control of lifestyle ailments. How does it do it is not clear. "Free radicals" have been tossed off as an explanation for cancer. There at least the theory has some explanation of the "mechanics" - free radicals being reactive disrupt normal cells turning them cancerous. How free radicals cause obesity, gout, high cholesterol, hypertension, etc, is not explained.
On the other hand, Dr Yik's letter is more logical. Alkali is caustic so you won't want to ingest water that is too alkaline. If there is no problem ingesting such things, you may want to chew on some alkaline batteries. A little alkaline is probably not a problem. But the mild alkalinity would be neutralised by stomach acid in the first place. Now if the point was to reduce heartburn, I can see how this might be a possible remedy. But the effect of mild alkaline water would be neutralised beyond the stomach.
Now both of them are doctors, so who should we believe. Moreover Dr Koh has a double postgrad degree - in O&G and general surgery. And he was a PAP MP for 2 terms. But he wandered into anti-ageing medicine when he retired. There is something to be said about a man in his sixties looking to stay young.
But all this pseudo-science/fraudulent medicine is selling hope. Not cures.]