Wednesday, July 13, 2016

HiflowAM water: Better type of water? Or just a new kid on the block?

Hi Chen Ko

My apologies for not managing to acknowledge your reply previously. Thank you so much again for the useful info and I hope you had a great June vacation!

I came across a water filter product at a fair recently, I think it is electrolysed water. Was told it is not (the ‘overrated’?) alkaline water per se, but not I am very sure. Was curious to hear your thoughts on something like this, as well as the touted health benefits (better blood flow…?). (see “Comparing various waters” and “Benefits of HiFlo Water” tabs)



Hi Paloma,

When I flicked to the webpage on "comparing various waters", there is this interesting table comparing tap water, RO (reverse osmosis) water, alkaline water, hydrogen water and HifloAM water (which is the product the company is trying to promote).

So now, in addition to alkaline water, we have hydrogen water and HifloAM water to choose from. The consumer must be spoilt for choice. (You may refer to an earlier post about alkaline water.)

The first thing that strikes me is the TM (trademark) superscript next to Hifloam water. RO water, alkaline water and hydrogen water do not have this! What this means is Hifloam water is probably surrounded by secrecy and little is known about it. And when I tried goggling for it, indeed, the first couple pages of results are mainly linked to Nature's Glory, the supplier for you-guess-it.

Even Nature's Glory website itself does not seem to explain the process behind the production of Hifloam water. It does however make many health claims and show a video on improving blood after drinking its product.

I can't seem to find any scientific publications on the website or on Google about the benefits of drinking Hifloam water. This should not be a surprise since the product is trademarked. This should be enough to restrict its independent research. At least for alkaline and hydrogen water, you can still find such publications.

Oh.... back to the table mentioned above. It compares pH (a indication of acidity and alkalinity), ORP (oxidation reduction potential), dissolved oxygen (DO) level, dissolved hydrogen (DH) level and pKw among the 5 types of water. It is trying to say that:
  1. pH should be kept around neutral (i.e. 7), effectively debunking the goodness of alkaline water. (My post on alkaline water touches on this.)
  2. The more negative ORP is, the better it is. In chemistry, it is indeed true that a more negative ORP will tend to promote anti-oxidant activity.
  3. A super high (technically known as supersaturated) level of DO is good for you. DO in Singapore's tap water is about 6ppm but Hifloam water has a off-the-chart value of 14.40ppm. I have seen this kind of value in water with lots of sea grasses photosynthesising.

    Yes, we humans need oxygen but we get ours from the atmosphere via breathing which is a more effective way of obtaining oxygen compared to fishes getting theirs from DO. After all, the atmosphere contains 21% oxygen. This translates to 210 000ppm in the air. Why we need to obtain oxygen from drinking supersaturated DO water is beyond me.
  4. Not sure about the role of DH in drinking water. But having a gas distributed through the human body and playing a beneficial role is not something I easily subscribe to unless I see a lot more scientific evidence.
  5. In chemistry terms, pKw is the negative logarithm of the product between hydrogen ion (NOT hydrogen) concentration and hydroxyl ion concentration. Theoretically, I am not sure how this relates to improving one's health from drinking water with a slightly lower pKw.

Before someone flames me for my comments, I am not such a snob to insist that something beneficial has to be understood mechanistically. Yet, in the absence of more and better evidence, I will tread with caution. I think we have seen enough of quick-get-rich schemes to be more careful in parting with our money.

Figure: Plain water is still best for me.

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