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This article about activated alkaline water (I'm sorry, it's in German, but I couldn't find an English version by the same claimants) claims that drinking this water aids therapy of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Interestingly, half of the references at the end (found on pubmed, in English) don't seem to have anything to do with what is being claimed. The references in German are self-references, which makes me suspect that this is pure self-assertion with no evidence at all behind it.

Unfortunately the title and summary of results at the end lead people to assume that this is a cure for diabetes (I was given this resource by someone who believes that I should stop taking insulin and drink this water instead), which would be potentially lethal if someone actually follows this advice, but I lack the expertise to debunk this well. Any help here would be very much appreciated.

  • This also seems to be a further and even more ludicrous claim than already mentioned here: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6141/… – Alan Escreet Apr 23 '12 at 14:44
  • Oh, Kangen Water. Right. Sounds like BS as Kangen makes some really ridiculous claims about its water. – Almo Apr 23 '12 at 19:17
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    The burden of proof lies not on you, but on people that claim that this water cures diabetes. The linked pdf is far from being an independent double-blinded (there is even no simple blind test, as there is no group receiving placebo), peer reviewed research. More an advertising pamphlet. If you however want arguments, why one should be especially skeptical here, it's because this water claims to be panaceum. Two types of diabetes have very different etiology. So a claim that a single treatment is good for them (and other diseases, as linked question shows) is suspicious. – zefciu Apr 25 '12 at 19:19
  • @zefciu: You are absolutely right that the burden of proof would normally lie with the people making the claim. Skeptics.SE plays loose with the burden of proof, accepting it onto the answerers' shoulders, even though that is backwards. Without that twist, the premise of the site wouldn't make any sense. – Oddthinking Apr 26 '12 at 3:26
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    AGGH! Again with the alkaline thing! – Monkey Tuesday Apr 27 '12 at 17:57
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This was linked in the other question about alkaline water that I already linked:

https://sciencebasedpharmacy.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/your-urine-is-not-a-window-to-your-body-ph-balancing-a-failed-hypothesis/#more-1424

Since the "paper" in question does not make it clear what method alkaline water could have any effect at all makes it difficult to debunk a specific claim, since none was really made. This is the first flaw: Since the claim made no mention of a possible way in which alkaline water can have any curative effect, even if all the data they presented was accurate and correct, the best claim that could be made is only a correlation. They have established no causation.

Despite this lack of a mechanism, there is mention in the introduction about free radicals and other oxidative stress playing a part in the development of diabetes (which type is not described). Since alkaline water does not significantly effect the pH of the body - and definitely not by the time it reachees the intestine where the water can be absorbed, then the alkalinity of the water can have no protective effect against oxidative damage.

In addition to this, drinking alkaline water after diabetes has already been developed will do nothing to restore oxidative damage to the tissues that has already been sustained (I guess much like trying to splint a bone that has already set badly). In this case, their introduction giving a plausible-sounding problem does not match with their proposed therapy.

As zefciu pointed out, type I diabetes is caused by an auto-immune reaction while type II is caused by insulin resistence of the cells that take up insulin.

In the case of type I diabetes, the alkaline water would need to prevent the immune system from attacking its own beta cells (the ones in the pancreas that produce insulin), allowing the body to regenerate them. This would indeed be miraculous.

In the case of type II diabetes, the water would need to restore the cells ability to take up insulin or at least improve the uptake of insulin. Since no active ingredient would make it in to the body and the pH is unaffected by drinking alkaline water, there is no possible cause of this insulin sensitivity to be improved.

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