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Alkaline water – activated water – ionized water: what is what?

Herrmann K.: Alkaline water, alkaline activated water, ionized water, electro-activated drinking water, electrolyte water, hydrogen-rich water... I'm starting to no longer know my way around. Which water do you recommend and which is which?

  • Since the nature of electro-activated water was not understood until a few years ago, around 1931 different names have emerged for what is good to drink since it first appeared in 50. The inventor Alfons Natterer originally spoke of acidic, alkaline (basic) and neutral electrolyte water. Since then, electrolytic production has been crucial, as opposed to what I call chemical water ionizers. A complete overview of the individual terms and procedures can be found in the e-book DVD-ROM of this FAQ book at
  • Since in Japan initially only the alkaline and acidic varieties were produced due to a different cell design, the term “alkaline ionized water” was developed for the drinkable alkaline part of the water. This is actually a dirty term because it says the same thing twice. The water becomes alkaline, i.e. basic, because some of the water molecules are broken down (“ionized”) into acidic and basic water ions, which are then separated so that basic water (by OH ions) on the one hand and acidic water on the one hand Water (from H+ ions) is created on the other side of the electrolytic cell separated by a membrane. The opposite term to alkaline activated water is acidic activated water (“acidic ionized water”). Here we often speak of oxide water.

Redox voltage temperature chart

  • The term “ionized water”, which was later used by the doctor Dina Aschbach in a book, was also unfortunate because it only focuses on water ions. The electrical activity of the “active water” is not based directly on the basic or acidic character that arises from the water ions OH- and H+, but rather on the enrichment of dissolved oxygen in the acidic water and the enrichment of dissolved hydrogen in the basic water . These dissolved gases create exceptionally high (positive) redox potentials of up to 1200 mV (SHE) on the oxygen side and exceptionally low (negative) redox potentials of up to (-) 800 mV (SHE) on the hydrogen side. These are the values ​​that can be measured with a SHE electrode (hydrogen electrode). Since in practice measurements are almost exclusively made with CSE electrodes (silver/silver chloride electrode), there are values ​​of up to + 993 mV (CSE) on the oxygen side and (-593 mV) on the hydrogen side. These are the values ​​at 25°C, where the difference between SHE measurement method and SHE measurement is + 207 mV. The following overview illustrates the connection at other temperatures. (Source:

Alkaline active water

Shortened video for the book “Trink Dich alkalisch” by Karl Heinz Asenbaum, Dipl.Ing., which was first published in 2008. Dietmar Ferger and Dr. med. Walter Irlacher.

When water is electrolyzed in an electrolytic cell with a diaphragm membrane, the two water ions H+ and OH- are not only formed from water molecules. Oxygen and hydrogen are also released, the difference on both sides is explained by the fact that oxygen gas and hydrogen gas have different solvency in water.


Solubility of oxygen mg/l at 1 atmosphere pressure 101,325 Pa

15 degrees C 2,756
20 degrees C 2,501
25 degrees C 2,293
30 degrees C 2,122
35 degrees C 1,982


Solubility of hydrogen mg/l at 1 atmosphere pressure 101,325 Pa

15 degrees C 1,510
20 degrees C 1,455
25 degrees C 1,411
30 degrees C 1,377
35 degrees C 1,350


The following amounts of gas are released from 2 molecules of water H2O during electrolysis:

2H2O —> 2 H2 + O2

This means that twice as much hydrogen gas is produced as oxygen gas.
However, O2 can dissolve in water around 25 times better at 1,6 degrees C, for example. So what to do with the significant excess of H2?

Hofmann water decomposition

Hofmann's water decomposition apparatus is one of the most popular school experiments among chemistry teachers and students. Thanks to the clever construction, the equation 2H2O —> 2 H2 + O2 can be clearly demonstrated. However, the chemistry teacher has to “trick” to show that the two gases are actually created in a ratio of 2:1. If the water is not yet saturated with the gases, a ratio of around 1: 2,5 (oxygen to hydrogen) initially arises due to the different solubility and dissolution speed.


At the end of the experiment we have pure oxygen and hydrogen for the popular oxyhydrogen effect, but also acidic water with saturated oxygen and basic water with saturated hydrogen, depending on the air pressure and temperature.

Why does the redox potential in basic, hydrogen-rich water drop to very high negative values?


CSE-SHE value comparison pH

It should be noted that redox potentials themselves cannot be measured. The redox potential is always the value of an electrical voltage between two chemical reaction partners, i.e. a relative quantity. Hydrogen gas (H0) has been defined as the standard potential E2. Compared to a hydrogen electrode (SHE), for example, gold has a redox potential of + 1680 mV, whereas lithium has - 304O mV. Because of the voltage difference, one could therefore construct a lithium-gold battery with a voltage of 4720 mV (4,72 volts). A minus value means that there is an excess of electrons, a positive value means a tendency to accept electrons.

The water molecule H2O now consists of two reaction partners, namely H2 and O. Oxygen (O) has a positive redox potential of +2 mV compared to H1230, so it is “greedy” for electrons. This voltage difference of 1230 mV is constant for all pH values ​​and measuring methods, even if the values ​​of the two reactants shift downwards as the pH value increases.

Alkaline activated water contains more hydrogen than oxygen. Therefore - to put it very simply - +1230 mV is missing: the redox potential must decrease.

In the drinking range of alkaline activated water, at pH 8,5 to 9,5, the standard potential of H2 has also fallen from 0 to approximately -450 to -550 mV. This results in low measured values ​​of redox potentials. Since very large amounts of free OH ions are present due to the basic character, the following electron-releasing reaction can occur, for example:
2 H2 + 4 OH- ———> 4 H2O + 4 e-
This reaction produces water full of energy: alkaline activated water.

There are three basic parameters that determine the value of alkaline activated water:


  • A maximum saturation with dissolved hydrogen
  • A high excess of OH ions
  • Removal of oxygen gas as completely as possible


These 3 parameters complement each other. Their simultaneous presence can only be achieved with an electrolytic water ionizer with diaphragm electrolysis. Neither through —> Chemical water ionizers Compliance with these parameters can still be achieved using electrolysis devices without a diaphragm, so-called hydrogen-rich water generators.

As far as I know, the first person to use the term “basic active water” in Germany was Dipl. Ing. Dietmar Ferger in his 2006 publication: “Basic activated water – how it works and what it can do.” This book is now in an expanded version Form available under the title “Fountain of Youth Water”. This better expresses the activity of the water, which is not just simple “alkaline water” with a high pH value. Dr. med. Walter Irlacher and I adopted this term in our “Service Manual for People,” which also first appeared in 2006. In 2008 we delved into the topic in the book “Drink yourself alkaline – The breviary for alkaline active water” written together with Ferger.

Until 2008, interest was dominated by an electrochemical measurement that alkaline activated water also has in addition to its increased pH value: the negative redox potential. Russian researcher Vitold Bakhir believed he had proven that it was abnormally low and could not be explained by the equations of classical redox chemistry. At the same time, the redox potential of the acidic activated water was “abnormally” high and also seemed unexplainable. These extraordinary redox potentials were believed to be the main cause of the effects of alkaline activated water (antioxidative) and acidic activated water (oxidative).

In 1997, Sanetaka Shirahata hypothesized that only atomic hydrogen could be the cause of the antioxidant effect of water. He was also able to detect such an effect in types of water that did not have an abnormally negative redox potential, but did contain atomic hydrogen. However, research by Shigeo Ohta and many other researchers worldwide since 2008 has shown that the molecular, i.e. gaseous, hydrogen in water, which causes the low redox potential, also produces such an antioxidant effect. Since then, research into hydrogen-rich water has been one of the most promising new areas of medicine.

Due to the new findings about the importance of H2 (hydrogen gas) in alkaline activated water, the question of storage and shelf life is also moving into a new focus. While in times of the redox discussion it was still believed that metal vessels should not be used for storage so that the electrons would not flow away, from today's perspective metal vessels, such as double-walled stainless steel bottles, are the first choice for storing alkaline activated water as efficiently as possible. Just like thick glass (especially blue glass), they prevent the hydrogen from escaping and thus the loss of the antioxidant effect. In contrast, the hydrogen moves through the plastic bottles that were previously used very quickly, so that the water relaxes more quickly and reduces its maximum benefit to the purely alkaline effect.

Excerpt from the book by Karl Heinz Asenbaum: “Electro-activated water – An invention with extraordinary potential. Water ionizers from A – Z”
Copyright 2016

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