There has a lot been said about alkaline water and how it’s less acidic than tap water. But now we’ve been hearing about artificially and naturally alkaline water and have been confused by the differences and benefits for the body. To help us out, we interviewed Ryan Emmons, founder of Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water to learn more about this topic. Read on to learn more about his company and to better understand the differences.
Interview with Ryan Emmons on Artificially and Naturally Alkaline Water
Wellness Patterns: How did the idea for Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water come about?
Ryan Emmons: I grew up in California and Hawaii, spending all of my winters and summers there with my Hawaiian family. During that time, I gained an incredible appreciation for the environment and the active, nature-filled lifestyle that’s unique to these places. That, coupled with a history of involvement with clean water, education, and conservation NGO’s led me to try to begin developing the concept for Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water after I realized there was a dire need for a lifestyle brand that could create positive industry and social change.
I went to the Marshall School of Business at USC because it had the number one undergrad Entrepreneur Program in the country (the LLoyd Greif Program for Entrepreneurial Studies), and started developing the concept, feasibility, and business plan over the next few years before graduating early and launching it full time.
Wellness Patterns: What are the differences between artificially and naturally alkaline waters? When measuring alkalinity, an alkaline pH can be the result of natural or unnatural conditions in the water.
Ryan Emmons: Naturally alkaline water has a chemical makeup that is vastly different from artificially alkaline water. A naturally alkaline water’s pH corresponds with the amount of minerals present in the water — the higher the mineral content, the higher the pH. On the other hand, artificially alkaline water has undergone a process they call ionization, or “electrolysis”, that gives the water a certain pH, but rarely possesses the minerals found in naturally alkaline waters.
At the end of the day, more research needs to be done on high pH waters. The health benefits are uncertain as there is very little research to prove that a high pH can have any effect on our bodies — our stomachs need to be acidic to digest food and our bodies have powerful mechanisms to balance our internal pH, whether it’s in the blood, digestive tract, or internal organs. What we do know is that healthful minerals found in naturally alkaline waters, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, are bioavailable in water and have many FDA-approved health benefits.
Remember, I’m not a dietician or doctor, nor am I offering any medical advice. There’s just a lot of conflicting information floating around out there and this topic will only be settled once conclusive studies have been published. But as Dr. Mercola says in one of his publications on alkaline water, the value of alkaline water has much more to do than pH alone. And that’s really the difference between artificial and naturally alkaline water.
Wellness Patterns: How is the water sourced?
Ryan Emmons: 2,400 miles from the nearest industrial landmass and surrounded by 10 million square miles of ocean, Waiākea is completely isolated from the rest of the world, originating in Hawai’i through both snowmelt and rain on the pristine snowcapped peak of the active Mauna Loa volcano, one of the purest environments on Earth. Waiākea is then filtered through thousands of feet of porous lava rock before re-emerging at its source, a deep volcanic well, located at the eastern base of the Mauna Loa volcano in a secluded area surrounded by rich and bio-diverse forest preserves.
Wellness Patterns: What differences will a consumer notice in drinking your water?
Ryan Emmons: Waiakea has a smooth mouthfeel and a very subtle hit of sweet (that’s from the silica!).
Wellness Patterns: What are some of your plans for the future?
Ryan Emmons: As a company, we’re always evolving. Some of the most exciting endeavors on the docket
involve furthering our commitment to sustainability and ethics.
For example, in the next year, Waiakea will be the first premium-bottled water to biodegrade in anaerobic and aerobic environments—yes, that means that all our bottles will be biodegradable, even in landfill or ocean environments.
Additionally, we’re expanding charitable partnerships beyond our long-standing relationship with Pump Aid, to include local nonprofits on the Big Island, and more specifically Hilo.
Furthermore, Waiakea is expanding their partnerships with local nonprofits in conservation and education on the Big Island, and will be making some pretty significant announcements of our new community programs.