AQUA OH! Your Muscles’ Best Friend During Exercise

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By Dr. Keith Kantor

Hydrogen Proton Accumulation Causes Acidosis

For over a century lactic acid was believed to be the cause of exercise induced acidosis, along with the fatigue and inflammation that accompanies it. But recent studies have shown this is not the case (Robergs 2001, 2004). It has been determined that accumulation of the hydrogen proton is the cause, not lactic acid.

The problem comes from a misinterpretation of the evidence. Lactic acid is made up of one hydrogen proton (hydrogen for short) and one lactate ion (lactate for short). In the body lactic acid dissociates into its constituent parts – hydrogen and lactate. Dissociates is a fancy term for breaks apart. Seeing that lactate and hydrogen both increased in the muscle cell as exertion increased, it was assumed that lactic acid was therefore responsible for acidosis. The term lactic acidosis was coined.

This, however, was an incorrect reading of what was actually taking place. The hydrogen that was accumulating was caused by ATP (adenosine triphosphate) hydrolysis, not lactic acid dissociation. ATP hydrolysis is the way the body provides energy to the muscles during exertion. As demand for energy grows, more ATP hydrolysis takes place and therefore more hydrogen is generated. Lactate’s presence serves as a buffer so the cell can keep operating even as hydrogen accumulates. Eventually the need for energy overcomes the cell’s buffering systems and hydrogen accumulates with no buffering leading to acidosis.

Since lactate increased to try to buffer the increasing hydrogen, it was assumed more lactic acid was being formed and dissociating. This completely missed the role of energy generation as the true cause of the hydrogen increase. Lactate’s buffering role was also misinterpreted.

Since lactate has no causative role in exercise induced acidosis, the term lactic acidosis is misleading. A more precise term for what happens during the exertion of exercise would be metabolic acidosis. Metabolic acidosis leads to fatigue and inflammation because of the buildup of hydrogen protons, not because of the buildup of lactate.

Hydrogen – the Gregarious Proton

Although we have been discussing the hydrogen proton as if it exists by itself, it does not. A hydrogen proton that dissociates or deprotonates immediately seeks out another atom, ion, or molecule with which to attach itself. Hydrogen does not like to be alone. Under normal circumstances the most available molecule is water and the gregarious hydrogen proton (H+) attaches to the water molecule (H2O) to form hydronium (H+ + H2O = H3O+). Hydronium is the most acidic molecule in the body and the true cause of metabolic acidosis.

In reality what hydrogen really wants is to return to its natural state as a water molecule and become balanced once again. This is because water is one of the most unique molecules in nature. First, hydrogen, and by extension water, is governed by the hydrogen bond. This bond makes the attraction between the constituent parts of water very strong. It is one of the forces causing hydronium to form and hydrogen to return to water if possible.

Second, it has an amphiprotic nature, which means it can act as an acid or a base depending on what the local conditions call for. This is why the water molecule accepts the hydrogen proton. It acts as a base to accept the proton but becomes an acid when the proton attaches. But it will easily give the proton up to return to a neutral water molecule if given the opportunity. This is the power of water; it can transform itself to suit its environment and always seeks to maintain an equilibrium between the positive and the negative.

Hydroxide – Nature’s Counterbalance

When a water molecule dissociates through a process called self-ionization, it becomes a hydrogen proton (H+) and a hydroxide ion (OH). This is rare in bulk water but it does happen in metabolic processes all the time. An example would be ATP hydrolysis where a water molecule reacts with ATP and the hydroxide remains in the new molecule ADP (adenosine diphosphate) while the hydrogen proton and a phosphate ion are cast aside. This is the source of the hydrogen proton discussed above that leads to metabolic acidosis.

The hydroxide ion is negative and the hydrogen proton is positive so there is an immediate electro-chemical attraction. When the hydroxide ion and the hydrogen proton meet they immediately bond to once again form a water molecule. The basic but inexact equation looks like this: H+ + OH = H2O. The more accurate equation is where hydronium combines with hydroxide to form two water molecules: H3O+ + OH = H2O + H2O. When hydroxide binds with hydrogen (hydronium) to form a water molecule(s) it renders the hydrogen harmless.

Since hydroxide can render hydrogen harmless, it would follow that introducing hydroxide into the body should help with metabolic acidosis. The question is where do you find hydroxide?

Hydroxide – the Source Matters

It may surprise you to learn that many alkaline waters contain hydroxide. Not all of them do but many do. So how do you tell? If an alkaline water claims to have negative ions or to have gone through ionization then it has hydroxide. Most alkaline waters like to claim some sort of proprietary ionization process but they all do basically the same thing.

Ionization is a process by which hydroxide is taken from a water molecule and bound to a mineral like sodium, potassium, calcium, or magnesium among others. The hydrogen proton that is removed from the water molecule is discarded and the result is sodium hydroxide (NaOH), potassium hydroxide (KOH), calcium hydroxide {Ca(OH)2}, etc. These are the negative ions most alkaline waters possess.

To Buffer or not to Buffer that is the Question

Although most alkaline waters contain hydroxide and many even make it an important selling point, most are far more focused on the addition of either minerals, trace minerals or electrolytes. This is the basis of their alkalinity. The negative ions (hydroxide) are only secondary but it is the negative ions that should be primary. Let me explain.

Acidity by chemical definition is the presence of too much hydrogen as noted above in the discussion of metabolic acidosis. Alkalinity is a quantitative measurement of the ability of a water to neutralize acid (hydrogen). One would think this means the acid is no longer able to function but that is not the case in chemistry. Neutralization just means adding enough of a base to compensate for the acid but both still remain in the solution or water. This is called buffering.

The body has many different buffering systems to keep its pH stable. Alkaline waters attempt to supplement this with their alkaline minerals but in the end the acid is still present and able to act.

Hydroxide, on the other hand, does not chiefly act as a buffer. It eliminates acid by transforming it back into water as noted above. This is what makes hydroxide completely different from any other alkaline substance – it has the ability to eliminate acid, thus removing the need for buffering.

A Different Approach – Hydroxide Rich Water

AQUA OH! is a hydroxide rich water. By harnessing the power of nature we have achieved a natural hydroxide not found in other alkaline waters. Within the interplay between limestone and water, nature has provided the tools the body needs to NATURALLY fight acidity. Over millions of years water forms limestone through the process of sedimentation. With the addition of heat and then water, limestone can be transformed into a hydroxide rich compound called calcium hydroxide. Further hydration causes natural ionization and the hydroxide is freed from the calcium. Most of the calcium is then removed and the hydroxide remains suspended in the AQUA OH! concentrate. Natural ionization is more stable and longer lasting than artificially generated ionization like is found in most alkaline waters.

AQUA OH! provides far more free hydroxide ions than any other alkaline water can. Most alkaline waters add many different minerals before they undergo ionization. This then creates many different mineral hydroxides each with a different dissociation rate. As explained earlier,

dissociation is just a fancy way to say break apart. For example, sodium hydroxide becomes a sodium ion and a hydroxide ion in water. Some hydroxides readily dissociate creating free hydroxide ions while others do not. It is free hydroxide ions that matter. But even these free hydroxide ions still have their mineral counterparts present so they are not completely free.

AQUA OH!, on the other hand, only uses calcium hydroxide as its main source of hydroxide. This provides two main benefits. First, calcium hydroxide is divalent meaning it has two hydroxide ions for everyone one calcium ion. This means AQUA OH! starts out with twice as many hydroxide ions. Second, when alone calcium hydroxide is relatively soluble in water. This means it breaks down into its constituent ions easily.

But the difference in the source of hydroxide is not the only reason AQUA OH! provides more free ions than alkaline waters can. As stated, AQUA OH! starts out with twice as many hydroxide ions and then it naturally removes much of the calcium. This further concentrates the ions and eliminates the problem of leftover minerals when the hydroxide combines with hydrogen to eliminate acid. By the time the process is through AQUA OH!’s hydroxide to mineral ratio is far greater than 2 to 1 and far exceeds any alkaline water on the market.

AQUA OH! – The Difference is Clear

  • The natural ionization AQUA OH! employs is more stable and longer lasting than the artificially generated ionization alkaline waters use.
  • AQUA OH! removes minerals instead of adding them.
  • AQUA OH! eliminates acid by transforming it back into water instead of merely buffering the acid with alkaline minerals.
  • Because water is the result of AQUA OH!’s interaction with acid, there are no by-products that the body needs to deal with.
  • AQUA OH! provides far more free hydroxide ions than any other alkaline water can or does.
  • AQUA OH! is more cost effective because it is a concentrate – 1 quart will make 32 quarts of drinkable AQUA OH!.


Hydrogen buildup is the source of metabolic acidosis in the muscles during exercise. Hydroxide is a natural acid eliminator and not just an alkaline buffer. The greatest benefit is that the process of elimination only creates harmless water and no by-product if it is pure hydroxide. Buffering fails to alter the underlying problem of the presence of acidity. Therefore hydroxide is superior to alkaline minerals alone.

By concentrating on maximizing the free hydroxide ions present and removing as much of the minerals as possible, AQUA OH! stands by itself in its ability to eliminate acid and thereby combat the metabolic acidosis brought on by exercise.


Robergs RA, 2001. Exercise-Induced Metabolic Acidosis: Where do the Protons come from? Sportscience 5 (2),

Robergs RA, Ghiasvand F, and Parker D. Biochemistry of exercise-induced metabolic acidosis. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 287: R502R516, 2004.

Marx, D.; Chandra, A; Tuckerman, M.E. (2010). “Aqueous Basic Solutions: Hydroxide Solvation, Structural Diffusion, and Comparison to the Hydrated Proton”. Chem. Rev. 110 (4): 2174–2216.