Join Date: 12/20/2007
Posts Contributed: 1376
Total Likes: 5
Recommends Recd: 1
Ignores Issued: 0
Certs & Awards: 0
Likes Recd: 1
Posted: 8/25/2010 2:49:12 PM
Recipe for Magnesium/Bicarbonate Water
Natural mineral waters with high concentrations of magnesium and bicarbonate ions have long
been prized for their health promoting qualities. The famous Apollinaris water contains 104 mg/L
of magnesium, but unfortunately is also fairly high in sodium and calcium. Mendocino water
contains 130 mg/L of magnesium, but again has fairly high calcium and sodium levels.
A more ideal water is Noah’s spring water bottled from the Adobe Springs in California. Noah’s California
Spring Water contains 110 mg/L of magnesium, but only 3 mg/L of calcium and 5 mg/L of
sodium. It also contains 529 mg/L of bicarbonate ions and has a pH of 8.3.
Magnesium-rich mineral waters are easily absorbed and have many health benefits due not only
to their magnesium content, but also because of their content of bicarbonate ions that help
neutralize the carbonic acid formed in the body during metabolic processes. Several studies
have shown that an increased intake of bicarbonate may help prevent muscle wasting and bone
A manufactured magnesium/bicarbonate water, “Unique Water”, has recently been developed in
Australia. It contains 120 mg of magnesium and 650 mg of bicarbonate per liter and has a pH of
8.3. Erling Waller, a former afibber, and Jackie Burgess, both frequent contributors to the Bulletin
Board, collaborated to develop a recipe for homemade magnesium/bicarbonate water that, in its
composition, is very close to both Noah’s California Spring Water and Unique Water. The recipe
is based on the reaction of magnesium hydroxide (in milk of magnesia) with plain carbonated
water according to the formula Mg(OH)2 + 2CO2 ---> Mg(HCO3)2.
Plain Milk of Magnesia (MoM) should be used in the recipe. The “active” ingredient should only
be magnesium hydroxide [Mg (OH)2], 400 mg per teaspoon (5 ml), and the “inactive” ingredient
should only be purified water. 41.7% by weight of magnesium hydroxide is magnesium (Mg), so 5
ml of MoM has 167 mg of Mg, and 1 tablespoon has 500 mg of Mg (1 tablespoon = 15 ml).
To prepare the water follow these steps:
1. Chill completely to refrigerator temperature a 1-liter bottle of fully carbonated water.
Carbonated waters such as Canada Dry Seltzer, which consist of only water and carbon
dioxide (CO2), are suitable. Club sodas such as Schweppes Club Soda are also suitable;
they are carbonated water with a small amount of added sodium.
2. Shake well the bottle of MoM, then measure out as accurately as possible 3 tablespoons
(45 ml) and have it ready. The plastic measuring cup that comes with the MoM is
accurate and ideal for the purpose.
3. Remove the bottle of carbonated water from the refrigerator without agitating it. Open it
slowly and carefully to minimize the loss of CO2. As soon as the initial fizzing settles
down, slowly add the pre-measured MoM. Promptly replace the cap on the water bottle
and shake it vigorously for 30 seconds or so, making the liquid cloudy. After 1⁄2 hour or so
the liquid will have cleared, and any un-dissolved magnesium hydroxide will have settled
to the bottom of the bottle. Again shake the bottle vigorously for 30 seconds or so,
making the liquid cloudy again. When the liquid again clears all of the magnesium
hydroxide in the MoM should have reacted with all of the CO2 to become dissolved
(ionized) magnesium and bicarbonate. However, if a small amount of un-dissolved
magnesium hydroxide still remains in the bottom of the bottle as a sediment it may be
ignored. This 1 liter of concentrated magnesium bicarbonate water will have
approximately 1500 mg of magnesium and approximately 7500 mg of bicarbonate. It
should be kept in the refrigerator. You may note that the sides of the bottle “cave in”
when the liquid clears. This is a sign that the reaction is complete.
4. To make 4 liters of magnesium bicarbonate drinking water with approximately 125 mg of
magnesium and approximately 625 mg of bicarbonate per liter and a pH of
approximately 8+ measure and transfer 1/3 liter of the concentrate (333 ml) into a 4-liter
container. Fill the container with 3 2/3 liters of plain or purified water, as desired.
Magnesium dissolved in water (ionized) is considerably more bioavailable than is magnesium in
solid tablets or capsules. About 50% of the magnesium contained in magnesium/bicarbonate
water is absorbed[4,5]. This is 12 times better than the absorption rate for magnesium oxide. So
drinking 1 liter of magnesium/bicarbonate water per day would correspond to taking five 500 mg
magnesium oxide tablets daily.
The alkaline magnesium/bicarbonate water should be consumed throughout the day. It can be
consumed with a meal, but not in such quantities that it results in dilution of stomach acid.
Anyone not in the habit of drinking water should begin by consuming small daily amounts, and
should take at least a month to reach a consumption of 1 to 2 liters per day.
A survey of afibbers who have tried the magnesium/bicarbonate water concluded that 7 out of 12
found it beneficial. The effect on episode frequency was inconsistent with four participants
experiencing fewer episodes, six experiencing more episodes and two observing no change.
Similarly with episode duration. Five participants experienced a shortening, five a lengthening
and two saw no change in episode duration. It would seem that that the effect of the water on
episode severity is highly variable and that each individual afibber need to determine whether it
works for him or her through individual experimentation.
A majority (73%) of trial participants reported that the intensity (forcefulness of palpitations) of
their episodes was less after starting on the magnesium/bicarbonate water. The remaining 27%
reported no change. This finding suggests that magnesium or bicarbonate somehow helps make
the palpitations less noticeable. It is worth noting that the two respondents who had not noticed
any change in intensity had quite a low daily magnesium intake (114 mg and 250 mg/day
respectively). It is possible that magnesium may reduce episode intensity through its action as a
natural calcium channel blocker[6,7,8]. This action would reduce heart rate and might result in a
feeling of lower intensity.
Eight out of 14 respondents reported other benefits from consuming the water such as a higher
daily fluid intake, less heartburn, disappearance of night time leg cramps and fewer ectopic
(premature) beats. Only 4 out of 12 reported side effects with loose stools being experienced by
3 participants who were drinking the water with a higher than recommended magnesium
Thus it would seem that, while the magnesium/bicarbonate water is beneficial for some afibbers,
especially in regard to episode intensity, there are afibbers who do not experience benefits from
consuming it. In other words, like pharmaceutical drugs and supplements, the water may not be
an overall panacea, but may be beneficial to some afibbers.
The magnesium/bicarbonate water made according to the recipe has a pH of about 8.5. Normal
tap water has a pH around 7. The pH of blood is very tightly controlled between 7.38 and 7.44.
Both higher and lower pH values in the blood (alkalemia and academia) can result in arrhythmias.
It is also known that metabolic alkalosis can result in hypokalemia (potassium deficiency) which
in turn, can cause atrial fibrillation. So all in all, drinking water with a pH of 8.5 may not be
beneficial to all. Whether or not it is could well depend on the individual’s diet and metabolism.
I have personally found the magnesium/bicarbonate water more agreeable if I neutralize it to a
pH of about 7.2. I do this by adding 10-11 drops of a concentrated citric acid solution to 1 liter of
the “ready-to-drink” magnesium/bicarbonate water (NOT to the concentrate). I make the citric
acid solution by dissolving 4 teaspoons (20 gram) of anhydrous citric acid (available from a
pharmacy) in 100 ml of ordinary (preferably filtered or distilled) water. A similar, but less precise
result may be obtained by squeezing half a lemon into the water before drinking it
Please also note that patients with kidney failure should not drink this water or consume any
other kind of magnesium supplements without the express agreement of their physician.
Please note that the maker and consumer of this water assume full responsibility for
understanding and complying with the above instructions and recommendations. The
information and instructions do not constitute a recommendation to consume this water, and
no claims of health benefits from consuming this water are made.
For more detailed information on manufactured magnesium/bicarbonate water please visit the
“Unique Water” web site at http://www.nonpharmaceutical.com.
Frassetto, L., et al. Potassium bicarbonate reduces urinary nitrogen excretion in postmenopausal
women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Vol. 82, No. 1, 1997, pp. 254-59
Frassetto, Lynda A., et al. Estimation of net endogenous noncarbonic acid production in human
from diet potassium and protein contents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 68, 1998,
Sebastian, A., et al. Improved mineral balance and skeletal metabolism in postmenopausal
women treated with potassium bicarbonate. New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 330, June 23,
1994, pp. 1776-81
Sabatier, M., et al. Meal effect on magnesium bioavailability from mineral water in healthy women.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 75, January 2002, pp. 65-71
Verhas, M., et al. Magnesium bioavailability from mineral water: a study in adult men. European
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 56, May 2002, pp. 442-47
Yamaoka, K, et al. Temperature-sensitive intracellular Mg2+ block of L-type Ca2+ channels in
cardiac myocytes. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, Vol. 282, No. 3, March 2002, pp. H1092-101
Gourgoulianis, Kl, et al. Magnesium dynamics and relation to left ventricular function in acute
myocardial infarction. Japn Circ J, Vol. 64, No. 5, May 2000, pp. 377-81
THE AFIB REPORT is published 10 times a year by:
Hans R. Larsen MSc ChE, 1320 Point Street, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8S 1A5
E-mail: email@example.com World Wide Web: http://www.afibbers.org
Copyright 2009 by Hans R. Larsen
THE AFIB REPORT does not provide medical advice. Do not attempt self-diagnosis or self-medication
based on our reports. Please consult your healthcare provider if you are interested in following up on
the information presented.