Are there any proven benefits of drinking alkaline water? What is alkaline water? What is the best source of alkaline water?
From a very young age, we have heard that drinking eight glasses of water every day is essential for maintaining optimum health. Water does more than just quench thirst- it helps with numerous internal functions of the body. Staying hydrated is essential for improving productivity, metabolism and mood. It is just as important to be hydrated while you are lazing on the couch as it is when you are doing a crunch exercise.
Now, what if we told you that there is a special kind of water which performs all these functions and additionally, helps you improve bone health, reduce heart problems, and help with digestive issues? It does sound too good to be true, but with alkaline water, or alkaline ionized water, you can potentially achieve all these and more.
Or is it all just a myth without scientific evidence? In this article we cover the potential benefits of drinking alkaline water including sources. We also dig into the uncertainty of these claims and research.
What Is Alkaline Water?
Normal water has a pH of 7, which means it is neither acidic nor alkaline in nature. Water below pH 7 is more acidic or corrosive, while alkaline water has a pH above 7. Acidic water is extremely harmful to health because it has corrosive properties. Alkaline water, however, has several proven health benefits which makes it superior to normal bottled drinking water.
Usually, alkaline water has a pH between 8-9. This makes it more alkaline in nature than regular tap water or bottled drinking water. The term alkaline water has become a buzzword as of late due to the hype generated for its health benefits. While there is a lot of misinformation going around, indeed, alkaline water is certainly more beneficial for health than regular bottled drinking water. Numerous studies have been done on alkaline water and its effects which have conclusively proven its efficacy in treating certain health conditions.
However, it is important to reiterate here that alkaline water by itself cannot cure any disease or health condition. It can act as a booster to reduce the severity of the condition if consumed regularly.
How Is Alkaline Water Produced?
Alkaline water is found in nature sometimes when water that passes through rocks gathers minerals and becomes more alkaline. This is mostly seen in mountainous areas where freshwater springs have a higher pH of water in comparison to bottled or tap water.
Alkaline-reduced water can also be generated from certain minerals (such as calcium and magnesium) which have a higher hydrogen saturation. PitcherPro by Tapp Water uses this method to increase the alkalinity and mineral content of your drinking water.
A more advanced method is of producing alkaline water is the process of electrolysis where the acidic and alkaline components of water are separated. This is the rationale behind alkaline water purifiers, which separate an incoming stream of tap water into acidic and alkaline water. Alkaline water is then passed through an outlet and is used for consumption and/or cooking purposes. Meanwhile, the leftover acidic water is unfit for consumption but can be used for cleaning purposes.
In these ways, alkaline water can act as a major environmental beneficiary since it reduces the reliance on bottled drinking water. Moreover, alkaline water purifiers can reduce the reliance on traditional water filtration systems and be a more cost-effective solution in the long run.
What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Alkaline Water?
Coming to the crux of our discussion, it is important to look at the various benefits of drinking alkaline water. As mentioned, there is a lot of misguided information available on its benefits, because there is still a lot of ongoing research on the benefits of drinking alkaline water.
Acidic properties in the body caused by the accumulation of free radicals can be very destructive to health. Drinking alkaline water can neutralize these and result in better health. With this in mind, let us look at some of the proven benefits of drinking alkaline water.
It helps in reducing heart-related problems
You must be wondering how can water help in reducing problems such as high blood pressure, high blood glucose, and high cholesterol. In numerous studies, it was found that oral administration of alkaline water led to a gradual decrease in blood glucose concentration, along with lowering triglycerides and cholesterol. It helped in improving metabolic functioning in mice who suffered from metabolic disorders and also helped in improving pancreatic health by combating oxidative damage.
A healthy lifestyle and regular consumption of alkaline water can thus help in reducing heart-related issues such as hypertension, hyperglycemia and high cholesterol.
Drinking alkaline water may aid in weight loss
A study on obese mice found that by regulating cholesterol homeostasis, alkaline water disrupted the rate of weight gain. Moreover, we have already learned that alkaline water helps in faster metabolic activity. This coupled together can be a good way to combat weight gain and obesity. (Source: NIH, see link above)
Can help with renal issues
Patients with end-stage renal dysfunction were administered alkaline drinking water and it was noticed that alkaline water was successful in reducing the side effects of hemodialysis. One of the side effects is the generation of excessive free radicals.
However, patients with kidney problems are always advised to speak with their doctor regarding their water consumption before making any changes to their routine. (Source: NIH, see link above)
Alkaline water improves bone health
One of the most fascinating benefits of alkaline water is the effect it has on bone density. Alkaline water rich in bicarbonate has a positive impact on bone resorption, which is the process through which old bone cells are broken down to be replaced by new ones. This leads to improved bone density, which can help in improving bone strength, particularly in older people or people afflicted with conditions such as arthritis. (Source: NIH, see link above)
Helps reduce acid reflux
Acid reflux refers to the condition where the acidic contents of the stomach travel up the food pipe. Excessive acid reflux can lead to digestive disorders such as GERD. Research has shown that drinking water with a ph of 8.8 to 9 can help in breaking down pepsin, which is the main enzyme associated with acid reflux. Moreover, the alkaline nature of the water can help combat excess stomach acid, which also helps in preventing acid reflux.
While more research is needed to determine if alkaline water can be a powerful tool against digestive disorders, it has been proven that it can certainly combat acid reflux. (Source: NIH, see link above)
Consuming Alkaline Water can reduce skin problems
Studies have shown that mice that were bathed with alkaline water showed improved results against UV damage on the skin, as compared to mice that were bathed in regular water. Drinking alkaline water can also help treat problems such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. There is certainly no downside to drinking alkaline water for reducing skin problems. (Source: NIH, see link above)
Myths regarding Benefits of Drinking Alkaline Water
There are several myths surrounding the consumption of alkaline water, which is water with a pH level higher than 7, making it less acidic than regular tap water. It is important to note that scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited or non-existent. Some of the most common myths include:
- Balances body pH: Proponents of alkaline water claim it can help balance the body's pH levels. However, the body has its own mechanisms to maintain a stable pH, and the food and drink we consume have minimal impact on it.
- Boosts energy levels: Some believe that alkaline water can increase energy levels due to a higher pH. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
- Prevents or cures cancer: There is a myth that cancer cells cannot survive in an alkaline environment, and therefore, alkaline water can prevent or treat cancer. However, no credible scientific research supports this claim.
- Aids in weight loss: It is said that alkaline water can help with weight loss by increasing metabolism and reducing the body's acidity. There is no substantial evidence to validate this claim.
- Slows down aging: Some proponents claim that alkaline water contains antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, thereby slowing down the aging process. However, there is no solid evidence to support this theory.
- Improves bone health: It is believed that alkaline water can help prevent osteoporosis and improve bone health by neutralizing acid in the body. However, research on this topic is inconclusive.
- Enhances hydration: Some claim that alkaline water hydrates the body better than regular water. There is insufficient evidence to support this claim, and regular water is generally sufficient for hydration.
It is important to approach these claims with skepticism and rely on scientific evidence for guidance. Drinking alkaline water is generally safe, but it may not provide the significant health benefits that some proponents claim. Regular water remains an essential and effective way to stay hydrated and maintain overall health.
Conclusion about drinking alkaline water
There are potentially benefits of drinking alkaline water but the scientific evidence is still inconclusive. If you feel better from drinking alkaline water then keep doing so but be careful with the claims in health magazines, social media and other sources of information.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, numerous studies have suggested a relationship between drinking alkaline water and a reduction in conditions such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, dry eyes and ovarian cysts. Alkaline water has also been linked with improved hair growth, enhanced hydration and better longevity. More research is needed to uncover the exact relationship between alkaline water and these conditions, but by the looks of it, we will certainly know more within the next few years.
One of the proven benefits is better taste. Based on the Telegraph water filter jug test, PitcherPro is nr 1 in taste thanks to the alkaline water among other things. PitcherPro has also been recommended by the BBC's food team.