At your local grocery store or health food store, you may have seen bottles of alkaline water for sale, and wondered to yourself, Are there really any health benefits of drinking alkaline water, or is this just another marketing ploy? After all, it tastes exactly the same as regular water, and it looks the same, too. So how is alkaline water different from regular water, what are the health benefits of drinking it, and what exactly is alkaline water?
What Exactly is Alkaline Water?
The word “alkaline” refers to the water’s pH level. On a scale of 0 to 14, water or another beverage’s pH level is measured on a scale from acidic to alkaline. This means that something with a pH of 1 would be very acidic, but as you get closer to 14 (such as a pH of 13) the liquid you’re drinking becomes very alkaline.
To be considered alkaline, the water you’re drinking would have to have a pH of at least 8 or 9. As mentioned, the lower numbers on the pH scale are more acidic, while the higher numbers are more alkaline, and a pH of 7 (which is the pH level of most regular water you’re drinking) is considered neutral or basic.
When you see fancy bottles of water being sold at the store labeled as ‘alkaline water’, you may be wondering what they’re trying to sell you. Alkaline water has a slightly higher pH level than regular water, which means it can potentially neutralize acid in your body – or can it? As we’ll discuss in this article, your stomach is really the only area of your body that alkaline water can potentially neutralize acid in.
It should be noted that authentic alkaline water also contains alkaline minerals and negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP). The more negative the ORP value of the water is, the more antioxidizing it is.
Alkaline water contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, and to raise its pH level, sodium bicarbonate.
Are There Really Any Significant Health Benefits of Drinking Alkaline Water?
It has long been believed that a more acidic body can cause various health problems, from bone health problems such as osteoporosis, to cancer and disease.
This is why people think that drinking alkaline water can improve their health, but unfortunately, not enough scientific research can back up these bold health claims about alkaline water.
Even if you do switch to alkaline water, it’s highly unlikely this change will be enough to significantly increase your blood pH level, or significantly neutralize acid in your body.
However, by changing what you eat or drink, you actually can neutralize the acid in one particular part of your body: your stomach. That’s why drinking alkaline water could genuinely help people who struggle with acid reflux, as alkaline water has the potential to neutralize acid in the stomach.
Drinking Alkaline Water Can Prevent Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is most commonly recognized as that uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest (heartburn) or chest pain. Acid reflux occurs when acidity in the stomach activates a digestive enzyme called pepsin. If there’s too much pepsin in your body, it can bind to tissues and cause those uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms such as burping, chest pains, and heartburn.
Studies have indicated that drinking alkaline water can help reduce or prevent acid reflux. This is one of the few health benefits of alkaline water that actually does have some scientific research behind it.
Drinking alkaline water could help with acid reflux, as it could help deactivate pepsin, but many people have noticed other health benefits of alkaline water as well. It contains more electrolytes than regular water, and is therefore considered to be more hydrating and replenishing than regular water. It also contains more minerals than regular water. However, most health experts agree that alkaline water doesn’t contain enough minerals to make any significant improvements to your health.
Improved Blood Flow
There is some scientific research that has found the ability of alkaline water to improve blood flow, but there’s not very much research to back up this claim quite yet. Healthy blood flow is important because this helps deliver healthy amounts of oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body, improving overall function. If you have poor blood circulation, you should talk to your doctor about improving this, and consider many other solutions aside from alkaline water.
Better Hydration Benefits?
Of course alkaline water is hydrating, because it’s water, but this type of water is not necessarily more hydrating than drinking regular water. Although alkaline water does contain more electrolytes than regular water, it’s not significant enough to noticeably hydrate you more than regular water hydrates you.
Something like coconut water, on the other hand, does contain enough electrolytes to be noticeably more replenishing if you’re looking to replenish electrolytes.
When it comes to hydration, plain water is just as hydrating, and most doctors wouldn’t claim that other types of water are more hydrating than a regular glass of water.
Other Potential Health Benefits of Alkaline Water
Some people have claimed that drinking alkaline water improved their body odor, but this isn’t something that is scientifically backed, because sufficient research has not been done on this. It’s safe to drink alkaline water, so if you genuinely find that it improves your body odor, feel free to keep drinking it.
Because alkaline water contains antioxidants (which fight free radicals in the body), some people believe that alkaline water can help prevent cancer and disease.
However, you might be better off simply eating some of these foods high in antioxidants instead of switching to alkaline water.
Where Can You Get Alkaline Water?
Natural alkaline water can be found in nature where spring water flows over rocks and picks up minerals from the rocks, which increases its alkaline level.
You can also buy alkaline water that’s been through a chemical process called electrolysis, and an ionizer has been used to raise the pH of regular water.
These bottles of alkaline water are typically found at most grocery stores, especially the fancy grocery stores or health food stores.
Alkaline Water: The Bottom Line
Although many vloggers love to talk about all of the supposed health benefits of drinking alkaline water, there is not enough scientific research to prove these benefits or back up these claims. It’s possible that you will experience some of these health benefits if you start drinking alkaline water, but it’s certainly not a guarantee or even that likely.
There are indisputably many benefits of drinking plenty of water, but the key point here is that it does not have to be alkaline water. Your body has other ways of keeping your pH levels in balance. If you believe alkaline water will significantly improve your health or appearance, you’re likely falling for marketing schemes, rather than scientifically backed evidence.
However, since drinking alkaline water is safe, there’s no harm in trying it if you really want to. Many people have claimed to have noticed some of the health benefits of alkaline water listed in this article. Since alkaline water is not very expensive, and it’s safe to drink, there’s no reason why you couldn’t try it out. It’s certainly more expensive than regular water (unless you find a natural spring) but try it out if you feel so inclined.
If you’re curious about whether or not you should be making changes to your diet, you might be interested to learn that your DNA can tell you a lot about what you should be eating. You can read your genetic diet and nutrition reports from CircleDNA after taking the at-home DNA test.