If you’re following all the new trends in the healthy lifestyle department, then you’ve definitely heard of alkaline water. This type of water is meant to reduce the acidity in your body and lead to better health and overall well-being.
But how much truth is there to it? Is alkaline water truly better for you than regular water? Are there any risks to drinking it regularly?
In general, alkaline water has several scientifically proven health benefits, but there are also some downsides to this type of water. While it does help lower your body’s acidity, it can also dilute your stomach acids too much, leading to indigestion and digestive system issues. It’s also lower in nutrients than mineral water since it undergoes the process of alkalization, which increases its pH level.
But let’s take a deeper look at what exactly is alkaline water.
Table of Contents
What is alkaline water?
Alkaline water is a type of water with a higher pH level than regular drinking water. In fact, alkaline water has a pH level of around 8 or 9.
But, as you may know, the pH level alone doesn’t ensure that a food or drink has alkaline-forming properties. Because of that, alkaline water also contains various minerals that make it alkaline and give it antioxidant properties.
Depending on whether the alkaline water you drink is natural or artificial, it’s made differently. Natural alkaline water picks up essential minerals in nature, while artificial alkaline water undergoes a special process that adds alkalizing minerals and increases its pH level.
Generally, store-bought alkaline water is artificially made, and it’s much harder to come across natural alkaline water.
Pros of alkaline water
Experts haven’t verified most of the claims made by the manufacturers of alkaline water, but it does have some health benefits. For example, drinking alkaline water has been linked to lower blood pressure, decreased risk of diabetes, and lower cholesterol levels.
Alkaline water may also help with these issues if you suffer from them by decreasing their severity and balancing your body’s pH levels.
Another study has found that drinking naturally carbonated alkaline water may help deactivate pepsin, which is the main enzyme that causes acid reflux. This may benefit people who suffer from GERD and acid reflux and experience severe and frequent symptoms.
Drinking alkaline water also helps dilute stomach acid, which prevents it from refluxing up your esophagus and causing heartburn and other issues. Because of that, alkaline water may aid in your fight against acid reflux.
Drinking alkaline water may also help reduce blood viscosity, which means that your blood will flow more efficiently. This, in turn, can increase oxygen transportation throughout the body, which helps you be more oxygenated. It also contributes to better cognitive health and improves memory while lowering the risk of early-onset dementia and other cognitive problems.
|Pros of Alkaline Water|
|-lowers blood pressure|
|-helps dilute stomach acid|
|-reduces blood viscosity (blood flows more efficiently|
|-contributes to better cognitive health|
Cons of alkaline water
Even though alkaline water is rather safe, it may have negative effects if you drink it too frequently and in large quantities. First of all, drinking too much alkaline water can lower the natural acidity of your stomach.
This is dangerous since gastric acid helps digest food, kills harmful bacteria, and prevents bacteria from entering your bloodstream. If the acid isn’t doing its job because it’s been alkalized, it can negatively affect your health.
What’s more, too much alkalinity in your body can lead to gastrointestinal issues and even skin irritation. Your body requires a stable pH level, which is often around 7.35-7.45, and even the slightest variations can lead to health problems, such as nausea, vomiting, muscle twitching, and confusion. A pH level that’s too high can also impact how much calcium your body absorbs, which may decrease bone density.
Since alkaline water goes through a process during which alkaline minerals are added, it also means it’s lower in other minerals. As a result, drinking too much alkaline water can leave you deficient in these nutrients, which are essential for good health and can even improve your acid reflux and GERD.
Generally, if you follow a balanced diet high in fresh food products, it’s best to stick to natural tap or mineral water as it provides the most health benefits.
|Cons of Alkaline Water|
|-drinking too much of it can lower the stomach's natural acidity|
|-lower in minerals than natural water|
|-possible skin irritation (too much alkalinity)|
Should you drink alkaline water?
Generally, drinking alkaline water is considered safe as long as you don’t make it your only source of hydration. The problem that experts and health professionals have with alkaline water isn’t how safe it is but the claims that manufacturers make.
For example, alkaline water is often advertised with health benefits, such as cancer resistance, weight loss, immune system support, and anti-aging properties. These benefits haven’t been proven, so drinking alkaline water for these reasons may not bring the results you’re hoping for.
It’s also important to know that there’s a big difference between natural and artificial alkaline water. Natural alkaline water occurs when water passes over rock, such as springs, and picks up minerals with alkaline-forming properties. This type of water is the healthiest and provides more benefits than artificial alkaline water.
Unfortunately, most people buy artificially-made alkaline water, which isn’t as healthy as it has undergone a chemical process called electrolysis.
If you want to drink water with alkaline properties, it’s best to make it yourself with fruit. For example, adding lemon or lime to tap or mineral water makes your water alkaline as these fruits, although sour, are alkaline-forming. It also adds flavor to your water, which makes staying hydrated more enjoyable.
On top of that, lemon and lime are rich in various minerals and vitamins that contribute to good health, so it’s a good idea to include them in your diet.
Alkaline water has some health benefits, but it’s also best not to drink it regularly. Doing so can neutralize your stomach acid and lead to various digestive system issues.
It’s also not a good idea to increase your body’s natural pH level too much as it can cause hormonal imbalance. Because of that, you should only drink alkaline water from time to time and in small quantities.
>Measuring pH levels isn't only for science and academic purposes. These days, many people buy pH meters to test the acidity of the foods they consume and the liquids they drinks. In addition, it is often done to ensure that you're consuming a primarily alkaline diet filled with low-acid foods. Here are the best pH meters on the market.