Alkaline water has been promoted as a water that can neutralize acid in the bloodstream and is beneficial in preventing disease. We’ll see if health experts consider alkaline water to be plain water.
PH is used to describe how acidic a substance is on a scale of 0 to 14. A higher pH number is alkaline; a lower pH is acidic. A substance is alkaline if it has a pH greater than 7.
What is alkaline water?
Alkaline water has a higher pH than plain water. Alkaline water has a pH between 8-9, while tap water has a pH of approximately 7. Alkaline water owes its pH to a higher content of minerals or salt.
Some waters are alkaline naturally as they come from the mountains and collect minerals as they pass over the rocks. While other brands are manufactured through an ionizer, in this process the acidic components are filtered to raise the pH.
PH in the blood
The body tightly regulates the pH levels in the blood to about 7.4, slightly alkaline, does not lean to an extreme. If the balance of the blood is disturbed it can cause negative side effects and even be life threatening.
The Harvard School of Public Health notes that the pH balance in the blood can be altered by diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, chronic lung disease, or alcohol abuse.
Excess salt and refined sugar in the diet, processed foods, pesticides, stress, and lack of sleep can also contribute to overproduction of acid in the blood.
“Acidity is related to the development of cancer and an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, which is harmful to our health by causing overweight, cardiovascular disease and also the development of malignant tumors,” explains Dr. Diane Pérez through AARP.
What are the purported benefits of alkaline water?
Alkaline water is touted as a beverage that can help counteract the harm of acid-producing foods and neutralize acid in the bloodstream. Alkaline water has a supposed reducing effect on oxidative stress. The benefits that are promoted range from weight loss, prevention of osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and even cancer.
Can alkaline water change blood pH?
Harvard notes that controlled clinical trials have not shown that diet alone can significantly change the blood pH of healthy people. Nor has a direct connection been established between blood pH in the low normal range and chronic disease in humans.
Mayo Clinic indicates that there are some studies suggesting that alkaline water might help slow bone loss, but it is necessary to determine whether these benefits are sustained in the long term.
A proven benefit of alkaline water is that it is effective in relieving gastrointestinal symptoms., particularly for heartburn or acid reflux. Some people make water alkaline by adding substances like baking soda to normal water. Dr. Pérez points out that it should be considered that alkalizing the stomach can result in difficulty digesting food and other discomforts.
The Japanese have been drinking alkalized water for several decades. Some of their studies report that blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood lipid levels drop significantly in participants even to normal ranges after drinking ionized alkaline water.
In the West there is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of alkaline water as a prevention or treatment for any health condition.
Is it safe to consume alkaline water?
Drinking alkaline drinking water is considered safe. For high performance athletes it may be an option to help reverse dehydration due to its higher concentration of electrolytes.
Drinking too much alkaline water can have negative side effects. It can cause gastrointestinal problems and skin irritations.
The natural acidity of the stomach helps kill bacteria and expel microorganisms They can be dangerous (pathogenic) so they don’t get into the bloodstream.
Dr. Pérez points out that alkalizing the stomach can lead to difficulty digesting food and other discomforts.
Healthline also indicates that too much alkalinity can also shake up the body’s normal pH, leading to metabolic alkalosis that can cause nausea, vomiting, hand tremors, muscle spasms, and tingling.
In a moderate way, alkaline water can provide similar benefits to water by keeping you well hydrated.
In addition to using baking soda, adding a dash of lemon to water can also make the water more alkaline when your body digests it. Medical experts recommend not getting carried away by all the marketing claims.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.