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Alkaline Water: Should You Believe the Hype?

pouring water from bottle into glass

Along with alkaline diets, alkaline water is quickly becoming the hottest new thing. From nutritionists to professional athletes, everyone seems to be touting the benefits of alkaline water, which are purported to include better weight loss and disease resistance.

Your body’s pH plays a significant role in your health, especially with how much processed food and additives we ingest in the standard American diet. The subsequent overproduction of acid can create an environment that allows diseases to thrive, so the goal is to raise the body’s pH toward alkalinity and prevent these ill effects.

But, does this miraculous alkaline water live up to the hype?

What is Alkaline Water?

The pH scale is a measure of acidity, with low pH levels indicating acidic substances and higher pH levels indicating alkaline substances. Measured on a scale of 0-14, 7 is neutral, so anything above is alkaline and anything below is acidic. An excess of hydrogen ions means there’s too little oxygen, which leads to acidity. Fewer hydrogen ions mean more oxygen availability, which leads to alkalinity.

Alkaline water is simply water in an alkaline state, or having a higher pH. Because no disease is believed to be able to survive in alkalinity, alkaline water is supposed to be safer and more beneficial than acidic tap water.

Alkaline water is also believed to offer more minerals, such as magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium. These minerals are necessary for many vital functions within the body, as well as to buffer acids in the blood.

  • Magnesium converts the food we eat into usable energy and maintains the function of nerves, muscles, kidneys and the heart.
  • Sodium regulates blood pressure, maintains the fluid balance and affects muscle function.
  • Potassium affects skeletal muscle contraction and relaxation, as well as the function of cardiac muscle and smooth muscle of the internal organs.
  • Calcium strengthens our bones and promotes a healthy circulatory system.

The body works to keep the ideal balance of blood pH, which is a 60/40 ratio of alkaline-to-acidic. If necessary, it will pull from reserves to maintain that balance.

Alkaline Water Benefits

Alkaline water proponents claim a wide range of health benefits, including a faster metabolism, reversed aging, improved nutrient absorption, reduction in bone loss and much more. The belief is that low-grade acidosis contributes to many of these problems, which can be solved by returning the blood to a balanced, alkaline state.

Others believe that the source of these benefits comes from the minerals within the water, which are proven to have these positive effects. However, if the root cause of the imbalance in pH isn’t identified, it’s unlikely that incorporating alkaline water and foods into your routine will help.

At this time, not much research can be found to demonstrate alkaline water benefits, but that doesn’t stop proponents from making unsubstantiated claims. Because of this, it’s important to make a decision based on evidence.

Let’s look at the evidence we do have.

Alkaline Water Improves Circulation

According to a 2016 study conducted by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, alkaline water can improve circulation by allowing blood to flow more easily and to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to tissues. This is believed to occur because of its ability to reduce the viscosity of blood.

In the study, 100 healthy adults were given normal or alkaline water following a workout. Those who drank alkaline water had a 6.3 percent decrease in blood viscosity, whereas those who drank normal water only had a 3.3 percent drop in viscosity.

Alkaline Water Treats Acid Reflux

One in-vitro study from the Voice Institute of New York showed that alkaline water can reduce the symptoms of acid reflux, which is a condition that causes acid to come back up through the esophagus. This condition is common and causes symptoms like bloating and nausea, along with potential damage to the esophagus over time.

Acid reflux is caused by pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down proteins during the digestive process. In the study, alkaline water was shown to neutralize pepsin, which can provide benefits for individuals plagued by acid reflux.

It’s important to remember that neutralizing pepsin can only provide relief of symptoms, however, and the underlying cause of acid reflux should still be investigated further.

Improved Hydration

Hydration is critical to your health for many reasons. Naturally, drinking more water helps you stay hydrated, but there’s evidence that suggests alkaline water hydrates you more effectively than normal water.

A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine showed that alkaline water increased alkalinity in the blood and urine and improved hydration levels better than normal water alone.

Blood-Sugar Modulation

High blood glucose, or blood sugar, can have devastating effects on your health. Chronic high blood sugar can lead to diabetes and other insulin-resistant diseases, which can have serious consequences.

More research is needed, but preliminary research has found that alkaline water can modulate blood sugar in healthy individuals. Another study showed that it can improve glucose tolerance and modulate blood sugar in mice, which can help prevent diabetes.

Improve Bone Health

Acidic diets can promote the excretion of calcium through the urine, which causes bone loss over time, but an alkaline diet can prevent bone loss and replenish lost calcium.

A study from the Centre of Bone Diseases at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland showed that drinking alkaline water resulted in decreased levels of parathyroid hormone, which is responsible for releasing calcium into the blood.

Learn More at EcoWater

Though some sources are exaggerating the benefits of alkaline water, several reputable studies have shown positive health benefits. Like anything else, however, it’s best to consume it in moderation to be sure you maintain the optimal pH balance.

If you’re looking to try alkaline water for yourself, EcoWater systems can help. We’re offering an alkaline remineralizer cartridge that fits to our reverse osmosis system, which deposits trace amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium to raise the pH level. Contact us today to learn more about our alkaline remineralizer cartridge and our drinking water systems!