There have been many rumors and myths about how alkaline water is supposedly good for eliminating toxins out of your body, thus slowing down the ageing process and improving your overall health. However, there is not any legitimate research to support this data. Let’s explore this further.
What Is Alkaline Water
Think of acids and bases you learned about in chemistry class. A pH of 7 is neutral (neither acidic nor basic) and this is the pH of regular water. Our bodies have a pH of about 7.4. Alkaline water contains alkalized, dissolved minerals such as calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium and bicarbonate. This bumps the pH of the water to about 8-9, making it more basic (where as regular bottled water tends to be a bit more acidic)
Alkaline water can be bought in stores, but it does not come cheap. People can also make their own DIY alkalized water with water ionizing machines. These definitely do not come cheap as the prices for this machine ranges from the upper hundreds to the thousands!
What Are The Claims?
Alkaline water companies will claim and advertise that their high pH water will leave you feeling “energized” and will “detoxify” your body, leaving you feeling “extremely hydrated”. Smaller studies have shown that alkalized water reaps benefits for those with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. It has also been said to increase blood flow, or blood viscosity, to deliver more oxygen to your muscles, especially after an exercise.
However, with both of these studies, the populations of both groups were so small that the studies would not be a reliable representation of the entire population. There are also limitations associated with both statements.
Are The Claims Legitimate?
Our bodies do a really good job of maintaining blood pH within the tight range of about 7.4. Our stomachs, however, secrete a strong hydrochloric acid at a pH of 1.5-3.5 which digests proteins and kills food-borne pathogens. Some doctors agree that by drinking alkalized water, the hydrochloric acid can slightly neutralize which prevents it from doing its job, and can allow bacteria from entering the blood stream. Furthermore, many doctors claim that their patients drink alkaline water to combat acid reflux. They argue this by saying that if acid reflux, for example, is a reoccurring issue, there may be a bigger health problem at play which would need to be addressed by a physician.
Is It Safe To Drink?
Alkaline water has many health benefit claims, but they have not clinically been proven to be true. If you are seeing health benefits from the alkalized water, it is probably from the increase in minerals, not the elevated pH itself. On the other hand, alkaline water is not completely risk-free. This water can actually be dangerous for people with certain health conditions, such as kidney disease.
There are risks associated with healthy people as well. Consuming an excessive amount of alkalized water can lead to alkalosis, which can result from the smallest shift in blood pH. Symptoms of alkalosis include nausea, vomiting, tremors, muscle twitching and confusion. Other studies done on rat pups showed that drinking alkaline water led to impaired growth and damage to their cardiac muscles.
To Buy Or Not To Buy
One thing to remember is that the foods we consume all vary in pH. If you have a healthy balanced diet of green fruits and vegetables, your blood alkalinity levels may rise. With consuming many foods higher in pH, there is no reason to drink alkaline water. Click on the picture below to learn the pHs of different foods.
In the end, if you drink a bottle of alkaline water here or there, you will be fine, but if you are supplying your total daily water intake for alkaline water, then you may see some problems. The average person needs about 8-13 glasses of water a day (depending on your body composition, gender and activity levels). If tap water does not look or taste clean in your home, try buying a filter and drinking filtered tap water. Doctors and researchers both say this is the best way to drink our water.
If you have any questions about alkaline water or any other gastrointestinal issues please feel free to speak with one of our providers. Additionally, feel free to make an appointment with our nutritionist at Delta Medical Weight Management Center.
Call our office at 662-280-8222 or email [email protected] if you have questions.
Ulric Duncan MD, Diplomate of Obesity Medicine
9140 Highway 51 North
Southaven MS 38671
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