Why are we talking about the benefits of drinking alkaline water? Isn’t water just water?
As far as pH levels are concerned, water isn’t just water. The pH (potential hydrogen) measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is, and pH values range from 0 to 14. Higher pH levels indicate alkalinity, while lower pH levels imply acidity.
There are three types of water categorized based on their pH levels; acidic, neutral, and alkaline.
Correspondingly, acidic water can have a pH between 0 and 6.9. This water can harm aquatic life in rivers and streams by lowering the pH levels, making it difficult for fish and other organisms to survive. It can also corrode pipes in our homes, which can lead to costly repairs.
Neutral water has a pH of 7, which is the pH of water. This means that this type of water is neither too acidic nor alkaline. Therefore, it’s safe for drinking, bathing, cooking, and everything else for which water is used.
Meanwhile, the pH of alkaline water is between 7.1 and 14. Besides the difference in pH level, alkaline water scores one point above normal water because it’s richer in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate.
Although some bodies of water close to mineral rocks are naturally alkaline, alkaline water is also produced through electrolysis or ionization.
Both chemical processes involve adding ions to the molecules and atoms in normal water or converting those molecules and atoms to ions. Their goal is to raise the water’s pH to an alkaline level.
Now that we’re clear on what alkaline water is let’s see if drinking it does anything for your health.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Drinking Alkaline Water
Eases Acid Reflux
Also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux is when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing discomfort and irritation.
This can lead to a burning sensation in the chest, commonly known as heartburn. It can trigger other symptoms such as regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, and a sour taste in the mouth.
Approximately 20% of humans in the United States suffer acid refluxes. If you’re human, too, chances are you’ve had at least one heartburn in your lifetime.
But did you know what starts the process that makes your chest burn? According to one study published in the National Library of Medicine in 2012, pepsin kicks off the chain of internal reactions that lead to acid reflux.
This pepsin is a good enzyme, and it helps the body digest food. However, sometimes there’s a high level of acid in the stomach, perhaps due to drinking acidic water or taking food and drinks with high acid content.
When this happens, pepsin becomes activated. Then it moves from the stomach to the upper GI tract. And then, you have acid reflux.
If you dislike these refluxes as much as we do, brace yourself for the good stuff. Research has demonstrated that alkaline water can be used to permanently inactivates pepsin.
Please note that this research was conducted in a lab outside the body. Consequently, it doesn’t reflect how effective or otherwise alkaline water is on pepsin when consumed.
“Drinking alkaline water can help me poop easily?”
According to a Japanese study, the answer may be “yes.”
The study was based on 60 participants aged 20 to 60 who were regular patients of the Osaka City Citizen Health Development Consultation Center. They participated in a clinically controlled trial.
During the trial, 30 participants drank ≥ 500 ml of alkaline electrolyzed water (AEW) daily for four weeks. The other 30 participants drank 500 ml or more of purified tap water (PW) for the same time frame.
When the trial was over, they gave feedback on how the type of water they drank affected the texture and quality of their stools. While participants in the PW group reported a shift in stool texture from normal to hard, those in the AEW group testified that their stools went from loose to normal.
And according to the Rose Wellness Center for Integrative Medicine, ingesting alkaline water helps good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) to grow. As these bacteria flourish, they help the GI function properly, allaying stool-related problems like constipation.
Reduces Blood Viscosity
Blood viscosity refers to the thickness and stickiness of blood. It measures the resistance of blood flow due to the friction between blood cells and the vessel walls.
High viscosity means that the blood is thick and sticky, making it harder for it to flow through the blood vessels. This can lead to health problems such as hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
Conversely, low viscosity means that the blood is thin and flows easily, which is generally considered to be a healthy state. Various factors can affect blood viscosity, including age, diet, exercise, and certain medical conditions.
Yes, alkaline water can decrease blood viscosity, too, according to an article published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
The article reports the outcome of a trial conducted in New Jersey on 100 healthy adults aged 31 to 37 years. 50% of them were males, while 50% were females. What were they up to during the trial?
They exercised in an environment where the temperature was 30°C until they were relatively dehydrated. Afterward, some of them drank electrolyzed water that had a high pH (basically alkaline water) while others consumed purified tap water.
When the investigators tested the participants, they discovered that alkaline water had reduced the blood viscosity of those who drank it by 6.3%. On the other hand, subjects in the purified water group had their blood viscosity reduced by 3.36%.
Eases Chronic Diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea is characterized by the passage of three or more watery stools per day, often accompanied by abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating.
Many factors can cause chronic diarrhea, such as infections, inflammatory bowel disease, food intolerances, and medication side effects. It can result in dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and malnutrition if left untreated.
From 1996 to 1999, clinical researchers in Japan studied the effects of alkaline water on abdominal problems, including chronic diarrhea.
The researchers observed that patients with chronic diarrhea who drank 500 ml of alkaline water daily for two weeks experienced a 94.1% improvement in their symptoms. Meanwhile, patients who drank purified water daily for two weeks saw a 64.7% improvement in their chronic diarrheal symptoms.
How to Make Alkaline Water
When you newly discover the benefits of drinking alkaline water, you chuck a few bottles into your cart at every supermarket run.
Over time, though, the dollars quickly add up. Then you realize you’ll need a more cost-effective solution to your alkaline water streak. Well, you can choose one from the options below!
Mix Water with Alkaline Water Concentrate
If you’ve taken microdose coffee, you’re most likely familiar with concentrates. An alkaline water concentrate is just what it sounds like — water mixed with a concentrated quantity of minerals. The addition of minerals to the water raises its pH level.
Most alkaline water concentrates, or pH drops, are packaged like serums with droppers. Pour the recommended quantity of the concentrate into a glass of water, and boom! The water in the glass becomes alkalized.
Pour Normal Water into an Ionizing Water Pitcher
An ionizing water pitcher usually contains a filter. When you pour normal tap water into this pitcher, the filter adds minerals such as iodine, magnesium, and selenium to the water.
Also, the pitcher filters impurities that may be present in normal water, like sand and dust. When that’s done, the water molecules break down into smaller ones, which are easier for your body to ingest.
This process raises the pH of tap water to an alkaline level. You can use alkaline water made this way for anything, from drinking to bathing.
Mix Baking Soda with Water
While baking soda can be used to make alkaline water, it’s not the best long-term solution because baking soda is high in sodium. If you eat a lot of sodium-rich foods, drinking this kind of alkaline water might increase the sodium level in your diet above the recommended level.
How to Make Alkaline Water with Baking Soda
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to four fluid ounces of water.
- Stir the mixture until the baking soda has completely dissolved.
- Test the pH level of the water using a pH testing kit. The ideal pH level for alkaline water is between 7.5 and 9.5.
- If the pH level is too low, add more baking soda in small increments until the desired pH level is reached.
Besides the benefits of drinking alkaline water explained above, others have been put forward by believers in alkaline water. These include better hydration, boosted immune health, antioxidation, and weight loss.
However, little scientific research has been done to verify the truth of these claims. To maintain a healthy body, consider speaking with a certified medical practitioner before switching to alkaline water.