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Alkaline Water: Fad Or Fact?


Alkaline water built its brand based on the concept that high acidity in our body and blood is the reason for ill health and diseases therefore; our bodies will be healthier if H2O is more basic. Its pH level which ranges from 8 to 9 is comparatively higher than water which is neutral at 7. However, the higher the pH, the more total dissolved solids there are in the water, which means harder water. Bottled alkaline water usually undergoes a process called electrolysis. This technique utilizes a product called an ionizer in order to raise the pH of regular water. The electricity is used to separate the more acidic molecules from the more alkaline ones. Alkaline water also contains negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP) which indicates how capable water is of acting as a pro- or antioxidant. The higher the negative value of ORP, the more antioxidizing it is. Believers of this notion have turned to buying expensive machines that “electrolyze-reduce” water to make it alkaline or buy electrolyzed-reduce water that is priced between $2 and $5. The alkaline water market has grown 10 times in three years from $47 million in 2014 to a $427 million business.

Its high demand could be attributed to the long list of claimed health effects. However, there is insufficient research to support the claims made by companies that sell alkaline water. Despite the small samples size of research conducted, advocates still believe in its stated health effects. These include anti-aging properties, colon cleansing properties, immune system support, rejuvenating the skin, weight loss, and cancer resistance. A study conducted by PubMed showed that water with pH of 8.8 could benefit people suffering from reflux diseases as it can denature pepsin, causing it to be permanently inactive. On the contrary, deactivating pepsin could damage your body as it assists in digesting protein. Lowering the natural stomach acidity would prevent bacteria and other pathogens from being killed or removed. You cannot change the pH levels of your body simply by ingesting alkaline water. The body of a healthy individual should already balance pH levels independently therefore; there is an underlying cause to your health issues that cannot be cured with alkaline water.

Attempting to attract athletes, alkaline water claims that it can neutralize acid in the bloodstream to improve oxygen levels, heighten energy and quicken metabolism rate. While lactic acid does accumulate in your blood after a vigorous exercise, the body expels it on its own. Blood has a fixed range of pH between 7.35 and 7.45, which is regulated by the body. If the pH difference is too high, we cannot survive. As each organ performs a different function, the pH range in our body differs. The acidity of gastric fluids and vaginal fluids are high because they dissolve proteins and prevent growth of microbes respectively. Therefore; it is a false notion that higher levels of alkalinity in our bodies, create healthier bodies.

Supporters of alkaline water argue that soft drinks, which are very acidic, have very positive ORPs and, therefore cause many health problems, while correctly ionized and alkalinized waters have highly negative ORPs. However, green tea, a drink rich in antioxidants, only has a slightly negative ORP. The benefits of alkaline water may not be proven, but consuming it may not be exactly risk-free either. High alkalinity in the body may lead to gastrointestinal issues and skin irritations. It could also alter the body’s normal pH, which could lead to metabolic alkalosis with such symptoms as: nausea, vomiting, hand tremors, muscle twitching, tingling in the extremities or face, and confusion.

In conclusion, the jury is still out on whether drinking alkaline water can really do your body any good. It may be time to go back to basics and start drinking regular water. While you might be deterred from consuming tap water due to its contaminants and disinfectants, you can always rely on Kinetico’s reverse osmosis drinking water system, the K5, to provide you with crystal clear, purified drinking water.

 

Sources used in article

Amy Schlinger, “The truth about the Alkaline Water Trend,” Self Magazine, 2016, https://www.self.com/story/alkaline-water-benefits-myth-fact

Arwa Mahdawi, “Is Alkaline Water a Miracle Cure – or BS? The Science is In,” Guardian, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/oct/29/alkaline-water-cure-bs-science-beyonce-tom-brady

Koufman JA, Johnston N., “Potential benefits of pH 8.8 alkaline drinking water as an adjunct in the treatment of reflux disease,” NCBI, 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22844861

Marcus MacGill, “Is Alkaline Water Good for You?” Medical News Today, 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313681.php

Rena Goldman and Rachel Nagelberg, “Alkaline Water: Benefits and Risks,” Healthline, 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/alkaline-water-benefits-risks#takeaway