What is alkaline water – the facts

Do you think plain old H2O isn’t enough for your body? 

 

There are many health routines and products that became trendy thanks to social media and celebrities – everything they do becomes trendy. Some of these trends have been scientifically proven to be legit, while others are still being studied. Regardless of medical approval, many health enthusiasts jump on these trends because of FOMO – fear of missing out – and probably due to massive marketing campaigns swearing by these products. One of them is alkaline water, also known as ionized water. Although there is no harm in drinking it, the question of whether it’s a miraculous elixir for all health issues – as several brands claim- is still in the air. 

Whether you’re already following this trend or not, here is some useful information you should know about alkaline water: 

 

What is alkaline water, exactly?

Without getting too scientific, ionized water has a higher PH than regular tap water. The PH scale goes from 0 to 14, the lower the numbers, the more acidic a product is. For you to have a clear idea: lemon juice would be a 2, and regular drinking water would be a 7, so neutral on the acidic scale. Ionized water has a PH of 8 or 9. 

 

Fans of this trendy water claim that:

  • Alkaline water regulates our blood’s pH. 
  • Some illnesses, such as osteoporosis and even cancer can be improved, or even cured by drinking alkaline water.
  • Ionized water is said to be detoxifying, improve skin condition and youthfulness, and help lose weight.

 

One of these doctors, Nina Shapiro, gave us numerous reasons why alkaline water is a waste of money. But, before we delve into that, let’s check how it’s made.  

 

image describing the ph scale sanna conscious concept

How is alkaline water made? 

The process of ionizing water can be achieved at home using a home ionizes, but some brands have also been very open about the process they use to obtain alkaline water:

  1. Water is purified, and unwanted particles are removed, through reverse osmosis. 
  2. Electrolytes are added to the pure water – giving water that recognizable alkaline taste.
  3. Acidic ions are removed, and PH levels are increased. 

This is, of course, an expensive process, hence the elevated price of alkaline water. After being processed, the water is packed in plastic bottles, and we all know how that plays out: more plastic waste ending up in landfills. 

 

Health claims regarding ionized water

There are many different alkaline water brands, and they all claim various health benefits. Many companies that sell home water ionizers and reusable ionizer bottles are continually publishing articles about health benefits and why you should drink alkaline water.

Our tip is to always look for unbiased and objective information, it is very easy to fall for marketing claims without checking facts. So, we thought it was important to tell you the information that these brands won’t include in their marketing campaigns: 

1. “Alkaline water hydrates better.”
  • The study they carried to make this statement was done with 16 athletes. Certainly, 16 is not a big enough number to prove that we will all be better hydrated. 
  • Bicarbonate soda added to water or other sports drinks also do the job. 
  • Big news: plain water is also hydrating. 

 

2. “Alkaline water will reduce your body’s pH level.” 
  • Our bodies are equipped to maintain a pH of 7. Whatever you eat or drink, it’s making your urine have a lower or higher pH. 
  • Many doctors are speaking up informing buyers everywhere that our stomachs already have the ability to balance our pH, even if we drink high pH alkaline water, our gastric juices will neutralize it. 

 

3. “Alkaline water will help with acid reflux.” 
  • In a 2012 study, scientists found that drinking alkaline water with a pH OF 8.8 might help with acid reflux. This is so far the only claim proven to be accurate, as ionized water still needs to be further studied. 

 

4. “Alkaline water prevents bone loss.” 

 

5. “Alkaline water prevents cancer.” 
  • Again, the myth has unfortunately been debunked by dietitian Tanis Fenton. There is no sufficient evidence. 

 

There are many other claims that brands associate with alkaline water consumption, but not enough scientific evidence to support them, such as the weight loss boost. It might help lose weight just as well as regular water does, if, for example, you switch from drinking soda. Most of these claims are also related to the alkaline diet, highly promoted by the one and only Victoria Beckham. The alkaline diet also claimed to change your blood pH and was also debunked by nutritionists and scientists. Although this diet reinforces healthy and non-processed food choices, as well as helps with some ailments, it doesn’t live up to its claims. 

Is it harmful to drink alkaline water? 

It is definitely harmful to the environment and to your pocket. By consuming bottled water, alkaline or not, we’re adding to the plastic waste problem. It is not harmful to your body, but it hasn’t been proven to be doing anything good for you either. 

So, why do people spend their money on it? Well, we can’t force our opinions on others, and many are vulnerable to these kinds of health claims. After all, when one is ill, the usual reaction is to do everything one can to overcome an illness. Unfortunately,  there will always be a business ready to play its part and get some profit. 

 

photo of a bridge under which there is plenty of plastic polluting the river

 

The takeaway 

It is not easy to make certain decisions, especially regarding our health and well-being, and we are all targets for big companies. Considering science is not backing up most of the health claims, and the price of alkaline water, it would be understandable if you stick to drinking plain water, as Dr Tanis Fenton says.

Our advice is to always seek advice from your doctor if you feel your diet needs adjusting. If you want to drink alkaline water, even after everything we told you, check with a professional who will confirm if it’s the right thing to do for you. 

 

What are your thoughts on alkaline water? Let us know your opinion in the comments! 

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