What is it about alkaline water that has people going crazy?
All the alkaline addicts believe that ingesting alkaline water can actually not only aid our bodies in metabolizing nutrients, but it can also help us get rid of toxins – better than regular water.
Is alkaline water the new solution for hydration?
So the idea is that all of that adds up to overall better health, wellness and performance.
Our view? Well there’s some evidence that give these claims a foundation. First, let’s look a little closer and find out how deep the benefits of alkaline water go.
What Is Alkaline Water?
To answer the question is alkaline water good for you? Well, it isn’t bad for you. But bottled alkaline water probably isn’t as magical as some believe it to be.
First let’s address the most important question for getting started: what is alkaline water? This is basically water that’s less acidic than what you’ll find in the average tap water.
What this means to you:
Alkaline water is bursting full of alkalizing compounds like silica, potassium, bicarbonate, and calcium.
In fact, a lot of people feel that the average North American diet contributes to and increases chronic low-grade acidosis. This is a condition that generally goes hand in hand with poor health, like problems with the heart, hormonal status, and even the loss of bone and muscle.
The components of alkaline water are believed to neutralize the acid found in your bloodstream. This then leads to better health and wellness, because your body is able to metabolize nutrients more efficiently.
Sound a little too good to be true? Yeah, we thought so too. Let’s investigate a little bit.
Alkaline Water and Hydration 101
Okay, we know – water is kind of important.
Not only are our bodies mostly made up of water, but we also need it constantly just to survive. Essentially, there isn’t any substance that’s nearly as important to our health as water. This could be why so many people worry about any pollutants or contaminants found in tap water.
Now we aren’t hating on American tap water. In fact, it’s pretty safe when you compare it other tap water around the world.
Tap water has a bunch of various elements that are dissolved into it. All of these elements factor into its pH level. While purified water has a pH level of about 7, high pH water is – you guessed it – alkaline. It usually has a level above 7.
Now, your body is already doing an awesome job with keeping your blood pH levels within a specific range. This is important because, when you get blood work, you won’t see alarming things like a low-grade acidosis.
But here’s a thought – what if those reports aren’t so accurate?
A lot of supporters of alkaline water try will argue that, even if your pH levels are right on track, your body could still be calling on buffers stored within the bones and muscles in order to keep pH levels normal.
If that’s the case, that isn’t good. At all.
It goes without saying, our bodies are super complicated. So to simply say people need to alkalize their bodies isn’t really enough.
Well, to start, each and every organ system without our body has its own pH range. So, if pH levels aren’t on track, it’s time to get to the reason why. Our body is fully capable of maintaining a pH balance – so if something isn’t adding up, it’s a critical problem to deal with..
After all, if you don’t know what’s causing it, how could alkaline water help you? You’re just diluting the problem, not fixing it.
Regardless, we’re going to take a look at some of the potential benefits of drinking alkaline water.
Alkaline Water Benefits
Now, as we said, there is some data that shows alkaline being beneficial to health, but there aren’t any real sources of data to confirm past this preliminary data.
However, just simply focusing on the pH level of the water in our bodies isn’t really the number one issue. Why? If alkaline water does help our bodies in some may, it could be because of the minerals it contains instead of the actual pH level.
See what we’re getting at?
All the data that supports alkaline water does say that consuming alkaline (or sometimes called “hard” water) increases the body’s overall alkalinity.
But this isn’t always a good thing. Let’s take a look at someone that has problems with their kidneys and takes medication for it. Now, some of the minerals found in the alkaline water could possible start to build up in the body.
Therefore, this could negatively affect these types of individuals.
Who Should Drink Alkaline Water?
So if people with kidney problems should avoid drinking alkaline water, who can benefit from it?
People like athletes and those that exercise often.
Here’s why: Alkaline water, when consumed by an extremely active person, helps keep more fluids within the cardiovascular system. Therefore, this cuts back on the person’s output of urine and their blood osmolality.
This is extremely important, especially because there’s a big connection between high plasma osmolality and death from strokes.
Alkaline Water Results
When you’re drinking alkaline water for your health, don’t expect immediate results. The research that has been conducted so far proves it’s not an instant result. Rather, it takes time for results and progress.
Basically: Alkaline water brands possibly have the potential to improve your hydration status (especially if you’re active). If you’re active, you probably know how important your hydration status is to your overall health.
But like we said, this isn’t a definite. There still isn’t a ton of evidence to support this.
So where does exercise come into play?
Well, when you diet and exercise, that can alter your pH balance. For example, if you eat a ton of veggies during the day, odds are you’re going to have a higher level of alkalinity.
If you’re the type who doesn’t exercise or you eat a ton of processed foods, you might benefit from drinking alkaline water. On the other hand, those that eat a ton of whole foods, diet and exercise often probably wouldn’t notice much of a change.
But just because you don’t notice a change doesn’t mean it can be beneficial (aka keeping you hydrated like we mentioned earlier).
Here’s how that works – intense bouts of exercise send our muscles into overdrive, as they make more hydrogen ions than our body can get rid of. So, your fatigue increases. Drinking alkaline water could help your body out there – and if it does, it’ll definitely help your overall performance.
Here’s something to consider: certain minerals, like magnesium, potassium and calcium can actually cut down on any cardio-respiratory stress, as well as how blood lactate responses.
So this can come into play when it comes to endurance, too. This is why a lot of long-distance runners turn to sodium bicarbonate supplements.
Can Alkaline Water Fight Toxicity?
The tap water we drink is disinfected in order to keep us safe from bacteria and various types of toxins. But when these disinfectants come into contact with organic matter found in the tap water, by-products from the disinfectant form.
Did you know that DBPs (disinfectant by-products) can cause some serious issues with our health and environment.
Because of this, we want to steer clear of them when we can.
A lot of people believe that alkaline water can aid in the breaking down of these DBPs, as they sort of neutralize their level of danger to us. And, something else to consider is alkaline urine. This could actually help us get rid of other toxins in the body.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? Almost too good to be true.
Well it kind of is, because DBPs seem to really love when they’re in an alkaline environment. Therefore, alkaline isn’t the best choice for protecting us from this type of toxin.
What About the Gut?
Oxidation-reduction potential (or ORP) is actually the measure of the inclination of a specific solution to lose or even gain electrons when the person at hand is introduced to change. This is done by bringing up a new species.
ORP plays a key role in our guts. In fact, they seem to have some kind of influence in there. Ionized (or electrochemically activated) water has a negative oxidation-reduction possibility, which could possibly mean that it offers additional disinfectant properties. This could be a big deal, because it would definitely help keep us safe against harmful microorganisms.
What Is Glycation?
You might be wondering what the heck that word is. This is basically just a reaction that occurs when fructose or other simple sugar molecules attach themselves to proteins or lipid fats without the restraint of any enzyme.
Because of this, rogue molecules form and it’s called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Often times, AGEs are connected to serious health diseases, like diabetes and even Alzheimer’s.
Plus, ionized water usually causes lowered glycation levels. When this happened in rats, it cut down on the risk of liver damage.
We get it – rats and humans are two totally different things. But still, something to consider.
Wondering Where to Get Started with Alkaline Water?
Basically if you want to try alkaline water anyway, give it a shot.
But the question is – how can you get your hands on alkaline water if it isn’t coming through your tap water?
So is bottled water alkaline? Well…. Kind of.
Bottled mineral waters usually are alkaline. So, if you’re grabbing a bottled water that isn’t mineralized, it probably isn’t alkaline.
However, if you decide to add mineral powders to your regular old tap water, guess what? That’ll make that water alkaline.
Here are some popular bottled waters and their respective alkaline levels:
- Dasani sticks between 5.0 to 7.0, which is either neutral or a little bit toward less alkaline.
- Smartwater contains a pH level of around 7.0, which makes it neutral.
- Aquafina is usually around 5.5 to 7.0, which makes it just like Dasani.
- Evian has a level of 7.2, which is more on the alkaline side.
- Essentia actually promises 9.5 on its website, which is definitely alkaline.
But if you don’t want to spend the money on these brands, you can actually get a machine called a water ionizer, which claims to actually create alkaline water through ionization.
While the companies state that their machines permit water to connected with electrodes in order to split oxygen from hydrogen ions, which in turn affects the pH levels, a lot of scientists disagree.
And they aren’t just disagreeing. These chemists are saying that the term “ionized water” actually means nothing and that ionized water is a hoax.
Just something to consider. However, a number of experiments were conducted with an ionizer and the results were surprising – they showed that the water had higher levels of alkaline.
The subject who conducted the studies also found that the pH in his urine was a lot higher when he drank the water that had been ionized.
Case in point – if you decide to drink alkaline water, odds are, it’s not going to hurt you at all. But if you suffer from kidney issues, it’s probably best for you to avoid it.
If you drink out of your tap often, think about getting a filter or some other type of method to getting completely clean water.
Then, if you want, you can add minerals to your water as often or less often as you want. It’s a great to control what’s going in and out of your body, especially since you don’t know for sure what’s in your water.
Again, as we’ve said, there isn’t really one straight answer here. But the best thing you can do is listen to your body and determine what’s right for you. Every body is different, so try it for yourself before you make a decision.
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