In our current world of wellness, alkaline diets and celebrity endorsements, there are many claims about the health benefits of ‘alkaline water’.
For example, articles about supermodel Elle Macpherson following an alkaline diet and drinking alkaline water – apparently she’s so dedicated she even tests her urine pH level!
It’s been reported that the Kardashians only drink a certain brand of ‘supercharged ionised alkaline water’ at a pH of 9.5 because apparently it is extra hydrating.
But when it comes to alkaline water, what is it and is it really any good for you?
The term alkaline refers to the pH level. That’s the number that measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is. So on a scale of 1-13, a pH of 1 is very acidic and a pH of 13, very alkaline.
Regular drinking water has a neutral pH of 7 while alkaline water has a higher pH, generally between 7 and 9.5.
One way is to buy a device called a water ioniser or alkaline ioniser. This acts like a water filter where tap water runs through an ioniser to make it more alkaline. It does this by raising the pH of the tap water by using electrolysis to separate the incoming water stream into acidic and alkaline components.
The other way is to buy expensive bottled spring or mineral water. This water passes through rocks and soil to pick up the various minerals which will affect the pH levels and make the water more alkaline.
Some advocates of alkaline water believe it can neutralise the acid in the body and offset the effects of acidic foods. And there are many other health claims out there.
Alkaline water health claims to: slow the aging process, regulate body’s pH level, prevent chronic diseases like cancer, help lose weight, give the body more energy and even help with infertility problems.
So does alkaline water have an effect on cancer, for example?
Dr Tanis Fenton and colleagues published a review on BMJ Open (formally the British Medical Journal) on the effects of alkalis on cancer.
They assessed thousands of cancer studies but only found one test looking at the relationship between acid in a diet and cancer in the bladder.
“Despite the promotion of an alkaline diet and alkaline water by the media and salespeople, there is almost no actual research to either support or disprove these ideas.”
However, it is possible that alkaline water may provide health benefits to those people who suffer from acid reflux. A 2012 study published in ‘Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology’ found that alkaline water at a pH of 8.8 stops an enzyme connected to reflux disease and reduces the acidity of the stomach contents.
There are many claims but there’s lots more research to be done to prove any health benefits of alkaline water.
There are some downsides to drinking alkaline water, too. For example, if you have a kidney problem or are taking kidney medication then the minerals in the alkaline water could alter your kidney function as the minerals accumulate in your body.
There are also claims that drinking too much alkaline water can disrupt your body’s normal pH and potentially lead to a condition called metabolic alkalosis with symptoms of confusion, nausea, vomiting, hand tremors, muscle twitching and tingling in the face, hands or feet.
Until there’s more research done, a healthy option is to switch to filtered tap water (if you haven’t already!) and drink the recommended amount of water per day. It’s super important to stay hydrated for a number of health reasons.
There are many proven health benefits from drinking a healthy amount of filtered water throughout the day and keeping your body properly hydrated.
A WFA inline water filter will filter out chlorine and any potential nasties direct from your kitchen tap. The filter also keeps in the natural minerals, like magnesium and calcium, while maintaining the tap water at its regular pH level. Without the added chlorine, the filtered water tastes great so it’s easy to create a daily water habit for you and your family.