Filtered waters, such as reverse osmosis and carbon filtered water, are increasingly used to avoid contaminants like pesticides, endocrine disruptors, and other pollutants that make their way into our water. But the focus on clean water has also turned to alkaline water. But is it really worth the hype?
What is Alkaline Water?
The term alkaline refers to the water’s pH level, or more specifically, how acidic or alkaline it is. The scale goes from zero to 14 and something with a pH of one is very acidic while something with a pH of 13 is very alkaline. Alkaline water has a higher pH than regular water and, as a result, some advocates believe that it can neutralize acid in the body, and as a result, make it less prone to disease.
How is Alkaline Water Made?
Alkaline water can be made from two basic methods. For example, water that passes over rocks and picks up traces of minerals is naturally more alkaline. But water can also be made more alkaline through a process called electrolysis, where an ionizer is used to separate alkaline and acidic molecules in the water. Enthusiasts of water ionizers claim that the alkaline component in the water can provide health benefits, although it’s not completely clear whether this is actually effective.
The Benefits of Alkaline Water
While enthusiasts make a host of claims about the benefits of alkaline water, only a few studies have been published.
A study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology found that water with a pH of 8.8 can help reduce acid reflux because the higher pH kills pepsin, the main cause of acid reflux in the body. In another study, published in the Shanghai Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers found that drinking alkaline water for three to six months could significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
It’s also been found to be good for endurance athletes, because, according to Dr. John Berardi, founder of Precision Health, intense exercise causes us to produce more hydrogen ions than the body can efficiently remove. And as acidity sets in, so too does fatigue. Therefore, drinking alkaline water may create a buffer zone, which gives the body more room for performance. This is why some endurance athletes may supplement with sodium bicarbonate because mineral supplements like magnesium, calcium, and potassium decrease cardiorespiratory stress and a lactic acid response in the body when you workout really hard.
Additionally, advocates also claim that alkaline water has a number of other benefits. These include:
- Detox: Neutralizing acid in the bloodstream which can lead to improved energy and metabolism. Alkaline water improves the overall environment of the body making you look and feel your best.
- Taste: Many claim that the water tastes great and therefore you’re more likely to drink it. This is a great thing considering that water is essential to optimal health and we lose water continually through sweat, breathing, and urination.
- More hydrating: Likely the most well known feature of alkaline water is that it’s more hydrating than other waters. Advocates claim that they never feel thirsty and that by drinking alkaline water they feel all of the benefits of being constantly hydrated such as supple skin and good digestion.
Cons of Alkaline Water
While alkaline water enthusiasts make a number of claims regarding the high pH water, it’s important to note that many of them are just that, claims. While the water has been shown to reduce acid reflux and high blood pressure, it has not been shown to neutralize acid in the bloodstream and it has not been shown to detoxify the body better than normal water.
What’s more, alkaline water filters can also be pricey, ranging between $100 and $4,000 for a filter. They also require maintenance and the filters have to be purchased and replaced. If you buy alkaline water in the bottle, then you’re using needless plastic, which is terrible for the planet.
Where to Get Alkaline Water?
If you’re considering diving into the world of alkaline water, there are a number of options from which to choose. Bottled mineral waters like Essentia (9.5 pH) and Evian (7.2 pH) tend to be more alkaline. Non-mineral bottled waters like Aquafina and Dasani tend to have a lower pH. However, buying bottled water as mentioned above is a real bummer for the environment.
Consider other more conscious purchases like buying yourself a filter. This 4-Gallon Countertop Water Filter from Zen Water Systems is a good moderate purchase ($100) or this higher end Pure Hydration Alkaline Antioxidant Water Ionizer ($495) can also be great.
Other, more economical options, include this Nano Energy Bottle – Portable Water Ionizer ($24) or this EHM Alkaline Water Pitcher – 3.5L Pure Healthy Water Ionizer – BPA Free & Anti-Bacterial Filter ($40). You can also add mineral powders or drops to your water to make it more alkaline like Trace Minerals Research – Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops ($20) or AlkaZone – Alkaline pH Booster Drops ($45). With so many choices, you’re sure to find one within your budget. These less expensive options may also be a good introduction to alkaline water to see if you think it’s worth a larger, more permanent purchase like an installed water filter.