We all know that we need to stay hydrated throughout the day to make sure our body is functioning properly. When we don’t get enough water, we can feel fatigued and lack energy. But have you heard of alkaline water?
Dehydration can be an exhausting experience, so avoiding it at all costs is the way to go. We know that water is important, but we also know that once trends are set in the world of health and wellness, people always rush to try out the newest trend.
Avid water drinkers might have heard of this trend—and that’s the alkaline water trend. If you are unsure what alkaline water is, what it does, and how it compares to regular water, read on!
What Is Alkaline Water?
When talking about alkaline water, we are discussing the pH levels of the water and how they are going to be more alkaline rather than acidic. pH refers to how acidic or basic (i.e. alkaline) a substance is by using a numbered scale, 0-14. If a substance’s pH number falls between 0-6, it’s considered more acidic. If a substance’s pH level is between 8-14, it’s more alkaline, and if it sits at 7, it’s neutral. Naturally, water has a neutral pH, but alkaline water (AKA high-pH water) falls at an eight to nine on the scale due to the added alkaline properties. Many alkaline waters are even higher, but eight to nine is the industry standard.
There's More To It..
Alkaline water is not just alkaline because of its pH levels. In order for water to be alkaline, it must contain minerals like calcium and magnesium and negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP). Oxidation-reduction potential means that the water can act as an antioxidant, so the more negative the ORP is, the more anti-oxidizing it is.
Antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals, having a positive effect on your body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are missing an electron. They wreak havoc on the body by stealing electrons from other stable molecules, damaging these cells and contributing to illness and premature aging. If you have more acidic pH levels throughout your body, alkaline water might help balance you out.
Guidelines state that the pH of tap water in the United States should fall between 6.5 and 8.5, yet tap water in many places reaches a pH between 4.3 and 5.5. To put it into perspective, orange juice’s pH is around 3.8 on the pH scale, Coca-Cola has a pH level of 2.8, and medium roast coffee from Starbucks has a pH level of 5.1. Many drinks that we come across end up having more acidic levels than alkaline naturally.
If you drink mainly acidic drinks, then it might be time to consider trying out alkaline water. This would be great to help balance your urine pH level out.
Does It Work?
Some people believe the gastric juices in your body will neutralize alkaline water before it can take effect, but research on mice has shown signs of health benefits.
While research is still being done as this is a relatively new trend, some pieces of information seems promising. It’s important to note, if you are getting a healthy and balanced diet, you should continue to drink water with a neutral pH ,and your body’s pH levels are most likely going to be in a good place.
There are certain instances where drinking alkaline water may benefit you, but you should always make sure that you are still consuming pH-neutral water to help regulate your body and maintain your hydration status. Drinking alkaline water by the gallon won't help boost its purported effects, and people with altered kidney function should consider calling their doctor before introducing alkaline water into their diet.
Acid reflux (also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or "GERD") describes when stomach acid comes back up through the esophagus due to the opening of the stomach being relaxed instead of constricted, allowing stomach contents to rise back up through the pipes. It can be painful and stubborn, and is often treated with proton pump inhibitors, antacids, pepsin neutralizers, and more.
Oftentimes, people are prescribed heartburn medication to lessen the symptoms and discomfort, but there’s no real cure. If you have acid reflux, you know just how bad it is.
One study found that when people drank alkaline water with a pH of 8.8, it helped deactivate pepsin, the main digestive enzyme that helps break down protein, and one of the compounds that makes the stomach so acidic. This gives proponents of alkaline water reason to believe that it has benefits including helping to combat high acidity levels.
However, in some cases acid reflux can actually occur when there is insufficient stomach acid production. Deactivating pepsin or attempting to subdue stomach acid may not always be the best option. Try switching up your water to help alleviate, and see what works best for your body.
The viscosity of your blood shows us how efficiently blood flows through the vessels. Whole blood viscosity refers to the thickness of your blood. Overall, this means the thicker your blood, the slower it will flow through the blood vessels. This poses a risk for your blood to begin clotting, which may cause serious medical issues.
During a study that focused on the recovery time after a strenuous workout, it was found that the blood viscosity in people who were drinking alkaline water to hydrate had significantly different blood viscosity levels than in people who drank regular water.
The results showed that it was easier for blood to pass through the vessels of alkaline water drinkers. This is great for those who work out because it means that oxygen can get to your body more efficiently.
Some other, less researched, health benefits of alkaline water include that it helps support your immune system and promote weightloss.
Side Effects and Risks
Alkaline water is considered to be generally safe to drink, but it could produce some unwanted negative side effects. Because alkaline water is base and not acidic, drinking it can lead to a deficit in your stomach’s natural acidity.
Stomach acid helps kill bacteria and keep undesired pathogens away from entering your bloodstream. This means that drinking too much can cause this process to slow down. It can also cause bad bacteria to pass through to your stomach and get you sick.
Your digestive health relies on your stomach’s ability to maintain a certain pH level. Your body must maintain a level of acidity to be able to break down proteins and nutrients that you consume when you eat, and if your levels are off, your digestive health could be the one to feel the negative effects.
Natural vs. Artificial
Naturally occurring alkaline water happens when water from a spring passes over rocks and picks up their minerals. This process naturally increases the alkaline levels of the water and is seen as good for you. This is not the most common way to consume alkaline water because it is not as frequent to come by.
Most alkaline water that is consumed by people is processed by water ionizers to become alkaline. A lot of the alkaline water that is consumed is made during a chemical process called electrolysis. Electrolysis uses an ionizer to raise the pH levels of water to make them alkaline.
This process limits the natural minerals found in the water, and scientists have warned about drinking water with fewer minerals. You can also make your alkaline water using lemon juice, but there's no guarantee that it will help you see a significant difference in its effects on your body. The minerals found in water are essential for bodily functioning, so be sure that you are getting enough!
Is Alkaline Water Safe?
Alkaline water doesn’t pose any safety issues, per se. If you are currently dealing with kidney disease, it’s best to stay away from alkaline water as there could be harmful properties that could have a negative effect on you.
It’s important to note that your body does a great job at regulating itself when consuming pH-neutral water. If you have some concerns about your pH levels and think that consuming alkaline water would be a good next step for you, it’s never a bad idea to discuss it with your doctor first.
There aren’t enough scientific claims to say that alkaline water can treat or cure issues within your body, but that doesn't mean that it isn’t safe. Drinking natural alkaline water is considered to be safe because it is naturally alkalized with minerals. You should drink artificially alkaline waters with caution as there are fewer natural minerals in the water.
Drinking too much alkaline water might leave you mineral deficient, so don’t disregard regular tap water just yet. It’s important that you stay hydrated, and drinking alkaline water can help. Consuming normal water on a daily basis is essential in staying hydrated, too.
Where Science Stands
Currently, additional research needs to be done to claim that alkaline water is actively beneficial for your health. However, there are also many ways that we see alkaline water assisting in health-related issues, like acid reflux and blood viscosity levels.
Still, there have not been enough studies that show the long-term effects of drinking alkaline water.
Again, drinking alkaline water is not unsafe in moderation. If you are struggling with more acidic pH levels and this causes acid reflux, you can consider adding alkaline water to your daily life. Though, it’s important that you don’t avoid drinking regular water. Entirely replacing regular water with alkaline water could lead to higher pH levels and cause gastrointestinal issues.
Test Your pH Levels With Vessel Health
Now, you’re probably wondering: How might I find out my pH levels? Another trip to the doctor? How would I know if this could benefit me?
With Vessel Health’s technology, you can avoid having to go to the doctor altogether. Using Vessel Health’s Wellness Test Card, you can learn all about what is going on inside your body by simply taking a test at home. If you want a gauge on your current pH levels. Don't forget, you can connect with one of our nutritionists on staff to get more information!
One of the best things about this technology is that it is really easy to use. When you receive the Test Card from us, you have to use it when you go to the bathroom and then scan it using the Vessel Health app on your phone. Once you have scanned the test, you will get your results instantly. You can learn about your nutrient and mineral levels and understand your body’s pH levels.
It doesn’t just end there. We don’t want to just give you a bunch of numbers and not explain what they mean. We evaluate your levels and then suggest how to improve your lifestyle, dietary, and physical choices to improve your health.
Vessel Health wants to help you understand your body better and with straightforward language. We understand that it can be difficult to fully understand what is going on inside of you and that talking to a doctor can sometimes leave you with more questions. We aim to make it as easy as possible to understand and offer you solutions to improve your health.
Alkaline water can have its benefits. If you are someone with higher acidity levels in your body fluids due to medical conditions, adding alkaline water into your diet could help to balance out your pH levels. Those with acid reflux and higher blood viscosity can consider adding alkaline water into their daily life to see if it can help them with their issues, but you should, of course, be careful.
While there are studies that have been conducted to understand how alkaline water affects the body, there hasn’t been enough to conclude that it should be used in replacement of normal tap water. Water is key in your hydration and should not be expelled from your diet.
You can learn more about your pH levels with Vessel Health before making any significant changes to your diet and water consumption. Regardless of what you do, stay hydrated to be the best version of yourself!