What is Alkaline Water?
There has been a lot of attention lately on alkaline (pH) water and how it is superior to tap or regular bottled water. But what is alkaline water? It all has to do with the pH (or acidity) of the water. Normal drinking water usually has a pH of 7, which is considered a neutral pH, neither acidic nor basic (aka alkaline). Alkaline water however typically has a pH of 8-9, making it more basic.
Alkaline water also has minerals that give it a negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP). ORP is the ability of water to give antioxidant benefits and the more negative the ORP, the more of an antioxidant it is. Alkaline water has a negative ORP and therefore works as an antioxidant. In contrast, most soft drinks are very acidic (low pH) and have a positive ORP, leading experts to think that it leads to various health problems.
Why Does This Matter?
Most people do not need to drink alkaline water for its benefits. However, there is evidence to suggest that alkaline water may benefit people with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and acid reflux (GERD). A small study done in 2012 tested the benefits of alkaline water (pH of 8.8) on the acid production in the stomach. The study found that the alkaline water immediately deactivated pepsin and buffered acidity within the stomach, potentially decreasing the incidence of acid reflex and stomach ulcers. For patients who suffer from acid reflux, this could be a great help in reducing their symptoms.
While there is not a lot of research yet on the benefits of alkaline water, some researchers have also hypothesized that alkaline water may also have colon-cleansing properties, strengthen the immune system, help with weight loss, and better hydrate the skin. They have also found that people drinking alkaline water have less blood viscosity (thinner blood), which allows for the body to better oxygenate itself.
Are There Side Effects?
While drinking alkaline water may have its benefits, it is also important that patients do not drink excessive amounts of alkaline water. Drinking too much can lessen stomach acid too much. Having a proper amount of stomach acid is important for digestion and killing off bacteria. Too much alkaline water also decreases the amount of calcium in the body, which can worsen bone health over time. However, this would be in extreme cases. Other extreme side effects may be nausea, vomiting, muscle twitching and confusion.
What to Drink?
In general, drinking alkaline water is very safe. Patients who want to drink alkaline water should be assured that they will not have any negative side effects. Most commercial alkaline water sold in stores has electrolytes infused into it that help to prevent side effects. Anyone who experiences any negative symptoms should stop and refer to their PCP.
Quality alkaline water brands that are approved by Sapphire Health and Wellness include Essentia Water and Body Armor Sport Water.