Most people who have jumped on the train of drinking alkaline water will swear to you that if you’re still drinking from the tap, you are slowly poisoning your body by filling it full of toxins and making it more acidic. Alkaline water can either be bought by the bottle or you can buy an ionizer machine to turn your tap water into a more alkaline beverage. However, why go through this trouble? Well, the claim is that drinking alkaline water fights inflammation, aging, chronic disease and can even help you to lose weight. However, what is alkaline water and is it really worth all of the hype?
What Is Alkaline Water (also known as Ionized Water)?
The term “alkaline” has its roots in chemistry and we don’t want to go into the dirty details of acids and bases in this article. However, there are two ends of the spectrum that substances can fall under: acidic or basic. Something very acidic would be your stomach acid, while something like bleach would fall into the basic category. Water? It falls exactly in the middle making it a neutral substance that isn’t very reactive, by comparison. However, if you ionize your water by either buying it that way or buying one of those fancy machines we mentioned earlier, you do this by adding minerals to it. Adding minerals such as magnesium carbonate and sodium chloride which makes the water more alkaline. So, why do people drink this stuff?
What’s the Buzz Around Alkaline Water?
The theory is that, by drinking alkaline water, you can make your blood less acidic based on the claim that most chronic diseases develop in an acidic environment. It’s believed that drinking alkaline water regularly reduces chronic inflammation and thus chronic disease. However, what does the science say?
Studies show that what you eat and drink has basically zero impact on your blood pH which is good news because even small fluctuations in your blood pH can literally kill you. And that’s good because if they did, you’d be dead instead of reading this article. Regardless of how much alkaline water you drink, your body has mechanisms in place to keep your blood pH tightly regulated between 7.36 to 7.44. You only see this change in times of extreme sickness such as uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis or drug and alcohol overdoses, none of which are ideal for health. When it comes to what you consume, everything you eat and drink hits your stomach acid during digestion. Then, it travels to your intestines to be absorbed, but your body releases alkaline chemicals to neutralize the stomach acid for the digesting food to travel through your GI tract safely. Long story short, everything ends up being the same pH balance regardless of what it is before it is absorbed into your body and enters your bloodstream.
The Bottom Line?
There’s no research on alkaline water for a reason: any scientist who knows basic biology knows that it has no impact on your blood pH and therefore your health. Most of the hype you hear is from scammers trying to sell you ionizers and anecdotes from people likely experiencing a placebo effect. As long as you are staying hydrated, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and a generally balanced diet, you can still avoid chronic disease and save a lot of money in the process.