Last Updated on March 12, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
When it comes to planning a healthy diet, we conduct much research. You may have heard the recent hype surrounding alkaline water due to its myriad of health claims from weight loss, regulating the body’s pH levels to even preventing chronic diseases.
Numerous celebrities including Beyoncé and Miranda Kerr have lauded this drink for its acclaimed benefits.
When such hype is created, it’s normal for us to blindly follow them. However, it is wiser to think twice and question yourself before doing that. Just like any other issues, there are both its positive and negative aspects to consider.
So, in this article, we’ve covered all its pros and cons that you should be aware of before following this trend.
What is Alkaline Water?
The word ‘alkaline’ in alkaline water means basic and is referred to as the pH level of a substance. The pH means the potential of hydrogen. It is used to determine the acidity or basicity of a substance on a scale from 0 to 14 where the pH of water is 7 which is considered neutral. Anything above 7 is acidic whereas below than it is said to be basic.
Our body has natural mechanisms that maintain our pH level to around 7.35-7.45. However, the food and drink we consume are, usually, more acidic, affecting the pH level.
Drinking alkaline water helps maintain the pH level as they are less acidic and different from natural water, meaning that they’re able to correct the pH level. However, this doesn’t mean that it completely changes the pH level. Drinking it intensely has the possibility of aggravating your health instead.
History of Alkaline Water
Although the benefits of alkaline water were discovered, only, in the 1960s, the use of it for therapeutic purposes stretches back to thousands of years. For instance, religious gurus from India taught their devotees to drink from pure copper containers.
This ionized the water and killed harmful bacteria. It is said that even Hippocrates, the father of medicine observed and associated that alkaline baths would improve diabetes, allergies, urinary stone and stimulate the pancreas.
In the 1960s, Japan continued the research on alkaline water which was started by Russia, leading to the development of alkaline water machines that would split water into acidic or alkaline streams.
With better research, the benefits of alkaline water were acknowledged and the use of these machines increased, especially in the medical field. By 1970, Korea recognized the benefits of alkaline water and began utilizing these machines for medical purposes. Later on, they even went on to introduce new affordable alkaline machine for personal household purposes.
Nowadays, alkaline filters are readily available in stores which are more affordable than the electric ones. People are getting conscious about the high level of acidity on their daily meals thus the industry is thriving.
Pros of Alkaline Water
Alkaline water offers numerous advantages from being health risk-free to improving your bone health. Let’s take a deeper look at why drinking alkaline water is said to be beneficial for us.
Alkaline water is a good antioxidant because it has less Oxidation-reduction potential (ORP). This means that they inhibit the growth of oxygen and prevents oxidation. More so, alkaline water has free electrons which it can release in order to neutralize and fight off harmful free radical, which can have a bad effect on your health.
Antioxidants curb this risk of numerous health problems and make it possible to achieve a healthier life by increasing the alkalinity and decreasing the overall acidity of the body.
2. Alleviates Acid Reflux
Acid reflux, also known as heartburn, is a medical condition that occurs when an acidic content of the body, flows back towards the oesophagus, creating a burning pain. This condition is risky because if it occurs twice a week, it can even lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease.
According to the study published in Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, drinking alkaline water can work as a medicine for diseases such as acid reflux. Simply, because water having 8.8 pH level can deactivate enzyme called pepsin which contributes to this disease.
3. Maintains the Acidity of the Body
One of the main benefits0 of alkaline water is that it maintains the acidity of the body. A lower level of acid is, actually, beneficial for us. More so, it reduces risks of diseases caused by high acid levels such as diabetes, arthritis and other chronic diseases.
4. Detoxifies the Body
Alkaline water detoxifies the body by contributing water to the kidney. With a sufficient amount of water, the kidney can carry out processes that eliminate toxins, which are collected in the body due to various reasons such as pollution, stress, medication and lack of nutrition.
Toxins are not good for your health so in order to fight them, you should include a healthy diet and drink an adequate amount of alkaline water.
5. Improves Bone Health
According to some researches, alkaline water has a positive effect on the process called bone resorption, where the old bones are replaced by new bones. This process makes the bone stronger and reduces the chances of bone loss.
However, the effects were seen to be small. In order to figure out if alkaline water does have a long term effect on bone health, there’s a need for more proper research.
Cons of Alkaline Water
Even though drinking alkaline water is safe and doesn’t aggravate your health. There are certain drawbacks to consider. Here are the cons of alkaline water:
1. Lack of Proper Scientific Evidence
One of the primary concern is that this so-called natural remedy may not have its claimed health benefits. The lack of researches and official studies makes one question its effectiveness. Opponents, even assert that obtaining the same result is possible by, simply, adapting to a healthy diet and drinking an adequate amount of normal water.
2. Requires Special Filters
Another issue is that it’s not possible to make ionized water in your home without an instalment of a proper system. You need special filters or ionizers that make the water alkaline through a process called electrolysis.
Comparatively, the cost of drinking alkaline water is much higher than drinking plain water since you need special filters to make it. These ionizer tanks can cost from £750 to £2,000. Although you have the option of buying droplets that make your water alkaline, it will still end up costing more than buying normal bottled water.
4. Decreases the Level of Stomach Acidity
High level of stomach acid isn’t good for your health. However, this doesn’t mean that your body doesn’t need acid at all. The acid present in the stomach is responsible for regulating the pH of the substances that enter the body so is important.
Excessive intake of alkaline water can reduce the natural acidity of the stomach and can even cause metabolic alkalosis. So, it must be drunk, only, at a moderate amount.
To conclude, alkaline water has numerous advantages to offer from improving bone health to alleviating disease. However, the issue regarding alkaline water is the sheer lack of studies and evidence to support its claims.
Although the alleged benefits are incredible, there is no certainty over it. So, you should really think carefully before deciding to invest in this.