There has been a lot of buzz lately about alkaline water with celebrities swearing by its ability to keep them hydrated.  We know that drinking water is good for your overall health, but is alkaline water a help or is it hype? Honestly, there is little evidence to say definitively that alkaline water is the better choice.  The theories are worth exploring so you can decide for yourself. Let’s go back to chemistry class for a minute and remember the PH scale runs from 1 which is very acidic to 14 which is very alkaline, with a neutral mid-point of 7. Pure water has a PH of 7, alkaline water has a PH of between 7 to 9.5.  Why is this important?  Our bodies have a range of PH levels. Blood has a PH of 7.4, slightly above neutral, while the stomach is very acidic for obvious reasons.

The makeup of the typical American Diet is believed to contribute to chronic-low grade acidosis, or a constant acidic state.  Too much acid in our bodies weakens our systems, to neutralize the body’s excessive levels of acid; our bodies take minerals from our bones and teeth.  If high levels of acid remain, it may lead to diarrhea, anxiety, and impaired immune function.  Our cells could lose their ability to heal, and produce energy, which may lead to the development of cancer cells and an environment for them to flourish.  At the same time if you tip your body’s PH balance from too acidic to too alkaline you can develop metabolic alkalosis which can lead to confusion, vomiting, muscle twitching and hand tremors.

The alternative medicine field believes the best way to maintain optimal health is to keep the body’s PH as close to neutral as possible.  The best way to do this they think is to drink alkaline water to help balance out the body’s acidity and correct the chronic condition without robbing our bones or teeth of needed minerals.  It may also help to lower cholesterol, blood glucose and normalize blood pressure.  One study found that drinking water with an 8.8 PH helped neutralize stomach acid to treat acid reflux.

Alkaline water is also said to neutralize the acid in the bloodstream which increases oxygen levels, improves energy levels and metabolism. It has antioxidants, cleanses the colon, improves the skin, and lubricates the muscles and joints.  One brand of alkaline water claims, “Increased dietary alkalinity reduces body fat, and fatigue, protects bones, supports the immune system, and achieves better overall health.”

This all sounds good, but clinical studies have been inconclusive and the claims unsubstantiated.  There is nothing to support or refute any claims about alkaline water.

It may be more hype than help. Luke Corey with the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine says, “I do not recommend alkaline water to my clients. Regular tap is just as effective as alkaline water in supporting general health and performance.”  source

If drinking alkaline water appeals to you, there are two approaches.  You can turn tap water into alkaline water by running it through an electric ionizer. This will make the PH more alkaline. One thing to note, these machines use titanium and platinum to alter the PH and do not provide the natural minerals your body needs.

The other option is to drink bottled spring or mineral water that flows over rocks and soil picking up minerals that change its PH.  Natural mineral water contains alkalizing compounds that include calcium, silica, bicarbonate, and magnesium.  A few of the best brands to consider are Essentia with a PH of 9.5, Fiji Water with a PH of 7.7, Evian with a PH of 7.2 and Smartwater  with a neutral PH of 7.

Drinking enough water to stay hydrated is the important goal whether it’s alkaline water or regular tap.  Ultimately, the choice is yours.