Alkaline Water Hype vs. Potential Benefits & Side Effects

The Truth Behind Alkaline Water

Alkaline Water Hype vs. Potential Benefits & Side Effects

  • By Nola Water
  • 12 Apr, 2019

 Alkaline water is commonly produced by an “ionizer,” a device that changes the chemical composition of water. “The idea is that an ionizer changes the pH level of water,” Ms. Czerwony says. “This makes the water more alkaline and less acidic.

” In addition, marketers claim alkaline water works as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage that leads to disease. “Our bodies are wonderful machines. If there is an imbalance, we have ways to correct it.

” They also claim numerous health benefits: improved digestion, slowing down the aging process, boosting the body’s mineral content and preventing bone loss. But such claims have not been properly tested in controlled scientific studies, and some even run counter to what science tells us about the body.

“There have been no empirical studies showing that alkaline water has health benefits,” Ms. Czerwony says. “If and when there are, they’ll be worth discussing.”

The general consensus is that alkaline drinking water is safe. Although, there are some symptoms that can arise.

Some negative side effects include the lowering of natural stomach acidity, which helps kill bacteria and prevent other undesirable pathogens from entering the bloodstream.

Additionally, an overall excess of alkalinity in the body may cause gastrointestinal issues and skin irritations. Too much alkalinity may also agitate the body’s normal pH, leading to metabolic alkalosis, a condition that may produce the following symptoms:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • hand tremors
  • muscle twitching
  • tingling in the extremities or face
  • confusion

Alkalosis can also cause a decrease in free calcium in the body, which can affect bone health. However, the most common cause of hypocalcemia isn’t from drinking alkaline water, but from having an underactive parathyroid gland.

If you've heard the marketing pitches, “alkaline water can increase your energy, hydrate you better than regular water, prevent digestive issues and even slow aging,” you may have gained interest in alkaline water.

Science does not support these claims, says Beth Czerwony MS, RD, LD, a Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian.

“This may be a case where you slap a ‘natural’ label on water and charge double, and people want to believe that it’s worth more,” Ms. Czerwony says.

Unless you have certain conditions such as kidney or respiratory disease, your body maintains a healthy pH balance on its own. “Our bodies are wonderful machines,” Ms. Czerwony says. “If there is an imbalance, we have ways to correct it. For example, if your blood becomes too acidic, you breathe out more carbon dioxide to bring the levels down.”

In addition, once alkaline water hits your stomach, the gastric juices will neutralize it — another example of natural balancing. This makes any resulting benefits unly. Skewing your body’s pH balance too far on the alkaline side can do damage over time, too, particularly by throwing off the digestive process.

“Extremes in either direction — too acidic or too alkaline — can cause problems,” Ms. Czerwony says. “Your body wants something closer to neutral, and it has ways of achieving it.” Hydration is crucial for health, of course. However, because credible research backing the benefits of alkaline water is lacking, Ms. Czerwony recommends sticking with plain water.

“Water is great,” she says. “Just drink it. Don’t fancify it.”

In nature, water flows down mountain streams and picks up alkaline minerals from the porous rock it runs through affecting its pH and making it naturally alkaline.

Companies have created machines that make water alkaline though ionizing the water or sometimes called “electrolysis.” During electrolysis, water ionizers split apart water molecules with electricity to artificially alter the pH and create alkaline water. 

Naturally alkaline water has a chemical makeup that is significantly different from artificially alkaline water. The most important factor is that artificially alkaline water causes unwanted side effects and should not be consumed often.

When measured in drinking water, an alkaline pH can be a result of either natural or unnatural conditions in the water. Thus when comparing two waters, each with a pH of 9.5, one can be healthful while the other causes side effects.

Water ionizers split apart water molecules with electricity to artificially create alkaline water. Why is this artificial? All water found in nature has a pH that perfectly corresponds to the minerals in the water.

When you drink alkaline water, the body assumes it is receiving alkaline minerals, calcium and magnesium.

The problem with ionized water is that the body thinks it is receiving more alkaline minerals than what are actually present in the water. 

If our goal is to be healthy, why would we drink or eat anything artificial? For the companies manufacturing ionizer machines, creating naturally alkaline water simply costs too much. Don’t expect the manufactures to start discussing the issue anytime soon. Most people never question whether water is naturally or artificially alkaline and these companies prefer it that way.

Artificially alkaline water only neutralizes acidity where it has direct contact, the stomach and small intestine. When consumed daily, the small intestine in particular becomes overly alkaline and side effects begin to appear. Most common are erratic heart behavior, hypertension, nervousness/anxiety, urinary tract and bladder infections, and stabbing side pains.

We have spoken to numerous individuals who were hospitalized for heart conditions that magically disappeared when they stopped drinking artificially alkaline or ionized water. Why would anyone ingest anything unnatural when natural alternatives are available at a comparable cost?

More severe side effects were observed in a clinical study involving rats. The study revealed injury to cardiac tissue (heart muscle) as a result of drinking ERW (Electrolyzed Reduced Water), or water created by ionizer machines (artificially alkaline water). In an age when heart disease is a leading killer, ionized water is simply not a smart choice.

Before the body is stressed by the artificial alkalinity, it enjoys two wonderful benefits from drinking ionized water- increased hydration and more antioxidants.

In fact, if these machines could do what they do WITHOUT altering the pH, they would not be nearly as harmful.

The low ORP (one measure of antioxidant effects) and microclustering are responsible for 99% of all benefits observed from drinking ionized water.  

For excellent health, it is important to drink naturally alkaline water daily. Doing so supplies the body with the alkaline minerals it needs to buffer acid. While all of these minerals are not nutritionally available, they do buffer acid. 

In the case of naturally alkaline water, it is recommended to drink at least two liters per day. Since the alkalinity is a result of naturally alkaline minerals calcium and magnesium, the body is capable of using the minerals it needs and storing or discarding any excess.

If you are drinking ionized water or artificially alkaline water, it is always advised to measure your body's pH daily and regulate your consumption accordingly. Ionized water should not be used as a daily drinking water as you can easily become too alkaline and harm the body.

For water filtration solutions that protect you and your family from contaminated or improperly treated water, contact your local water experts at New Orleans Water Systems LLC, your authorized Kinetico dealer. 


Is Alkaline Water Really Better for You?

Alkaline Water Hype vs. Potential Benefits & Side Effects
Continue reading the main story

Q. Are there benefits of drinking alkaline water, or is what I’m reading just a bunch of hooey?

A. Despite the claims, there’s no evidence that water marketed as alkaline is better for your health than tap water.

“It’s all about marketing,” said Tanis Fenton, a registered dietitian and epidemiologist at Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. “There is no science to back it up.”

The pH scale indicates whether a liquid is more acidic (lower pH) or alkaline (higher pH). Pure water has a neutral pH of 7, while tap water has some natural variation depending on its mineral content. Most bottled waters are slightly acidic, and sodas and juices are even more so.

Bottled waters marketed as being alkaline typically claim to have a pH between 8 and 10. Some are from springs or artesian wells and are naturally alkaline because of dissolved minerals. Others are made with an ionizing process, and water ionizing machines are also marketed for home use.

Alkaline water companies make vague claims that it will “energize” and “detoxify” the body and lead to “superior hydration.” And some claim that ionized water can prevent everything from headaches to cancer.

But there’s no evidence that drinking water with a higher pH can change the pH of your body, or even that this outcome would provide benefits.

Blood is tightly regulated at around pH 7.4, while the stomach, which secretes hydrochloric acid to digest proteins and kill food-borne pathogens, is very acidic, with a pH of 1.5 to 3.5. If you drink water that is slightly alkaline, Dr. Fenton said, the hydrochloric acid in the stomach quickly neutralizes it before it’s absorbed into the blood.

Several small studies funded by companies that sell alkaline water suggest that it could improve hydration in athletes, but any potential benefits were modest, and an easier way to improve hydration is just to drink more water. And a 2016 review of research by Dr. Fenton and a colleague found no evidence that alkaline water or an alkaline diet could treat or prevent cancer.

A study published last year found that adopting a plant-based diet and drinking alkaline water worked as well as medications to alleviate symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux, a severe form of acid reflux in which stomach acid travels all the way up to the throat.

“I think that it can be a helpful tool for patients to help with their symptoms while they’re transitioning to a more plant-based diet,” said Dr. Craig Zalvan, the study’s lead author and a laryngologist at Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

But he believes that most of the improvement in his patients comes from dietary changes rather than alkaline water. Once symptoms improve, he says there’s no need to keep drinking alkaline water.

There are also hints of potential risks from alkaline water. Rat pups given alkaline water showed impaired growth and damage to cardiac muscle.

And a 2015 report said that when a municipal water plant in a town in Germany accidentally increased the water’s pH to 12, skin burns ensued.

While such a high pH is unly in bottled alkaline water, it’s a reminder that a higher pH isn’t necessarily better.

“The only health effects that we know of are danger signs, so for people to continue to market alkaline water — they’re really as bad as the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear,” Dr. Fenton said.

Do you have a health question? Ask Well

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Is alkaline water a miracle cure – or BS? The science is in

Alkaline Water Hype vs. Potential Benefits & Side Effects

My friend Kate has become very basic lately. She seems to have a bottle of alkaline water with her at all times and, the way she goes on about it, you’d think it was the elixir of life. It has improved her skin! Upped her focus! Tastes great! Someone bought her a bottle of the stuff when she was hungover (it’s brilliant for hangovers!) and she’s been a convert ever since.

She’s not the only one. Alkaline water, which is water that has been treated to have a higher pH level than the 6.5-7.5 pH range of most tap and bottled water, is experiencing a surge of popularity.

Beyoncé helped kickstart the trend in 2013 when reports surfaced that she included alkaline water on a rider for her Mrs Carter Show world tour. Tom Brady is another celebrity who has professed his love for the stuff.

According to data from the Beverage Marketing Corporation, a research and consultancy group, the alkaline water market has grown from being a $47m business in 2014 to a $427m business in 2017. It’s projected to be worth $687m by the end of 2018.

There are a variety of alkaline water brands on the market including Core, Essentia, and Alkaline88. Essentia has a pH of 9.5, achieved after putting regular water through an ionizing process that removes acidic components. This, the company claims, results in “better hydration”. Alkaline88 meanwhile, has a pH of 8.8 “designed to obtain optimum body balance”.

Why would drinking water with a higher pH level be better for you? Dr Tanis Fenton, an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary and an evidence analyst for Dietitians of Canada, told me that the marketing claims behind alkaline water are an old idea called the acid-ash hypothesis. This posits that eating certain food meat, dairy and eggs results in something called acid ash in your body, which increases your acid levels and causes adverse health effects including osteoporosis.

Essentia alkaline water. Photograph: BFA/REX/Shutterstock

In 2002 an alternative medicine practitioner called Robert O Young spun the acid-ash hypothesis into a fad alkaline diet, with a popular series of books called the pH Miracle. According to these books, an alkaline diet could treat all manner of woes, from poor digestion to cancer. Young, by the way, was sentenced to three years in jail in 2017 for practicing medicine without a license.

Beyoncé helped kickstart the trend in 2013 when reports surfaced that she included alkaline water on a rider for her Mrs Carter world tour. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

While people have been touting the benefits of upping your alkaline levels for decades, Fenton says the belief is not supported by any scientific evidence.

Fenton, who analyzed studies looking at the association of alkaline water with cancer treatment, notes that while “there are a few very poorly designed studies” that suggest alkaline water confers health benefits, there is no rigorous evidence this is the case.

What’s more, Fenton stresses, you simply can’t change the pH of your body by drinking alkaline water. “Your body regulates its [blood] pH in a very narrow range because all our enzymes are designed to work at pH 7.4. If our pH varied too much we wouldn’t survive.”

While you can’t change the pH of your blood, your diet does affect the pH of your urine. “Most people’s urine is about 6, which is acidic,” she explains. However, “that’s no problem, that shows our kidneys is working.

” So while it’s possible drinking alkaline water may make your urine less acidic, that doesn’t really make a difference; you’re literally just flushing money down the drain.

Ultimately, says Fenton, alkaline water is a solution to a problem that doesn’t need solving.

If alkaline water is junk science why is it so popular? “It sounds plausible,” says Tim Caulfield, the author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?, which debunks celebrity health advice. “It is a science-y sounding idea that has intuitive appeal.

Alkaline water is also part of the multitrillion-dollar wellness industry, much of which is built on the marketing of science-free products and practices.

There seems [to be] an unquenchable thirst for new and unique strategies for maximizing health and avoiding disease.”

As well as riding the wellness wave, alkaline water is also part of a “rising connoisseurship around water”, says Lucie Greene, the worldwide director of a trends and consumer behavior group at advertising agency J Walter Thompson. Bottled water recently became the number one drink in the US for the first time in history, overtaking soda, which is declining in popularity.

“We’re seeing multiple trends and selling points within water at the moment,” Greene explained over email. “From ‘raw’ water (literally water from the ground) which was popularized by Silicon Valley Burning Man advocates, to water with electrolytes.

There are now halal mineral waters.

And waters that have been doctored to have special properties and benefits, Oxigen, the oxygenated water brand that claims to boost the benefits of water by harnessing O4, a proprietary molecule that delivers a concentrated dose of oxygen.”

Greene also notes that Instagram has radically “accelerated the pace of food, drink and health trends”. We’re seeing things move “from fringe to global trend at a much faster rate than before”. Brands including Essentia have capitalized on this with influencer marketing and paid social media placements.

If alkaline water is just a fad with no scientific basis, however, what about people my friend Kate, who swear they feel its benefits?

Well, says Dr Fenton, it’s possible that they’re drinking more water than they were before, which is not a bad thing. Also, she says, “have you heard of the placebo effect?”

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Alkaline water: Health benefits and risks

Alkaline Water Hype vs. Potential Benefits & Side Effects

Alkaline water is the opposite of acidic water. It has a higher pH level than plain water.

Claims that it has various health benefits have helped increase the popularity of alkaline diets and sales of machines that turn water alkaline.

Ionizing machines are one example of these products. These can cost over a thousand dollars.

But what scientific evidence lies behind drinking alkaline water? Are there any proven health benefits?

The pH of water is neutral, around pH 7. Chemicals and gases can change this to make it more acidic or more alkaline.

Share on PinterestThe pH of water is around 7, but some people say it may be more healthful to drink water that is alkaline.

Rainwater’s pH is slightly below neutral, because there is carbon dioxide from the air, and this increases acidity.

  • Acidic substances have a pH of below 7.0, down to zero. The pH of vinegar is around pH 3, lemon juice around pH 2, and battery acid around pH 1.
  • Alkaline substances have a pH up to 14. Baking soda’s pH is between pH 8 and 9, and milk of magnesia is between pH 10 and 11.

Water can be high or low in pH, but if it is too high or too low, it can have adverse effects.

Water that is too alkaline has a bitter taste. It can cause deposits that encrust pipes and appliances. Highly acidic water may corrode metals or even dissolve them.

Alkaline water has become popular in recent years due to a belief that it may benefit health.

Bone health and osteoporosis

Some research has been done on the effects of alkaline intake on bones. A study published in Bone found an effect on bone resorption. Bone resorption is the process where old bone cells are broken down and replaced by new ones.

Less bone resorption and more mineral density result in better bone strength.

The authors concluded that “a bicarbonate- and calcium-rich alkali mineral water decreased bone resorption more than a calcium-rich acidic mineral water.”

However, this was a small effect.

The scientists called for more research, to see if the benefit of less bone resorption was long-term and could improve bone mineral density.

Another study, published in Nutrition Journal, compared the impact of an acidic diet, rather than alkaline water, on osteoporosis, a disease marked by weak and brittle bones.

Reviewing the background to the study, the authors noted a high number of claims being made on the Internet. These claims suggested “that alkaline diets and related commercial products counteract acidity, help the body regulate its pH, and thus prevent disease processes.”

The review used high-quality evidence to conclude that acid from the modern diet does not cause osteoporosis. It also concluded that an alkaline diet or alkaline supplements or salts do not prevent osteoporosis.

A review of studies published in 2012 found that an alkaline diet resulted in urine that was more alkaline, and possibly less calcium in the urine.

However, the researchers did not expect this to reflect total calcium levels, and they found no evidence that this would improve bone health or help prevent osteoporosis.


A review of the effects of alkalis on cancer was published by Dr. Tanis Fenton and colleagues in the journal BMJ Open.

The review assessed thousands of studies, but the authors found only one proper, randomized test of acid in the diet and cancer of the urinary bladder.

They found no studies about alkaline water and cancer in humans.

The researchers note: “In our experience, patients with cancer are approached by salespeople who are promoting water alkalinizers as a way to treat their cancer.”

They conclude:

“Despite the promotion of the alkaline diet and alkaline water by the media and salespeople, there is almost no actual research to either support or disprove these ideas.”

One study has suggested that an alkaline diet, but not specifically alkaline water, may enhance the action of some chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer.

Acid reflux

Acid reflux disease is when the contents of the stomach, which are acidic, splash back up the food pipe.

Acid reflux that keeps happening for a long time can cause damage and a disease known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

A study published in Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology found that drinking alkaline water might be worth further study as a supplement to other treatments for reflux disease.

It found that alkaline water at pH 8.8 stops an enzyme that is connected to reflux disease. It also appeared to reduce the acidity of the stomach contents.

The work was done in a laboratory rather than in humans. More research would be needed to support these findings.

Moreover, stomach acid exists for a purpose. It kills bacteria and other pathogens, and it helps our bodies to digest food and absorb nutrients.

Blood pressure and diabetes

Scientists in Shanghai found that 3 to 6 months after drinking alkaline water, people with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high blood lipids had lower measures in each of these factors.

In 2016, researchers found that a high-pH electrolyte water reduced blood viscosity in 100 adults, after exercising. This may help reduce cardiovascular strain due to dehydration.

However, the scientists point out that participants had different measures of whole blood viscosity at the outset, which could have affected the results.

It is worth noting that the study was sponsored by Essentia Water, who also provided the alkaline water used.

As there is no evidence to support the health benefits of alkaline water, there is no recommended amount that improves health.

However, if you wish to start drinking alkaline water, start with a low intake and increase it gradually. This can reduce the corrosive effects of highly alkaline water.

The alkaline diet, said Fenton’s study, is promoted to correct “the acid state that the modern diet creates.”

It includes more fresh fruits and vegetables and reduced protein intake.

“The marketing of the alkaline diet promotes not only a diet, but also the sale of related supplements and water alkalinizer machines through almost every media medium, including websites, books, and videos,” the authors wrote.

A review published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health concluded that an alkaline diet may have some benefits.

Fruits and vegetables, say the researchers, have a negative acid load that could improve the balance between sodium and potassium, with possible benefits for bone and muscle health. This could help prevent high blood pressure, strokes, and other chronic diseases.

Children with severe metabolic acidosis tend to have low levels of growth hormone, and this can lead to short stature. An alkaline diet may help to reduce problems related to low growth hormone in those who are susceptible.

An alkaline diet also appears to increase magnesium in cells. Magnesium, in turn, helps activate vitamin D.

However, none of these findings relate specifically to alkaline water.


A study published in 2016 looked at the effect of consuming alkaline water on 150 mice over a period of 3 years.

Results suggested that those who drank alkaline water had signs of greater longevity, in other words, they aged less and were more ly to live longer.

No significant differences were seen in the heart, liver, kidneys, brain, or intestine of the groups studied, and no damage occurred, but there were differences in how the mice and their organs aged.

Does alkaline water promote weight loss?

Alkaline water has shown no benefits for general health and metabolism.

While it will not add calories as part of a balanced or managed diet, there is no research that supports alkaline water as a standalone weight loss remedy.

Drinking water that is too alkaline may have adverse effects.

Researchers who looked into the link between alkaline water, an alkaline diet, and cancer said that an alkaline diet could be harmful, as it encourages people to avoid foods that contain important nutrients.

They concluded that “Promotion of alkaline diet and alkaline water to the public for cancer prevention or treatment is not justified.”

Possible problems

The World Health Organization (WHO) note that, just as too much acid is corrosive, so is too much alkali.

In 2001, scientists published findings following a study in which rats at different stages of life consumed alkaline water of pH 11.2 or pH 12 for a year.

At the end of the experiment, the rats had lost weight or experienced delayed growth, and female rats had fur that was thin in patches and appeared dull. Some of the rats had discoloration in the oral mucosa.

The review that was published in the BMJ found that, among the studies of alkaline water they reviewed, “none […] supported the promotions that suggest alkaline water supports good health.”

Machines called ionizers make water alkaline, but they are expensive.

Bottled mineral water tends to be neutral or slightly alkaline. Some manufacturers may state the pH level of their bottled waters.

Sparkling waters are acidic. Carbonation introduces carbon dioxide, which lowers the pH and increases acidity.

The website promotes water ionizers. It says that “Because ionized water contains so many active hydrogen molecules, it is able to act as a powerful antioxidant that searches out and destroys free radicals.”

However, the site also emphasizes the message:

“You must understand that there are no benefits to drinking alkaline water.”

It is only the ionizing, they say, that brings the benefits, yet there is little to no published research to support ionized water for health.

The Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, in their article, “Alkaline water: Don’t believe the marketing hype,” advise people to drink water, but make it plain water, because too much acidity or too much alkalinity can cause problems.

They point out that the human body is designed to find its own balance.

People should think carefully whether it is worth investing in expensive equipment that is unly to make a difference.


Alkaline Water: Healthy Drink or Marketing Hoax?

Alkaline Water Hype vs. Potential Benefits & Side Effects

Fact or fiction: alkaline water will improve one's health?

Despite a well regulated municipal water supply and near nationwide access to safe drinking water, Americans spend over $12 billion each year on bottled water.

We are greeted with an ever expanding selection of waters for sale—pure water, water with electrolytes, flavored water, water from a spring, water from a glacier, water from a drought ridden state. But few varieties of water make as bold-faced claims of improving health as alkaline water.

Available bottled or by do-it-yourself purifier, alkaline water is touted as anything from a fountain of youth to a panacea. Does it hold up to the hype?

What is “Alkaline Water”?

First, a brief review course in high school chemistry. The pH, or potential hydrogen, scale runs from zero to fourteen, with 7 as the neutral middle. An acid is a substance with a pH of less than 7. A basic or alkaline substance has a pH of greater than 7.

The World Health Organization has no health based guideline for pH in our drinking water. There is no definitive evidence that identifies an optimal pH—in the US, water from the tap or bottle ranges anywhere from 5.2 to 9.5 depending on the state or brand of water.

… any company selling water that is both “pure” and “alkaline” is misleading its consumers.

When companies talk about selling you alkaline water, though, they are not just talking about the pH. They are referring to alkalinity—a substance’s ability to buffer acid, preventing rapid changes in pH.

Regardless of its pH, for water to have alkalinity requires the presence of mineral compounds—you cannot magically change the alkalinity of pure H2O without adding something to it (magnesium, calcium, bicarbonate, etc.).

Among other things, this means that any company selling water that is both “pure” and “alkaline” is misleading its consumers.

There are two warring camps in the alkaline water world—those who support at home water ionizers (“artificial”) and those who swear by bottled natural alkalinized water. Artificial alkaline water is generally tap water run through an electrical machine.

The ionization process splits water molecules and raises the water's pH. Companies that make naturally alkaline water claim that artificial alkaline water is dangerous.

While some studies in rats have shown damaging side effects with consumption of ionized water, there is no such research in humans.

In comparison, one hundred percent natural alkaline water is born when water picks up minerals (calcium, magnesium, and others) as it passes through rocks in nature, organically changing its pH and alkalinity. Purveyors claim that only this natural water can offer benefits reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and slowing the aging process.

Does Alkaline Water Improve One's Health?

That depends on who you ask. If it is someone who has read scientific literature, the answer will be that there is no evidence indicating benefit or harm from drinking alkaline water. If it is someone trying to sell you an expensive ionizer or alkaline bottled water, the answer is yes, absolutely.

… the pH and alkalinity of the water you consume is ly more or less irrelevant.

In theory, alkaline water serves to balance out a condition called acidosis. In a healthy individual, the lungs and kidneys work to maintain a normal body pH. Problems with these organs can lead to either metabolic or respiratory acidosis (or alkalosis). Human blood has a pH of approximately 7.4—slightly alkaline. A fluctuation of as little as .

05 in blood pH can have serious health consequences (including death), but the pH of the rest of the body can vary widely. In the stomach, for example, where acids help us to digest food, the pH can go as low as 1.5. Alkaline substances can, in essence, cancel out acidity. That’s the idea behind antacids TUMS.

Treatment for acidosis depends on what’s causing the pH imbalance. Water companies suggest that alkaline water will help to maintain your pH, correct side effects from acidosis, increase your energy, improve your thinking, possibly even reverse aging.

The idea that human beings must drink alkaline water for health is partly rooted in the idea that Americans on a high fat modern diet (so, most of them) are in a constant state of acidosis.

It is unclear where, exactly, these companies think this alkaline water is affecting us.

The stomach is highly acidic and those with excessive stomach acid may benefit from the alkaline properties. But drinking water is not going to flush all of the acid your stomach—nor would you want it to (it’s important for things digestion).

Further, and here’s the real kicker, most of the water reabsorption happens in the intestine where your digestive tract secretes enzymes to neutralize stomach contents. So the pH and alkalinity of the water you consume is ly more or less irrelevant. By the time water gets around to affecting your blood, it has already had its pH altered several times by your digestive tract.

The spectacular benefits of alkaline water—detoxification, improved mental clarity, hair growth, Alzheimer’s prevention, just to name a few—are not scientifically backed.

It is undeniable that minerals in naturally alkaline water are an important part of human physiology. There is also some evidence that some minerals may decrease bone loss, but the long term effects on bone density unclear. Perhaps most importantly, people with a balanced diet consume these minerals from other food and drink on a daily basis.

There is absolutely no evidence that alkaline water offers any benefit over any other means of consumption. Here are some other ways to change your pH balance— physical activity and diet. Also, breathing. That said, one of the ways to reduce the risk of acidosis is to stay hydrated. So, in that sense, daily alkaline water will absolutely help.

Dr. Richard Waldhorn, a clinical professor of medicine at Georgetown University, explains:

Despite claims by its proponents that alkaline water will boost metabolism, slow aging, prevent cancer and improve physical appearance for starters, research evidence of support is underwhelming. I had a professor in medical school who used to say that 'the dumbest nephron (functional unit of the kidney) is smarter than the smartest intern.' I would rely on the kidney and respiratory system to take care of acid-base balance.

In general, if a natural remedy seems too good to be true, it usually is. The spectacular benefits of alkaline water—detoxification, improved mental clarity, hair growth, Alzheimer’s prevention, just to name a few—are not scientifically backed.

Purveyors of “natural alkaline water” can preach the hazards of “artificial alkaline water,” but the truth is there is no evidence that their product does any good either. The healthy human body evolved for the careful regulation of our blood pH, no fancy water needed.

If you are concerned that your health is being affected by a pH imbalance, please consult a physician rather than relying on magical water cure-alls.

That said, we can not discount the placebo effect. Some people may feel healthier drinking tap water after it has been processed through a $4000 machine.

Others may swear that drinking alkaline water bottled from Hawaiian springs makes them feel 20 years younger. Still others will be perfectly content filling their reusable water bottles straight from the tap. Regardless of the type of water you consume, the most important thing is that you drink it.


What Is Alkaline Water? – Benefits And Side Effects Of pH Balance

Alkaline Water Hype vs. Potential Benefits & Side Effects

There’s no question the health food world is full of marketing ploys and one-hit-wonder food trends (whatever happened to cloud bread?). But amid all the noise, one wellness rule is tried-and-true: Water is good for you, and you should drink more of it.

Or so I thought. Lately, I’ve heard claims that you should only drink something called alkaline water to be better hydrated during your workout. And I've started seeing it at the grocery store (and in stories about celebrity wellness routines). Could this high-pH H2O live up to the hype? I went to the experts to clear things up.

Time for the “basics”: What is alkaline water?

First, let’s take a trip back to high school chemistry class. Remember acids and bases? Their strength is measured using something called the pH scale.

“The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline (or basic),” explains Lisa Hayim, R.D., & founder of The Well Necessities. The human body has a natural pH of about 7.

4, and regular water has a pH of about 7—right in the middle.

“It’s the job of the lungs, liver, and kidneys to maintain a normal pH in our bodies.”

Enter alkaline water, which is rich in alkalizing ingredients calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate, explains Amy Shapiro, R.D., founder of Real Nutrition NYC. With a pH around 8 or 9, aklaline water is less acidic and more basic than regular water.

You can find alkaline water in bottled form, or you can DIY by using a water ionizer (although they do NOT come cheap—this one on Amazon costs over $1,500!).

Are there any real alkaline water benefits?

“The theory is that by drinking alkaline-enhanced water, you can keep your pH from being too low and therefore too acidic,” Shapiro says—making the water serve as kind of a counterbalance to your body's acidity levels.

As a result, proponents claim that you'll enjoy health and hydration benefits, particularly since the water also includes essential minerals calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium.

And a few of these claims do have some merit. One 2012 study showed that alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 may deactivate the acid pepsin, which could be useful in the treatment of acid reflux disease, Shapiro points out.

However, this was an in vitro study—meaning it wasn't done on humans, just in a petri dish. So it's not clear how those effects could play out IRL.

One small study also found that drinking a mineral-based alkaline water may improve hydration status in healthy adults more than drinking regular water—in the short-term. But this only looked at 38 people, which is not at all a representative sample size.

A 2016 study on 100 adults also showed that drinking alkaline water may help blood flow through the body more easily post-exercise to deliver oxygen to your muscles, Shapiro says.

But all of these studies are small and have serious limitations—so take their findings with a grain of acid-fighting sodium.

Is alkaline water actually legit?

Here's the catch: Your body is already pretty damn good at controlling its pH levels. “It’s the job of the lungs, liver, and kidneys to maintain a normal pH in our bodies,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian nutritionist in NYC. So drinking a fancy water to “balance” things out is kind of pointless because a healthy body is already doing that by itself.

And if you’re drinking it to correct any health issues ( acid reflux), welp, sorry to break it to you, but there’s probably an underlying cause that you should address with your doctor before turning to alkaline water, Gans says.

Should you even drink alkaline water?

Gans says alkaline water has no proven benefits, but isn't necessarily bad for the average person. However, it’s not completely risk-free. Alkaline water can actually be dangerous for people with certain health conditions, such as kidney disease, Gans notes.

And there are some risks even for healthy people. “Too much alkaline water may reduce the amount of stomach acid in the body, which is important for digestion and also to prevent certain illnesses,” Shapiro says.

In some rare cases, going overboard on the water could lead to a state called alkalosis, which has symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, tremors, muscle twitches, and confusion. “This may also cause calcium to leach from the bones, leading to osteoporosis,” Shapiro says.

The most important thing to focus on here is drinking more water in general. “If a bottle of fancy water helps you do that, then one here and there can’t hurt,” Shapiro says.

The bottom line: Don't waste your $$. Regular water is way better, and doesn't come with scary potential side-effects.