Last Updated June 13th, 2021
What is alkaline water?
The pH of normal drinking water, in general, is neutral (around pH 7). If the pH of the water is above 7, then it is alkaline water. There are various chemicals and gases that can change the pH of the water to acidic or alkaline in nature.
The pH of alkaline water is usually higher than normal drinking water (greater than pH 7). It usually has a pH of 8 or 9 but pH alone is not sufficient to render alkalinity to the water. Alkaline water also contains alkaline minerals and negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP). ORP is the ability of water to act as a pro-oxidant or as an antioxidant. The more negative the ORP value, the more will be its antioxidant property.
Few interesting facts
- Rainwater is slightly acidic in nature. This is because of the presence of acidic gases like carbon dioxide in the air that lowers the pH of rainwater.
- Despite the gastric juices, bile acids, etc., in your body, the normal blood pH is 7.35 – 7.45.
- Your body uses all the neutralizing reserves like calcium, magnesium, and potassium to neutralize the pH. Because it is busy normalizing the pH, these mineral reserves get used up. Then your bones and muscles get affected as they all have these 3 nutrients as a vital component.
What about the pH of other foods?
If the pH water deviates significantly from neutral pH it will definitely have some effects. Highly acidic water will cause the dissolution of metals and tastes sour, while alkaline water tastes bitter.
Why does your body need an alkaline pH anyway?
It minimizes inflammation and pain
Inflammation and pain go hand in hand. Acidic foods feed on your body or in other words, your body has to work extra hard to process or neutralize it. Because of this, there will be damage or injury pertaining to your bones and muscles giving rise to inflammation. An alkaline pH helps in regenerating your body. Your body won’t have to work unnecessarily hard to neutralize it.
It lowers blood pressure
The blood pressure increases with a decrease in pH (acidic pH). It is proven that high blood pressure is linked to high blood pH.
Increases vitamin absorption
Absorption of vitamins from food is better enabled under an alkaline pH.This is possible because of calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Better bone health
High blood pH means more utilization of calcium, potassium, or magnesium. More utilization of calcium for neutralization means more depletion of calcium from the bones. Calcium is the chief component defining the strength of your bones. Alkaline pH helps in maintaining good bone health while acidic pH can cause damaging effects on your bone like osteoporosis (reduced bone strength), fractures, etc.
Cancer cells love living in an acidic environment for their growth and multiplication. An alkaline pH prevents cancer cells from growing or even multiplying.
What are the benefits of alkaline water?
The benefits of alkaline water range from weight loss, anti-aging, and even cancer prevention.
Alkaline water and anti-aging
- Alkaline water contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, sodium, and no fat. The vitamins present are great antioxidants.
- There are many processes in your body that result in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These are unstable compounds that exert a damaging effect on your tissues. The ROS generation increases with age. The damage or stress induced by ROS is called oxidative stress.
- Antioxidants counter the effect of the ROS. So the inclusion of alkaline water helps protect your body from tissue damage. There are studies to prove this claim as well.
- The antioxidant property of alkaline water helps in protecting the DNA and also promotes growth stimulation activities.
Alkaline water helps in curing constipation
- Constipation is a condition where the process of waste removal is too delayed.
- Alkaline water keeps your digestive tract hydrated.
- There are good bacteria in your gut to aid in waste removal. These bacteria live in an oxygen deficit condition.
- The alkaline water helps in maintaining the oxygen deficiency and also preventing fermentation of these gut bacteria which can otherwise lead to digestive discomfort.
It helps in improving immune health
- A good gut bacterial population indicates a good immune capacity.
- You already know that alkaline water helps in maintaining good gut health.
- Also, it is antioxidant rich and thus helps in countering toxins.
- Insulin is a hormone that converts free glucose in the blood to a reserve form. Diabetes is a condition of high blood glucose. This can occur in two ways: insufficient or negligible secretion of insulin – type 1 diabetes and the body’s insulin fails to process the glucose (insulin resistance) – type 2 diabetes
- Diabetes is also correlated to the damage caused by ROS. Consuming alkaline water can help counter this effect.
- One of the studies in China, in 2010, was done on 50 diabetic patients. It was reported that blood glucose reduced significantly in 85% of the patients.
- When the acidic contents of the stomach vomit back into the food pipe, it leads to irritation. This is called acid reflux.
- A prolonged acid reflux condition can result in chronic damage (a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD).
- It was found very effective for chronic diarrhea, indigestion, abnormal gastrointestinal fermentation, and hyperacidity.
- There are studies that also prove that alkaline water at pH 8.8 terminates an enzyme that is connected to reflux disease. It also reduces the acidity of the stomach contents. This research is done on a laboratory scale.
- Alkaline water does not reduce the function of the stomach acid. The purpose of the stomach acid is to kill bacteria and other pathogens, food digestion and nutrient absorption.
Possible side effects and risks of alkaline water
Alkaline drinking water is considered safe but it may produce some uneasy side effects. It can lower the stomach acidity. More the acidity of the stomach acid, better will be the killing of infectious microbes and prevents disease-causing microbes from entering the blood.
Higher 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, an excessively alkaline condition that can result in the following symptoms:
How to make alkaline water?
There are machines that make alkaline water but they are expensive. Bottled mineral water tends to be neutral or slightly alkaline. You can find the details of the pH level of bottled waters from some manufacturers.
Sparkling waters are acidic. This involves carbonation where carbon dioxide is introduced into the water thereby decreasing the pH or in other words, increasing the acidity. You can prepare alkaline water in the following manner:
- Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your water. Lemon juice mixed with water exhibits anionic properties. Upon consumption, this turns alkaline.
- Use distilled water. This minimizes the amount and number of additives or added compounds in water.
- Do not drink alkaline water during your meals. This is because drinking alkaline water with food can negatively affect your body’s ability to digest food.
- If at all you experience any unusual side effects, discontinue using alkaline water and consult your doctor.
The final outcome
Alkalinity has its own associated benefits right from good bone health, to the reduction of blood pressure, cancer prevention, and vitamin absorption. Apart from foods like green tea, apples, kale, beets, bananas, tomatoes, etc., there are certain researches to point out the inclusion of alkaline water to neutralize acidity.
There are researches to show the countering effect of alkaline water in diabetes, cancer, curing constipation, anti-aging, and acid reflux. Your body is a natural processing machine. It has the capacity to neutralize the effects of an acidic pH.
If your body becomes too acidic you tend to breathe out more carbon dioxide to bring the pH to a neutral state. Maintaining hydration is important and nature has provided you with water to hydrate yourself.
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