In case you didn’t know, water is kind of a big deal in regards to your health. When you are consistently hydrated you can experience better digestion, feelings of satiety, better circulation, and better bowel movements. If regular water can aid these processes in the body, what is alkaline water good for? Is it even necessary for optimal health?
What Is Alkaline Water?
Alkaline water contains a higher pH level that regular filtered water. Americans are fortunate to have access to clean drinking water, but a lot of tap or filtered water can contain traces of heavy metals and fluoride. Alkaline water is filled with alkalizing compounds that include silica, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, and magnesium. Some people are a little skeptical of alkaline water because they believe that the benefits aren’t real.
Many people endorse alkaline water, but there is limited research on its benefits for the human body. That being said, alkaline water theoretically helps to make the body less acidic. The Standard American Diet (SAD) reportedly makes the body more acidic, which can lead to chronic health problems like acidosis, a condition that can lead to hormonal imbalance and metabolic & bone problems.
Because of the overly acidic bodies and diet-related health issues in America, many companies try to push the sales of alkaline water by saying that it can help boost the metabolism, slow bone loss, reverse aging, and improve nutrient absorption. Just as you cannot out supplement a poor diet, you also cannot become healthier by drinking alkaline water and eating the SAD. Alkalizing the body is complex, and alkaline water isn’t the quick fix to a healthier body.
A healthy body has a blood pH of 7.4. There is a natural alkaline/acid ratio of 60/40. A person’s blood pH doesn’t really change because a pH change of 0.05 could have negative effects. People eat overly acidic foods and don’t eat a lot of alkaline foods. Obviously, the body isn’t going to let itself die, so it makes pH adjustments throughout the body to help maintain that 7.4 blood pH level. So the body may borrow minerals from bones, teeth, or organs to neutralize excess acidity. This is where alkaline water comes into the picture.
The idea behind drinking alkaline water is to aid with system and organ function in the body. Some people believe that these benefits are attributed to the minerals in alkaline water as opposed to the pH level. These minerals are beneficial for a healthy body and lowering acidity in the body, which is attractive for those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Just remember that 60/40 blood ratio that was previously mentioned. Too much alkalinity can disrupt the body’s natural blood pH level.
Possible Alkaline Water Benefits
Alkaline water doesn’t need to be dismissed or feared. You just have to look at the whole picture (i.e. your entire diet) when it comes to overall health.
Beneficial For Athletes
Physically active people may benefit the most from drinking alkaline water because exercise causes muscles to produce more hydrogen than one can effectively eliminate. The acidity can induce fatigue, but drinking alkaline water may temper this acidity and improve athletic performance. The mineral content of alkaline water can help people retain more fluid in the cardiovascular system during exercise, which may also help people feel hydrated.
Ionized water has a negative oxidation-reduction potential, meaning that it has disinfectant properties. These properties can help keep your gut free of harmful microorganisms that could be detrimental to optimal digestive function.
Glycation and Alzheimer’s Disease
Glycation is a reaction that occurs when simple sugar molecules, like glucose or fructose, become attached to proteins or fats without enzyme moderation. This can result in advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), which are rogue molecules that can increase a person’s risk of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. In a recent animal study, ionized water lowered glycation levels and reduced liver damage in rats with poor blood sugar levels. Because rats are not humans, more studies need to be done to know if alkaline water has the same effects on humans.
It is possible that alkaline water may offer benefits to some people, but it cannot make you healthier without some sort of dietary intervention and effort on your part.