Alkaline Water: A Full Guide
There is currently a bit of a buzz around the alkaline water. Some advocates for alkaline water believe there are tremendous health benefits from drinking alkaline water over regular water. There are even claims that alkaline water can prevent some chronic diseases.
Alkalinity refers to the pH of the water. The pH level is the number that measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is. It ranges on a scale from 0 to 14. For example, something with a pH of 1 is extremely acidic. Something with a pH of 14 is extremely alkaline. Water tends to remain slightly on the alkaline side of the scale but close to neutral.
Proponents of alkaline water believe that consuming water that is more alkaline than normal can prevent diseases, slow the aging process, and provide a range of other health benefits. By neutralizing the acidity in our bodies with alkaline water, we can promote health and wellness.
What is alkaline water? How is alkaline water different from regular water? And what are the health benefits of alkaline water? This guide will give you the information you need to understand the benefits of alkaline water.
What is Alkaline Water?
The normal pH range of water is between 6.5 and 8.5. The pH ranges because different sources of water are subject to environmental conditions that can affect the pH of the water. Natural water sources tend to be more acidic because of things like acid rain. The Food and Drug Administration regulates water pH and mandates that drinking water remains within this range.
The pH measurement is basically a measure of the amount of free hydrogen available in a substance. The pH measurement is often used as a measure of the overall health of the water. Anything too high or too low on the pH scale is considered unhealthy.
The pH of water changes with the addition of chemical components. Alkaline water is made with the addition of specific minerals like sodium and calcium that raise the pH levels. Alkaline water can be further treated with chemical processes that remove acidic components.
What Makes Alkaline Water Different?
By adding certain elements and compounds to water, and by removing other compounds from the water, alkaline water is made distinctly different from regular water. The natural pH levels of water are determined by a number of environmental and chemical factors.
Natural water sources will vary in pH levels due to the presence of naturally occurring minerals and other ionic chemicals. Magnesium, calcium, and sodium in surrounding soil and in water sources that feed the main water source can give water a pH that tends toward alkaline. However, environmental conditions like acid rain can make the water acidic.
Most of the water we consume is chemically treated. This ensures the removal of pathogens and chemical pollutants. During the treatment process, the pH is balanced to fall within federal guidelines.
The types of water that get bottled or sold in other forms are generally further treated to meet the specifications of the manufacturer. These are also regulated to ensure safety, and to ensure that any health claims can be backed by scientific standards. Alkaline water falls into this category.
What makes alkaline distinctly different from other commercial water is that it is specifically treated to raise the pH level slightly above the standard pH for consumable water. The chemicals used to increase the pH of alkaline water are really simple elements, the same simple elements that can make water more alkaline in nature. The difference with commercially available alkaline water is that these elements are added in a rigorously controlled process.
Natural Alkaline Water Vs. Artificial Alkaline Water
Water that is naturally alkaline gets its alkaline properties from things like porous rocks and other organic materials in the natural environment. Minerals and other ionic compounds naturally dissolve into the water and make its pH alkaline. This is typically in the 8-9 range. This type of natural alkalinity is chemically and physically the same as artificial alkaline water. The problem is that the same natural processes that give the water its alkalinity can also draw out other chemicals that are not safe, or at least do not provide health benefits.
Alkaline water that is bottled for consumption is taken from water sources that are naturally alkaline and it is further refined to remove other impurities that can be harmful or are simply not helpful. Alkaline water available for consumption is produced under strict conditions using refined processes that ensure that the pH levels are exact and that the water contains only the most beneficial sources of alkalinity.
Artificial alkaline water is made by using complex chemical and physical processes that alter the natural pH of water. There are alkaline waters that are produced entirely by processing. This involves processes like ionization and electrolysis that split chemical components into their ionic constituent parts. This can make water alkaline. Most people favor natural alkaline water. The alkalinity derived from natural processes tends to offer the most benefits without any of the potential risks involved with artificial chemical processes.
Alkaline Water Health Benefits
The popularity of alkaline water is due to its many health benefits. Some of the most significant health benefits of alkaline water include:
Research has shown that drinking alkaline water can have a beneficial effect on your bone health. Alkaline water appears to help with bone resorption or the process of building bone density. The more effective your bone resorption, the healthier your bones can be.
The benefits to bone resorption appear to be due to the increased levels of calcium and bicarbonates that are commonly found in alkaline water. This is great news for people who are prone to things like osteoporosis which is a condition in which people experience decreased bone density resulting in brittle bones.
Acid reflux is a painful and damaging condition in which the highly acidic contents of the stomach escape back into the esophagus. Over time, acid reflux can lead to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is the result of the damage acid can do to the tissues of the esophagus. Most people treat acid reflux with either over-the-counter or prescribed antacid medication.
Alkaline water can help treat acid reflux
Drinking alkaline water can neutralize the acid that causes acid reflux, and it can greatly reduce the risk of developing GERD. Studies show that water at a pH of 8.8 can effectively neutralize the acid that causes acid reflux.
Blood pressure and diabetes
There is some preliminary research that shows that drinking alkaline water can help treat high blood pressure and diabetes. Some early studies showed that drinking alkaline water resulted in lower blood pressure readings and decreased levels of blood sugar.
It appears that the higher pH of alkaline water helps reduce blood viscosity (thickness), and it helps cardiovascular dehydration. Both of these effects had positive results for people who live with high blood pressure and diabetes.
There are some claims that drinking alkaline water, as part of an alkaline heavy diet, can reduce the risks of developing cancer. These claims are purely anecdotal at this stage, however, there has not been much research on the effects of alkaline water on cancer and cancer risk.
Other potential benefits:
Many people who regularly drink alkaline water have found that it can help with many common conditions. Some of the other benefits of drinking alkaline water may include:
- anti-aging properties (via liquid antioxidants that absorb more quickly into the human body)
- colon-cleansing properties
- immune system support
- hydration, skin health, and other detoxifying properties
- weight loss
Alkaline Water Daily Intake
To get the maximum benefit of alkaline water, some recommend drinking eight to twelve glasses (or two to three liters) of alkaline water per day to experience optimal benefits. Don't make a fast switch, though - transition slowly by mixing up your alkaline water intake with regular water while you get used to the changes in your body's pH levels.
Alkaline Water Cons
Drinking alkaline water is generally considered safe. However, drinking too much alkaline water can produce some harmful side effects.
Alkaline water can eventually neutralize the natural acidity of the stomach. This acidity is necessary to kill harmful pathogens to prevent them from entering the bloodstream.
Too much alkaline water can also lead to gastrointestinal problems and can lead to skin irritation.
Too much alkalinity can disturb the natural pH of the body. This can lead to a condition called alkalosis. Symptoms of alkalosis include:
- hand tremors
- muscle twitching
- tingling in the extremities or face
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.
Alkaline Water FAQS
What is Alkaline Water? Alkaline water is made with the addition of specific minerals like sodium and calcium that raise the pH levels. Alkaline water can be further treated with chemical processes that remove acidic components.
What makes alkaline water different? What makes alkaline distinctly different from other commercial water is that it is specifically treated to raise the pH level slightly above the standard pH for consumable water. The chemicals used to increase the pH of alkaline water are really simple elements, the same simple elements that can make water more alkaline in nature. The difference with commercially available alkaline water is that these elements are added in a rigorously controlled process.
What is the difference between natural alkaline Water and artificial alkaline water? Natural alkaline water derives its chemical properties from the natural environment in which it is found. Artificial alkaline water is produced through complex chemical and physical processes.
What are some of the health benefits of alkaline water? Alkaline water can help fight acid reflux. It is also good for maintaining bone health. Some claim that alkaline water may also fight cancer. Some of the other benefits of alkaline water may also include anti-aging properties, colon-cleansing properties, immune system support, hydration, skin health, and other detoxifying properties, and weight loss.
Are there dangers to drinking alkaline water? Consuming too much alkaline water can lead to decreased natural acidity in the stomach. It can also cause damage to the esophagus. Over time, drinking too much alkaline water can lead to a dangerous condition called alkalosis which can lead to nausea, vomiting, hand tremors, muscle twitching, tingling in the extremities or face, and confusion.
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