Alkaline Water: Healthy or Just Hype?
Some say alkaline water is superior to plain water. There just might be something to this new hydration trend.
As we gracefully age, we tend to drink less water than we should and can end up dehydrated. Making a conscious decision to drink more water will surely help us get back to better health, but with so many types of water to choose from, which will be the most beneficial for you? After all, our bodies are two-thirds water so if you’re going to drink up it might as well be the best choice.
What is all the hoopla about?
Lately we’ve seen store shelves stocked with various brands of bottled alkaline water showing the water’s pH level. Does it really have health benefits or is it just another passing fad? Even celebrities like vocalist Beyoncé, actor Mark Wahlberg, model Miranda Kerr, NBA player Jason Terry, and actress Shay Mitchell are devoted fans.
Alkaline water is said to promote anti-aging, clear skin, balancing blood pH, and detoxification. There are studies that indicate a slightly higher alkaline level may even help slow bone loss and help prevent heart disease and cancer. But more scientific evidence is needed to verify or refute these claims.
What’s the scoop on alkaline?
Today, much of the food we consume is acidic such as processed foods, dairy, sugar, carbonated drinks, and red meat – and if you haven’t heard, consuming too much of these foods could lead to health problems. Drinking alkaline water helps to balance acidity in the body to the right pH level for proper function. The pH level indicates the acidity or alkalinity in substances and ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 as the neutral midpoint. Anything below 7 is acidic and anything above is alkaline. Plain water is typically neutral at 7. Our lungs, liver, and kidneys automatically maintain a neutral pH of 7.4 in our bodies.
Where does it come from?
Manufactured alkaline water is made by adding salt and metal compounds to water and undergoing a filtration/purification process. Some brands sell alkaline water that is naturally sourced from springs or groundwater and contains naturally occurring minerals our bodies need.
To cut the expense of buying bottled alkaline water, you can make your own by adding 1/8 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice to 8 fluid ounces of plain water. The acids in the lemon convert to alkaline properties when consumed.
There are also home water filtration systems you can buy that release a small amount of calcium and magnesium which slightly increases the pH level. A water ionizer/electrolyzer has the best results and typically costs $1,500 — not cheap initially but think long term and think about all those plastic bottles you’ll be saving.
Best Alkaline Water Brands
Here are some of the best brands of alkaline water as reviewed by waterexplained.com:
- Evamor — pH of 8.8-9.1, natural alkaline water from a pristine underground aquifer and bottled directly at the source in BPA-free bottles.
- Essentia — pH of 9.5, undergoes micro-filters, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet exposure filtering to 99.9% purity, infused with electrolytes and ionized.
- Eternal — pH of 7.8-8.2, sourced from three natural springs in California, Tennessee, and New York.
- Molly Water — pH of 8.5, extensive purification process resulting in 99.9% purity and contains natural ionic minerals from Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
Are there real benefits?
There is a growing body of evidence supporting the beneficial effects of alkaline water. Although much more research is needed, some of the findings may be of interest to you.
Published research by Dr. Jamie Koufman, a physician who specializes in laryngology, shows the possible benefit for people suffering from acid reflux. The stomach enzyme, pepsin, causes inflammation in the ears, nose, and throat. Drinking alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 washes out the pepsin on throat and esophagus tissue and may aid as a buffer against stomach acid.
Another study by Weidman et al. concluded alkaline water was more effective than neutral water in reducing blood viscosity (the thickness and stickiness of blood) after strenuous exercise. Thinner, less viscose blood helps decrease the risk of heart problems.
A 3-year study on alkaline water and longevity performed on mice concluded those treated with alkaline water aged less and had a longer lifespan than those with regular tap water and those with pH drops added to their water.
You can also scour the Internet and find more interesting studies on alkaline water.
Water and Weight Loss
Many boomers have experienced expanding waistlines entering retirement years. Whether alkaline or plain, many studies support the benefits of water consumption for weight loss. Alkaline water may aid weight loss efforts by increasing satiety and boosting metabolism. Drinking water actually does increase weight loss when tested on middle-aged and older adults.
One study reveals an easy tip to help you along with your weight loss goals: Low calorie dieters who drink half a liter (17 oz) of water 30 minutes before meals eat 13% less calories and lose up to 44% more weight.
Here’s another tip from yet another study: Drinking 500 ml of water for a 1-1 ½ hour period revs up your metabolism and that means 24% – 30% more calorie burning energy to help you lose weight.
How safe is it?
Avoid water that is too alkaline as that can have adverse affects on your body. If you have health issues such as kidney-related conditions you should check with your health care provider before drinking alkaline water. Beware of all marketing claims — companies are required by law to support their claims with solid proof.
In conclusion, many believe that drinking alkaline filtered water is good for you. For most people, natural alkaline water is generally considered safe to drink and contains beneficial natural minerals. What’s important for us boomers is to stay hydrated and drink the water of your choice whether it be plain or alkaline.