Alkaline water is a form of water with a different pH level than regular drinking water. PH level is a measurement value between zero and fourteen that represents the degree of acidity of a substance. A very acidic substance would have a pH level of zero, one, or two.
Very alkaline substances have a pH level of thirteen or fourteen. Therefore, alkaline water is water with a greater pH level than usual. The standard pH level of regular drinking water is seven and it is eight or nine for alkaline water.
Alkaline water also contains minerals with an alkaline pH and negative oxidation-reduction potential, which means the substance acts as an antioxidant, giving an extra electron to reactive molecules that are missing an electron. This process allows these molecules to become more stable and less reactive in the body. Learn the facts about alkaline water now.
Natural Versus Artificial
Alkaline water can be naturally alkaline, or it may be put through processes to become alkaline or artificial alkaline water. The chemical makeup of natural alkaline and artificially alkaline water is not the same.
Artificially alkaline water is water that has been altered to raise its pH level, but it does not contain the same levels of the corresponding alkaline minerals. It may be difficult to distinguish whether a source or type of alkaline water is natural or artificial because they are advertised similarly.
Certain terms that can indicate an artificial process has been used on the alkaline water include purification process, electrochemically activated water, ionizers, remineralizing filters, Kangen water, scientific processes, electrical machine, water alkalizers, carbon filters, enhanced water, and reverse osmosis.
The pH level of natural alkaline water is directly correlated with the quantities of minerals present in the water. The health benefit claims that go along with alkaline water are associated with more than just the higher pH level.
Without the bioavailable minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, the nutritional and health value of the alkaline water is greatly reduced.
Health Benefits of Alkaline water
Over the past decade, alkaline water has increased in popularity due to claims it can be beneficial to an individual’s health.
Such health claims include alkaline water having anti-aging properties due to liquid antioxidants, additional immune system support, weight loss, colon-cleansing properties, enhanced skin health, detoxifying properties, amplified hydration, and resistance to cancer.
Natural alkaline water contains rich sources of minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Alkaline water is known to help eliminate excess mucus build up on the inside walls of the intestines, allowing for better absorption of nutrients from the food an individual consumes.
Claims have been made that alkaline water helps an individual with weight control by decreasing the necessity for adipose tissue around the body, which serves the function of protecting the internal organs by moving acidic byproducts to less important regions.
The health claims that alkaline water provides superior hydration stem from its property of having a smaller water cluster size, which is thought to diffuse into the cells more efficiently.
Potential Side Effects
Most studies have indicated the consumption of alkaline water is relatively safe. However, this does not mean it does not produce adverse side effects in some individuals. One of the main side effects that can occur is a decrease in the total amount of stomach acidity.
This mechanism is not always a good thing because it can result in increased bacteria growth and a reduced ability to expel other harmful pathogens.
Another main concern when it comes to the potential side effects of drinking too much alkaline water is the development of a condition referred to as metabolic alkalosis, where an individual’s body has too much alkalinity and a pH level that is too high.
Symptoms of metabolic alkalosis include nausea, hand tremors, tingling in the extremities, tingling in the face, confusion, vomiting, and twitching of the muscles.
Decreased bone health, reduced bone absorption, and delayed growth were also reported to be associated with drinking too much alkaline water.
Safety of Alkaline Water
The long term safety of the consumption of alkaline water is debatable due to the lack of proper research on the topic. It is known that an individual’s body naturally maintains its neutral pH level regardless of what liquids or foods they consume.
Anything consumed that is more alkaline is automatically neutralized in the stomach before it even reaches the bloodstream.
These homeostatic mechanisms in the body that maintain proper pH levels may not work correctly in certain individuals who have problems with their lung or kidney function. In such individuals, the consumption of too much alkaline water can cause serious health issues.
It is not safe for patients affected by gastrointestinal tract problems to drink alkaline water because it can stimulate the increased production of gastric acid.
The fluoride concentration in alkaline water can be harmful to individuals who have problems with the way their thyroid gland functions. It is not safe for an individual to drink alkaline water if they are taking time-release medications, as these can be absorbed too rapidly by the body as a result of consuming alkaline water.
Comparison to Plain Water
There are several marked differences between alkaline water and plain water. Alkaline water produces a unique aftertaste due to the presence of added minerals, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate.
The aftertaste of alkaline water has been described by some individuals as a subtle lingering sweetness that is not present in normal drinking water.
Alkaline water is absorbed into the body the same way plain water is, and both types of water end up at the same pH level when they enter the bloodstream. In the grand scheme of things, alkaline water really does not differ from plain water physically.
Certain behavioral changes in an individual can make it seem like alkaline water is more beneficial than normal water, such as an increased intake of fluid because of the enhanced taste of alkaline water.
It is the increased intake of water, rather than the difference in the chemical makeup of alkaline water, that causes an individual to feel better and experience noticeable benefits to their health and well-being.
As far as price point, tap water and standard bottled water cost less than natural and artificial alkaline water.