Discover the benefits of alkaline water.
You may have already heard about alkaline water and its many properties and benefits.
And, although there are few studies on the matter, many companies and individuals maintain that drinking alkaline water frequently is beneficial for health.
Its promoters claim that it can help delay the aging process, regulate the body’s pH level and prevent diseases such as asthma, dermatitis, neuralgia, among others.
And so much, and so contradictory, is the information about alkaline water, that a large number of people, concerned about their well-being, have turned to see it as a very good alternative to improve and maintain health.
But what is true in this?
It is a type of water subjected to an ionization process that separates the alkaline and acidic fractions, increasing the pH and raising it to more than seven units.
The pH of water is determined by the minerals that are in suspension and can be defined as the measure of the acidity of a medium.
Seven (7) is the pH balance point. Below that level, it is considered an acid medium, and above 7 a basic or alkaline medium.
It must be remembered that the planet’s natural water is found in acidity levels between 6.5 and 9 pH units. Levels higher than 9 are usually toxic.
It is important to clarify that if the degree of alkalinization of the water is low, it does not have to cause any problem to the human being. However, excessively alkaline waters can cause damage to the stomach.
According to Healthline, one of the negative side effects of drinking alkaline water includes reducing the natural acidity of the stomach.
Alkaline water can be obtained in different ways. One of them is to buy it packaged in supermarkets or health food stores.
However, in 2019 the Federal Consumer Protection Office conducted a qualitative study of 22 alkaline water brands, in which it concluded that 19 of those 22 products offered unproven benefits on their labels to the consumer.
It can also be obtained through water purifiers, whose filter system retains sediment and bacteria, providing water with a high degree of minerals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Another way to get it is at home. One option is to alkalize the water by boiling it for 5 minutes. In this way, it will increase its pH to 8.4, which is already considered alkaline water. It can also be obtained by adding half a tablespoon of baking soda to a glass of water. The pH will rise to 7.9.
In both cases, it’s important to use distilled water, because tap water or bottled water may have other additives.
After talking so much about pH, you may be wondering what it is. The pH is a test that is carried out to know the quality of the water and indicates its acidity or alkalinity. Typically, these measurements are run on a scale of 0 to 14, with 7.0 being the neutral measurement.
From here, and above 8 points, they are considered alkaline. Below, they are considered acidic, always keeping in mind that in these measurements each point represents a tenfold change in acidity. That is, a pH of 6 would be 10 times more acidic than pH 7.
To give an example, we will say that lemon juice, which is an acidic liquid, has a pH of 2.5, while coffee has a pH of 5. On the other side of the scale, with a pH of 12, we would have water. limestone, which is when rainwater falls on an area with porous rock and soaks into the ground.
As it filters through the rock, it picks up and dissolves particles and minerals such as calcium and magnesium, gaining hardness and alkalinity.
At this point, you will surely ask yourself, what is the recommended pH of the water? According to experts -as established, for example, in the relevant regulations of the European Union- the pH of drinking water should be between 6.5 units and 9.5 units.
There are manual and automatic pH meters. They are very simple and easy-to-use devices. And although automatic ones are more expensive, a manual meter will be just as effective at regulating water.
It is a kit that includes a test tube, two tubes, and reagents (substances or compounds to cause a chemical reaction).
You just have to take a sample of the water and, after following the instructions on the package, check what color the water stained with the reagent acquires.
Once the color is obtained, you should read the manufacturer’s instructions to know the degree of alkalinity.
There are many benefits attributed to alkaline water. However, many studies are still lacking in this regard. Among the benefits that drinking alkaline water is said to have are:
It helps detoxify the body. Drinking alkaline water daily can neutralize acidity and remove acidic waste products from cells and tissues.
What is an antioxidant? Alkaline water is said to act as an antioxidant, scavenging and neutralizing harmful free radicals that damage skin and are responsible for aging.
This occurs because it supposedly can give up electrons and can effectively neutralize and block free radical damage in the body.
It helps balance the pH of the body. Alkaline water helps balance the body’s pH, which tends to be acidic due to a high-acid diet, stress, and exposure to environmental toxins like smog.
That improves the immune system. According to alkaline water enthusiasts, it preserves the immune system in a better state, which, as you know, is in charge of preparing the body to fight diseases.
That improves hydration. In the case of exercise-induced dehydration, the idea is supported that electrolyzed alkaline water reduces blood viscosity and vascular resistance.
What is an adjuvant in skincare? In addition to the health benefits attributed to drinking it, bathing in alkaline water is said to improve skin-related problems as well.
Lowers blood glucose levels. In some Asian countries, studies have been carried out that have shown that drinking alkaline water balances the functioning of the pancreas, thus helping to control blood glucose levels.
It helps in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Since alkaline water has a higher pH, its natural ability to neutralize acids in the stomach makes it a good choice for treating gastrointestinal tract disorders such as hyperacidity, diarrhea, etc.
It is said that in cases of laryngopharyngeal and gastroesophageal reflux diseases, alkaline water is efficient in neutralizing acid in the stomach.
That prevents osteoporosis. The human body strives to be slightly alkaline. The ideal pH level is 7.3 to 7.45. Alkaline water, which is obtained through purifiers, reaches these values and can even exceed them.
Those levels are very favorable for the human body. Well, consuming alkaline water prevents the body from extracting calcium from the bones to bring them to an alkaline state. That way you would be helping to prevent osteoporosis.
Some people claim that a more alkaline diet – including drinking alkaline water – can help reduce the body’s acidity and thus lead to better health and fitness.
And while the term “alkaline” has become a buzzword in health circles, the idea that everyone needs to drink alkaline water is a bit of a stretch.
Alkaline water is a controversial topic. Many health professionals say that there is not enough research to support the many health claims made by users and sellers.
Differences in research results may be related to the types of alkaline water studies.
According to the Mayo Clinic, plain water is best for most people and they maintain that there is no scientific evidence to fully verify the claims made by supporters of alkaline water.
However, some studies suggest alkaline water might be helpful for certain conditions.
A 2012 study found that drinking naturally carbonated alkaline well water with a pH of 8.8 can help deactivate pepsin, the main enzyme that causes acid reflux.
Another study suggested that drinking alkaline ionized water may have benefits for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
A more recent study, involving 100 people, found a significant difference in blood viscosity after consuming high-pH water, compared to regular water, after intense training. Viscosity is the direct measure of how efficiently blood flows through the vessels.
Those who consumed water with a high pH reduced viscosity by 6.3% compared to 3.36% for standard purified drinking water.
This means that blood flows more efficiently with alkaline water. This can increase the supply of oxygen to the entire body.
However, beyond these isolated studies, more research is needed regarding alkaline water. In particular, research is needed to verify whether alkaline water offers all the benefits claimed by its promoters.
Despite the lack of proven scientific research, proponents of alkaline water still believe in its health benefits.
Therefore, when asked if it is worth buying and consuming this type of water, the answer is that it is better to hydrate with purified water.
There is a wide variety of point-of-use water purifiers on the market, both for offices and for the home, that purify water from the public network to obtain a liquid free of bacteria and viruses, with the pH that our organism needs.
There is a 2012 study that states that while an alkaline diet (including water) can reduce morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases, regular consumption of fruits and vegetables and an overall healthy diet are necessary.
Alkaline water is not a miracle product and is not a substitute for the benefits of a proper diet and healthy lifestyle.
It is also necessary to take into account that each organism has a unique pH, and our bodies naturally do a fantastic job of maintaining the pH of the blood within the necessary levels. Therefore, it is important to be cautious.
Finally, although there is indeed no contraindication regarding the consumption of this type of water, it is important to take into account how much alkaline water should be taken per day since it is not recommended to exceed its consumption since the body will always require natural liquid; that is, neither very alkaline nor very acidic either.
More than alkaline water, we need to improve our lifestyle
As you have seen, there is not enough research to support the benefits attributed to alkaline water.
It should be understood that the benefits could only be confirmed when combined with a healthy diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains), an active lifestyle (30 minutes of daily exercise), healthy sleep and rest habits, as well as avoid the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.