“Drink more water.” The adage has been relegated as advice fit to cure all ailments — dehydration, unruly skin, cellulite, constipation, the list goes on. But what if your choice of water could take it one step further and aid the body’s cellular functioning? After all, Miranda Kerr, Shay Mitchell and NBA player Jason Terry all swear by the wonders of drinking alkaline water as a secret weapon for health and wellbeing.
The benefits of choosing any water — potable, of course —as your primary beverage is known the help the body rid itself of toxins and combat skin inflammation by helping maintain a balance of bodily fluids in the body. Our bodies are composed of about 60 percent water, and to function properly, water is needed for all primary functions, such as digestion, circulation, saliva, transportation of nutrients and more. Our bodies are constantly balancing with our surroundings, metabolism and physiological requirements, so maintaining hydration is key.
But back to the question at hand: Is alkaline better suited for the job?
Drinking alkaline water helps neutralize acidity levels and maintain proper pH.
What is Alkaline Water?
The key to understanding alkaline water is knowing about pH levels, which are known to be a measure of acidity or alkalinity of a water-soluble substance. A pH value is any number from one to 14, with 7 as the neutral point. Numbers below seven are considered acidic, while numbers above seven are considered alkaline. Regular tap water’s pH is somewhere between 6.5-7. Pure water has a pH of 7 and is considered neutral because it has neither acidic nor basic qualities. But alkaline water takes “pure” water one step further — pushing its pH to be closer to 8-10.
What Are The Benefits?
The idea behind it is that what we consume — refined sugars, processed foods, meats — causes the body to produce more acid, which is also known as the culprit behind many inflammatory conditions in the body. For example, bone loss, cancer, acid reflux, blood pressure. Researchers say the body functions best when the pH level is slightly alkaline, so drinking alkaline water helps neutralize acidity levels and maintain proper pH.
“Chronic inflammatory conditions create more acidic conditions in the human body,” says Essentia’s Director of Clinical and Scientific Research, Ralph E. Holsworth, Jr., D.O. “From my clinical perspective, we are able to rehydrate patients and allow the cellular and interstitial fluids to remove free radicals and oxidized products of metabolism. Proper intracellular hydration allows the human body to ‘self-clean’ in a process called autophagy.” A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition measured how well leading bottled waters and alkaline water bottles, like Essentia, rehydrated participants after moderate exercise, and found that hydrating with alkaline water was more effective.
“The common denominator of health revolves around maintaining intracellular hydration and topping off the ‘tank’ or circulatory system with water,” adds Holsworth. “This proper hydration assists oxygenation and perfusion of peripheral organelles, mitochondria, cells, tissues and organs to collectively maintain homeostasis.” All in all, hydration is perhaps the most important goal for anyone who’s health-conscious, since it assists in the body’s innate ability to rid itself of cellular debris, free radicals and cross-linked proteins. Alkaline water can help achieve this better by neutralizing acidity in the body.
But can water be too alkaline? According to Holsworth, yes, it can. “The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare electrolyzed-reduced water to be potable between the pH of 8 and 10. They advise against drinking alkaline water above a pH of 10.” Drinking water that is too alkaline can have a negative effect, as your body still needs acidity in order to breakdown food and nutrients. Overall, water with a very low or very high pH can be a sign of chemical or heavy metal toxicity.
What Are The Different Types of Alkaline Water Out There?
If you are ready to jump on the alkaline water wagon, you have many options. There are water pitcher filters such as the EHM Ultra Premium Alkaline Water Pitcher or the Reshape Water Alkaline Water Pitcher that regulate the water’s pH by passing it through a filtration system, which raises the pH levels of regular tap water. The filters reduce the size of the molecules of tap water, removing heavy metals, making it easier to absorb while also adding good substances like magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Other technology like ionizing machines and water filters like the Enagic or Kangen water filter or the Aqua Ionizer Deluxe 7.0 work by not only filtering tap water but producing ionized alkaline and acidic waters through electrolysis, which separates the incoming water stream into acidic and alkaline components. And then, of course, there are bottled waters like Essentia, Evamor and Real Water, which are usually also filtered through an ionization process. “The ionization process supercharges the water by adding electrolytes,” says Holsworth.
All that said, the benefits of alkaline water are not fully verified by science, and more research is needed to verify all claims. Most of the literature out there exhorts that as long as you are staying hydrated with genuine, clean, pure water and drinking the recommended amount — eight 8-ounces glasses, or 2 liters, of water every day — your body will be OK.