Alkaline water is currently all the rage in the sports world. Fans of the ionized water claim it can hydrate better, reduce acid reflux, lower the risk of cancer, and slow the aging process.
Some alkaline water is created naturally - as water comes through a mineral spring with high concentrations of magnesium, calcium, or potassium.
Man-made alkaline water is created through a process called ionization and often minerals are added afterward.
The health claims that come with the alkaline water rage are based on the vague notion that most people’s diets tend to be acidic, therefore, alkaline water can help offset the acids in our diets. How much of these claims are scientific and how much is marketing?
According to Dr. Frank McGeorge, “First off, your stomach is full of acid that begins the digestive process. When you drink alkaline water and it mixes with stomach acid – the alkaline component is immediately neutralized – think vinegar and baking soda, just less dramatic. It’s also important to understand that your body tightly regulates its pH, which is normally 7.4, by excreting excess acid or alkaline base from the kidneys, or by changing your breathing to remove carbon dioxide. Even if the modest amount of alkaline content was successfully absorbed, it would not have any effect on your overall pH. And medically, you wouldn’t want it to. Having an elevated pH is not normal.”
There is little research to support any health benefits of alkaline water. The little research that has been done was either sponsored by the bottlers of the water or too small to draw a meaningful conclusion.
Erin Dolinski is a registered dietician and she says, “In reality, natural water, plain tap water provides the most benefits.” However, Dolinski understands the appeal of alkaline water.
“As always, most individuals want the quick fix. At the end of the day, it’s best just to save your money and just drink plain tap water.”
In general, alkaline water is harmless unless a person has severe kidney problems.
By Jeanette Smith
My High Plains: Facts and Myths of Alkaline Water
Image Courtesy of ddouk's Pixabay Page - Creative Commons License