Is Alkaline Water Beneficial?

Alkaline Water

Alkaline water is trending, but is it necessary for the body or beneficial to drink? Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, is a health expert. She explains that alkaline water contains added minerals which raise the pH level in the water, making it much less acidic than regular water.

According to Kris Sollid, RD, making the body less acidic is touted as a benefit of alkaline water. Sollid is the senior director of nutrition communications for the International Food Information Council Foundation.

The pH scale measures the acidity and basicity of a liquid or a solution from 0 to 14. Seven is neutral, anything below it is acidic and anything above it is alkaline, according to Jamie Koufman, MD, a physician who specializes in laryngology.

The lungs, kidneys, and liver control and maintain the normal pH of 7.4 in the blood, this is stated by Niket Sonpal, MD, who is an assistant clinical professor at Touro College of Medicine.

Koufman claims there is no science that backs the claim that drinking alkaline water changes the pH balance of the body. There is hydrochloric acid in the stomach that neutralizes alkaline water before it can be absorbed, says Sollid. Sonpal states, the stomach needs the hydrochloric acid and a low pH to digest proteins and kill food-borne pathogens. Therefore, messing with a healthy and fully functioning body pH is not necessary. Koufman also notes that if the body takes in too much acid or alkaline, it is disposed of through the urine.

9 Signs of Too Much Water Intake

Dieticians are a constant reminder that drinking enough water is vital for the human body to function properly. This is true – unless too much water is ingested.

Most people look for signs of dehydration, however, overhydration is just as dangerous. Drinking too much water can result in water intoxication, or hyponatremia. This causes the inside of cells to flood because it lowers the sodium levels in the bloodstream.

In severe cases, overhydration can lead to debilitating health problems including coma, seizures, and death.

Those who carry their water bottles with them throughout the day and immediately refill it when it is empty, may be drinking too much water. Constantly adding water to the body can cause sodium levels to be low in the blood. This can cause all of the body’s cells to swell.

Tamara Hew-Butler, DPM, PhD, is an exercise science professor at Oakland University and she says that this is particularly dangerous when the brain begins to swell. “Your brain can only swell to about 8 to 10 percent before it reaches the skill and it pushes your brain stem out.”

The best way to know if the body needs more water is to be consciously aware of the feeling of thirst. “Our bodies are so programmed to fight against dehydration because we’ve always been living in fear of scarcity or not having enough, wo we have all of these built-in mechanisms to protect us against that. One of these mechanisms that all animals have is thirst. Thirst is every body’s individual monitor that lets them know if the need more. The more water you need, the thirstier your get.”

Those who are drinking a healthy amount of water should have urine that is anywhere from straw-colored to a transparent yellow. If the urine is clear, it may be a sign that too much water is being ingested.

Most people should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day is considered normal. This suggestion, however, varies with weight, height, and physical activity.

By Jeanette Smith


Reader's Digest: 9 Signs You’re Drinking Too Much Water
Reader's Digest: This Is What Alkaline Water Really Does to Your Body

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