In recent years alkaline water has increased in popularity among everyone from health enthusiasts to professional athletes. Some follow an alkaline diet while others are trying to get more from their hydration. NBA stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are some of the most well-known proponents of alkaline water.
There are reports claiming that some professional basketball players have more than half a dozen alkaline water bottle cases shipped to their homes monthly.
It is evident that the body’s pH plays a large role in overall health and the standard American diet is typically full of hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, excess sodium, chemical additives, synthetic hormones, pesticides, and ultra-processed foods that can contribute to low-grade acidosis or an overproduction of acid in the blood, which fosters an environment where disease can produce and thrive.
Proponents of alkaline water claim it is the best water to drink when it comes to health. They cite a long list of potential benefits from enhanced weight loss to resistance against cancer. However, does this popular beverage live up to they hype? Is it another fad used to target consumers who are health conscious?
What Is Alkaline Water?
Alkaline water has a higher pH than tap water or other bottled waters. It also has a negative oxidation reduced potential (ORP), and the best type of alkaline water is naturally alkaline spring water.
A low pH indicates a substance is acidic. A pH value of 7 is neutral. Anything above that is alkaline and below is acidic. It there are too many hydrogen ions this means there is less oxygen available to the cells, which results in a higher acidity when the pH drops. Fewer hydrogen ions mean more oxygen is available, leading to a more alkaline state. There is no known disease that can survive an alkaline state, according to the Dr. Axe website.
Due to the higher pH level, alkaline or ionized water is supposed to be more beneficial that tap water. Alkaline water typically has a pH of 8 or 9. The pH of tap water and bottled water is typically a 7 pH value. Alkaline water also offers more minerals the body needs to function properly, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium.
According to the Dr. Axe website, the pH levels of the blood should be 7.365 on a scale between 0-14, leaving the blood at a 60/40 alkaline-to-acid ratio.
Alkaline compounds buffer acids in the blood with for main alkaline minerals – magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium – which work together to keep the body running properly.
- Calcium strengthens bones and supports a health circulatory system.
- Magnesium helps convert food to energy and maintains muscles, heart, nerves, and kidney function.
- Sodium controls blood pressure, balances the fluids in the body, and influences muscles movement.
- Potassium maintains muscle relaxation and contraction. This is important around the heart. It also helps in digestion and fluid elimination.
The body works to naturally keep the blood leaning toward and alkaline state and it will take from stored reserves whenever necessary to keep it balanced.
The Debate of Alkaline Water
Research on the benefits of alkaline water is limited. Additionally, many sources blindly use unsubstantiated claims in an effort to sell products like expensive alkaline water systems. Some do not provide evidence-based health information to consumers.
Proponents of alkaline water claim it provides a range of health benefits: boosts metabolism, slows bone loss, reverses aging, and improves the absorption of nutrients. Alkaline water neutralizes acid in the blood that causes disease, according to proponents of the product. They believe low-grade acidosis cannot always be detected with tests, therefore it leaves the body to suffer the consequences.
Those who oppose alkaline water agree that there may be benefits to the product, but it is not clear whether the benefits come from the high pH value of the water or the minerals it contains.
By Jeanette Smith
Dr. Axe: Alkaline Water: Beneficial or All Hype
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