THE BENEFITS OF ALKALINE WATER: FACT OR MARKETING HOAX?
If you have been keen on natural health and fitness, then you have probably noticed there’s a lot of hype about alkaline water and the benefits it provides for those who use it. Everyone seems to be vouching for it, from your local celebrity to radio hosts, and lately, the LA Lakers!
So, what’s the craze all about?
What is Alkaline Water, and what’s its function?
Simply put, alkaline water is just water with a higher PH from regular old tap water. If you were keen during high school chemistry classes, PH is the measure of hydrogen ion concentration in a solution. PH scale typically ranges from 0 to 14 being the highest.
Therefore, the more a solution has hydrogen ions, the higher the acidity of the solution and the lower the PH. A solution with a PH of below seven is considered acidic. Anything above 7 PH is deemed basic.
Regular tap water is considered to be neutral because it has a PH level of 7. Tap water is, therefore, not basic or acidic. Bottled water from your convenience store, has a varying PH of between 6.5 to 8.5 typically.
Alkaline water is controversial. While there’s tons of research pointing to its benefits, health experts warn that it’s not enough to support the health benefits presented by retailers and users. It is believed that Alkaline water can protect our bodies from harmful toxins improving our overall wellbeing since it is less acidic than regular tap water.
According to these sources, Alkaline is best suited for athletes since it helps with hydration, and neutralizes lactic acid in our blood and aiding recovery. People who drink it, as well as companies that promote it, claim that it helps in weight loss and well as anti-aging properties. Most of these claims are speculative and weak from a research perspective, and while they are not scientifically proven, they have not been disapproved either.
What are the Claims?
Lowers acidity in the body
Before we get into details, you need to understand that your body does not have a specific PH, which means that different parts of your body have different acidity levels and for particular reasons. A healthy person’s blood PH usually is at 7.4, while their stomach is maintained at 1.5 to 3.5. This acidic environment is usually needed to digest food. While it’s possible that taking alkaline water will change your body PH, our bodies have a strict regulatory system that is hard to destabilize.
Protection from Toxins
It’s believed that alkaline water breaks down the disinfectant by-products that are found in regular treated tap water. These are the compounds that form when water is purified for public consumption. Therefore, in theory, alkaline water needs to be free from those compounds. However, other disinfectant by-products have been proven to thrive in an alkaline environment. Also, there are unverified claims that alkaline can remove toxins from your body; true or false doesn’t carry many benefits since your liver can handle that job without any help by itself.
To cut through the chase, alkaline water isn’t bad for you. So far, it’s safe to drink since there have been no reported cases of health issues. Therefore, if you are drawn to the flavor or the trend, then, by all means, feel free to enjoy the drink. However, if you opt-out of not paying the extra buck for a fancier version of regular old tap water, then you won’t be missing out on anything.