When water claims to be anti-aging, then you know it’s going to sell by the gallon. It is said that drinking alkaline water helps slow down the aging process, prevents chronic diseases and regulates your body’s pH levels. The reasoning is that alkaline water assists to neutralise acid levels in the body, which normal water can’t do.
Here’s the elevator pitch: We ingest far too many foods that are high in acid. Meat, fish, sugars, processed grains, fizzy drinks, alcohol and coffee are among the culprits. Hence we need to neutralise the effect of these foods in our body. Water that is ‘alkalised’ with a higher pH does the counterbalances these acidic foods.
WHAT IS ALKALINE WATER?
It is all about the pH, alkaline water is water that has been ionized, which means the pH level of water is higher. Normal drinking water generally has a neutral pH of 7. A substance with a pH under 7 is more acidic and higher would be alkaline.
Typically alkaline water has a pH of 8-9. Alkaline water must also contain alkaline minerals and negative oxidation reduction potential (ORP). ORP gives the alkaline water its anti-oxidant value.
WHAT’S ALL THE HYPE ABOUT?
Well celebrities have done the big uptake – Beyoncé and Miranda Kerr are reportedly hooked. The likes of Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Wahlberg, who endorses a brand with a higher pH, have all been spotted drinking it.
Alkaline water brands claims together with celebrity marketing make it seem like miracle water. Here are some of the manufacturers’ claims:
- Anti-aging properties (via liquid antioxidants that absorb more quickly into the human body)
- Improves the appearance of skin, hair and nails
- Can help with weight loss
- Immune system support
- Detoxifying properties
- Superior hydration
- Reduces inflammation
- Cancer resistant
- Increased energy levels
- Colon cleansing properties
DOES IT REALLY WORK?
Alkaline water has caused a huge amount of controversy. Most medical experts believe that there is not enough research and scientific evidence to support all the health claims. There are also differences in findings due to various brands having varied pH levels.
The one claim that has sound value is that alkaline water can treat acid reflux. Makes sense if you think about it, as the water hits the stomach it should neutralise the excessive acid. A study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology found that water with a pH of 8.8 deactivates pepsin, a digestive enzyme found in the stomach. Pepsin is the main enzyme that causes acid reflux.
Another study of 100 people found a noteworthy difference in the blood viscosity after consuming alkaline water. This was compared to regular water after strenuous exercise. Viscosity is the direct measurement of how efficiently blood flows through the vessels. The researchers proposed having thinner blood could help people get oxygen more efficiently after exercise.
According to a study published in the Shanghai Journal of Preventive Medicine, drinking alkaline water may be beneficial for people who suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
THE RISKS OF ALKALINE WATER
Our body’s blood pH levels are regulated at 7.35 to 7.45, which is already slightly alkaline, similar to tap water. Ingesting a higher pH in large quantities may cause complications.
It could have the reverse effect to the acid reflux benefit and have a negative effect on your digestive system. Significantly lowering your natural stomach acid, which kills bacteria could lead to other complications. This may also lead to gastrointestinal and skin issues.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you are jumping on this trend, ensure that you are drinking naturally filtered alkaline water without contaminants. This is considered as safe as it is infused with natural minerals. However artificially sourced alkaline water is advised against as it may not contain many minerals. This could affect your digestive system and cause mineral loss.
Beauty Warriors conclusion is that, it not necessarily better or unsafe. The issue is the extensive health claims that the manufactures proclaim. This is what most medical professionals will tell you as well.
You can purchase alkaline water at some supermarkets, online or at health stores. You can also purchase water ionizers for home use or make your own. Use baking soda which is alkaline and has a pH level of 9.
You will need about four litres of water, mix in a half tablespoon of baking soda. Shake until the baking soda dissolves completely. Once dissolved, and then have a glass. You can also add a bit of lemon juice to it as this becomes alkaline when ingested.