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Water is an essential nutrient that nourishes the human body on many multi-dimensional levels. It feels like heaven when we feel thirsty and hydrates our body on a cellular level. In short, water is life. Without this essential nutrient, there would be no life.
Water plays a critical role in our lives. Drinking enough water is the key to hydration and health. (1) As we evolve and discover new ways to consume water, different types of water are coming into the health market. One such type of water is alkaline water. Is alkaline water effective and safe? Read on to find out.
Alkaline Water – What is it?
Alkaline water is one of the new inventions in the health industry. Some claim that alkaline water has many health benefits, including improving chronic health conditions and serious diseases such as cancer. But what exactly is alkaline water?
To understand what alkaline water is, it is essential to understand more about the concept of ‘alkaline’ and ‘alkalinity.’ Alkaline is a pH level on the pH scale. A pH (power of hydrogen) scale is a scale that reflects the acidity or alkalinity of any substance. The scale ranges from 0 to 14 – 0 being the most acidic, 14 being the most alkaline, and 7 being neutral.
Alkaline water falls on the high end of the pH scale. Water which has a pH level above 7 is alkaline. Eating foods that are alkaline and drinking alkaline water reduces the acid overload in the body. If you eat too many processed or junk foods or meat, your body may be more acidic than necessary. It’s important to remember that a certain amount of acid in the body is necessary for its healthy functioning. Still, too much of it causes inflammation and even diseases like cancer. (2)
And this is where alkaline water comes into the picture. Supporters of alkaline water claim that it helps in improving health by reducing acid levels in the body.
Does Alkaline Water Really Work?
There is very little evidence that proves the effectiveness of alkaline water. Some people claim that alkaline water really does work. And there are health professionals who say that alkaline water does not make any real difference.
According to WebMD, alkaline water reduces acid in the bloodstream and hence reduces metabolic dysfunctions, slows aging, boosts immunity, and improves digestion. It also increases energy and reduces bone loss.
And while there is not much research that indicates the benefits of alkaline water, there are few studies that do. For example, research conducted in July 2012 indicates that alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 reduces acid reflux and has therapeutic effects. (3)
Another research on animals who were given alkaline water states that it reduced their cholesterol levels significantly. The research further states that regular administration of alkaline water also brought abnormal lipid and glucose levels into balance. (4)
The same study also states that alkaline water reduced abnormal intestinal fermentation, gastric hyperacidity, and chronic diarrhea. (4) According to this study, bathing with alkaline water also has many health benefits.
Many doctors advise that normal water with a pH of 7 is enough for us to stay healthy and fit. However, tap water, because it contains added chemicals like fluoride and others, has a pH below 7 and is acidic. This means tap water is more acidic and is not healthy for the human body. Many people claim that drinking this tap water causes health issues like inflammation and other illnesses.
And for this reason, many have begun to alkalize their water. Another way to reduce acidity in the body is by eating fruits and vegetables, which are alkaline in nature.
What Are The Side-Effects And Risks Of Drinking Alkaline Water?
While drinking alkaline water has a few health benefits, there may also be potential side effects and risks that come with it. Alkaline water is mostly safe to consume. However, drinking too much alkaline water can reduce more than necessary acid content in the stomach.
As we mentioned above, a healthy amount of acid in the body is necessary for its healthy functioning. The acid in the body kills harmful bacteria and expels harmful parasites from your system. Drinking too much alkaline water can cause an imbalance in the acid levels and have adverse effects on your health.
Skin irritations and gastrointestinal issues are other side effects of excess alkalinity in the body. Additionally, excessive alkalinity can also cause a condition known as metabolic alkalosis. Nausea, vomiting, muscle twitching, confusion, tremors, and tingling in the extremities or face are symptoms of metabolic alkalosis. (5)
The onset of alkalosis also has an adverse effect on the central nervous system, skeletal muscle, and liver. (6)
Is Alkaline Water Natural Or Artificial?
Alkaline water is available in both forms – natural and artificial. Water that passes over rocks is naturally alkaline in nature because it picks up minerals in that process. But most people buy packaged alkaline water, which comes from an artificial chemical process known as electrolysis.
In electrolysis, we use something known as an ionizer. Ionizers help raise the pH level of the water. In this process, electricity is used to separate acidic water molecules from alkaline water molecules. The acidic water molecules are then discarded and funneled out.
The artificial process of alkalizing water also causes the loss of essential minerals from the water, which is not very healthy. Water that is rich in minerals is the healthiest type of water for us to drink. While it does not cause any harm, many doctors advise against drinking artificial alkaline water.
From Where Can I Buy Alkaline Water?
You can buy alkaline water in many groceries, medical, and health food stores. You can also buy it online from here. Many stores also sell ionizers. So, you can buy an ionizer and make your own alkaline water at home.
If you prefer natural alkaline water, you can use lemons to make some. Lemons are acidic in nature. But when consumed and digested, they turn Alkaline and alkalize the body. To make natural alkaline water, you can squeeze a half or full lemon into the water and then drink it.
Is Alkaline Water Safe?
Alkaline water is safe. But there are few studies and researches done to prove its benefits. Supporters of alkaline water claim it has many health benefits but whether they are true or not is yet to be proven.
While alkaline water is safe to consume, depending on it to heal illnesses and diseases would not be a wise move. Un till there is concrete evidence to prove the health benefits of alkaline water, it is wise to limit your consumption of it. If you find natural alkaline water from springs and waterfalls, drink how much you want as that is safe and rich in minerals.
However, refrain from consuming artificial alkaline water as it has low mineral content and may not have too many health benefits.