Most people who have jumped on the train of drinking alkaline water will swear to you that if you’re still drinking from the tap, then day by day, you are slowly poisoning your body by filling it full of toxins.
Tap water is clearly the devil, tightening its grip on your ankles with each sip, dragging you closer and closer to the hells of disease and torment with each gulp.
Seriously? What's the alternative?
This nifty little beverage called alkaline water. And you can even make it at home if you don't mind coughing up a few thousand bucks for an ionizer. Don't worry though, the investment you're making in your health to consume the elixir "they" don't want you to know about is going to pay off when you live to be 150.
But why even go through this trouble? What in the heck is the problem with normal ol’ H20? Well, the claim is that drinking alkaline water fights inflammation, aging, chronic disease and can even help you to lose weight. However, what is alkaline water, what does it do to your body and is it really worth all of the hype?
What Is Alkaline Water (also known as Ionized Water)?
The term “alkaline” has its roots in chemistry. For the sake of boring you to death or triggering your trauma with the horrors of your Gen Chem 2 class, I won’t go into the dirty details of acids and bases in this article.
However, one thing you should know for later is that there are two ends of the spectrum that substances can fall under: acidic or basic. On the pH scale, the most acidic substances have a pH of 0 and the most basic (otherwise known as alkaline) substances have a pH of 14.
An example of very acidic would be your stomach acid, while something like bleach would fall into the basic category. Water? It falls exactly in the middle at a pH of 7 making it a neutral substance.
However, if you ionize your water by either buying it that way or buying one of those fancy health machines I mentioned earlier, you do this by adding minerals such as magnesium carbonate and sodium chloride which makes the water more alkaline. So, why do people drink this stuff? What benefit does taking your water from a neutral pH to a more basic or alkaline one have to your body?
What’s the Buzz Around Alkaline Water?
The theory is that most chronic diseases develop in an acidic environment in the body. By drinking alkaline water, you can make your blood less acidic and therefore you’ll be prancing around with the golden blood of the Gods in comparison to your foolish, tap-drinking friends.
It’s believed that drinking alkaline water regularly reduces chronic inflammation and thus chronic disease. However, what does science say?
Let’s get right to the point, shall we? I’ve already wasted too much time on this nonsense.
Studies (and just basic knowledge of human metabolism) show that what you eat and drink has basically zero impact on your blood pH. Good thing, too, otherwise alkaline water would literally kill you. Even small fluctuations in your blood pH are lethal. So, the irony here is that the purported mechanism of alkaline water that is supposed to imbibe your bloodstream with those sweet, sweet health benefits is actually deadly to your body.
Luckily, alkaline water won’t be killing anyone any time soon. That’s because, regardless of how much you drink, your body has systems in place to keep your blood pH tightly regulated between 7.36 to 7.44.
That’s a super small margin! And you only see this change in times of extreme sickness such as uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis or drug and alcohol overdoses. I don’t think I need to tell you that none of which are exactly ideal for health.
At the end of the day, when it comes to what you consume, everything you eat and drink hits your stomach acid during digestion. Then, it travels to your intestines to be absorbed, but your body releases alkaline chemicals to neutralize the stomach acid for the digesting food to travel through your GI tract safely without, you know, melting your insides.
Basically, everything ends up being the same pH balance regardless of what it is before it is absorbed into your body and enters your bloodstream.
The Bottom Line?
There’s basically no research on alkaline water for a reason: any scientist who knows basic biology knows that it has no impact on your blood pH and therefore your health. Who is going to waste their research grants to find out what we scientists already knew about human digestion?
Most of the hype you hear is from scammers trying to sell you ionizers and anecdotes from people likely experiencing a placebo effect. As long as you are staying hydrated, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and a generally balanced diet, you can still avoid chronic disease and save a lot of money in the process.