According to Dr. John Turner, his nurses are drinking alkaline water and stating they are feeling better. Naturally, he was curious.
Turner began to investigate the alkaline water trend. There are multiple water fads currently, but alkaline water seems to be one of the biggest. He wondered if it was the fountain of youth or another money gobbling wishing well.
What Is Alkaline Water?
The most basic explanation is alkaline water is the opposite of acidic water. Sodas are acidic; they have a pH below 7, which is neutral. Alkaline water has a pH above 7. Water from the home tap has a pH of 7. The human body has a pH value of 7.4.
Alkaline water has either been bottled naturally from mineral springs or created by an ionizer. The pH of bottled alkaline water is between a pH of 8 and 9, which is the pH of baking soda.
Proponents of alkaline water claims that drinking it can help fight cancer, slow the aging process, increases energy, reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels in diabetics, reduces osteoporosis, improves blood flow, and treats acid reflux.
What Is the Science Behind These Claims?
According to research, the atmosphere inside cancerous tissue is acidic. In rats, producing an alkaline environment seemed to reduce the ability of cell growth. Additionally, mineral water has anti-oxidative effects which could benefit the body in fighting cancer.
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones lose minerals and become brittle. The claim is that alkaline water can promote stronger bones because the alkaline environment has been discovered to reduce bone decay, thus, bones should be stronger. The effects, however, in the study were small.
Can alkaline water help people live longer? So far, it helps mice live longer. In this study, mice drank alkaline water for three years and they lived longer than mice that drank regular water. It is possible the effect is due to the antioxidant properties in the alkaline water.
In Shanghai, it was discovered that alkaline water improved blood glucose levels in diabetics a little. There were also small benefits in blood pressure and cholesterol.
For those who have GERD or heartburn, drinking alkaline water, in theory, neutralizes some of the stomach acid improving symptoms. There is some truth to this theory.
Alkaline water definitely effects blood flow. One hundred people were tested after strenuous workouts and found a noticeable difference in blood viscosity in the group that drank alkaline water compared to regular water. There theory is that is “blood is less viscous then it flows better and thus provides more blood flow to the tissues that need it after a tough workout.” There is a slight increase in blood pH that allows the hemoglobin in the red blood cells to hold more oxygen.
Does the Body Become Toxic With Acid Build Up?
Turner says he is unable to answer this question. There is the belief that poor diet choices result in the accumulation of acid and free radicals in the body’s tissues that should be neutralized for the body to perform properly. Mineral water, which is naturally alkaline due to the minerals picked up from filtering through rocks and soil can, in theory, act like a neutralizer restoring the body to its normal pH.
Alkaline mineral or spring water has anti-oxidative properties. Many people have heard the term “antioxidant” as something that is good for the body. Skin care products with antioxidants claim to make the skin healthier. Vitamins with antioxidants help to protect the heart and blood vessels. Oxidants or free radicals in the environment may be involved in cancer, therefore, drinking mineral water with antioxidant properties can make the body healthier, right? It is possible, but more research needs to be completed.
When it comes to alkaline water, consumers have two choices: make it at home with an ionizer or purchase mineral or spring water. Either way, it is five times more expensive than regular bottled water. The health benefits may be worth the price, however, more research is needed to know for sure.
Although drinking alkaline water is safe, there can be negative side effects such as nausea, vomiting, tremors, facial tingling, and confusion. Turner says it is considered safe for those who want to try alkaline water but not to expect too much. A less expensive way to make water slightly alkaline is to squeeze lemon or lime juice into the water. Even though they contain citric acid, they react to produce alkaline water.
By Jeanette Smith
San Marcos Daily Record: A Handle On Your Health: Alkaline Water: Health Or Hype?
Image Courtesy of Free-Photos’ Pixabay Page – Creative Commons License