What is alkaline water?
Water is essential for maintaining your health and wellbeing. The human body may be made of up to 60% water but it’s you who has to keep your water levels topped up, so your body and mind can function as they should.
With so many different types of water out there, however, finding the right water to do just that amongst the never-ending trends can be difficult.
Alkaline water is one such trend that’s been taking the world by storm in recent years. In fact, it’s the fastest-growing beverage category on the planet and it’s only expected to get bigger over the coming years.
Here we take a closer look at alkaline water to reveal whether this water type is worth the hype or simply another fad that’ll soon be forgotten.
What exactly is alkaline water?
Its name may refer to the pH level of the water but with a pH of 8 or 9, there’s not a dramatic difference between this pH and normal drinking water’s neutral pH of 7.
This slight difference in pH however is said to unlock numerous benefits for the drinker thanks to its ability to neutralise acid within the body.
Alkaline water’s negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) is another quality that’s thought to make it more of a wonder drink, with its negative ORP cementing its status as an antioxidant.
Alkaline water also contains alkaline minerals that normal drinking water doesn’t, including calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
These are beneficial to health, but could the mineral boost you get from your alkaline water really help you harness additional plus-points?
Is alkaline water good for you?
Alkaline water is said to boost health and wellbeing in several ways. It’s claimed that alkaline water improves your metabolism and aids digestion to make weight loss even easier.
It supposedly increases your energy levels to fight that daytime fatigue without the use of sugar-laden snacks.
It is also thought to slow ageing to leave you looking just as great on the outside as you feel on the inside.
Long term, bone health is said to be improved by alkaline water, with the low pH of normal drinking water blamed for a long list of health concerns, including osteoporosis.
In addition to this, enthusiasts have supported the use of alkaline water for preventing many types of cancer. The higher pH value of the water is said to have the ability to ‘starve cancer cells’.
Does science back up these claims?
In short, no. There has been very limited scientific research into the short and long term effects of drinking alkaline water.
Alkaline water’s ability to change the pH of the blood and wider body is widely disputed. Studies have found that, like most foods and drinks, it is possible to change the pH of your urine by drinking alkaline water. There are however no benefits to making this waste product less acidic.
In an article by The Guardian, author and celebrity health advice debunker Tim Caulfield was asked why alkaline water is so popular despite the lack of scientific evidence. Here’s what he had to say in response:
“It sounds plausible. It is a science-y sounding idea that has intuitive appeal. Alkaline water is also part of the multi trillion-dollar wellness industry, much of which is built on the marketing of science-free products and practices. There seems [to be] an unquenchable thirst for new and unique strategies for maximizing health and avoiding disease.”
The placebo effect has also been blamed for the links between alkaline water and its supposed benefits.
With backing from a legion of celebrities, however, it seems alkaline water is a drinking water trend that’s here to stay.
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