What is alkaline water? Is it healthier than spring or tap water? Recent research suggests that alkaline water could offer specific health benefits, but medical and health experts say there could be potential dangers as well.
What is alkaline water? Is it healthier than spring or tap water? Are there any warnings consumers should know before consuming alkaline water?
Alkaline water is defined by its pH level, says Dana Ellis Hunnes, senior dietitian at RR-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. She is also the author of the upcoming book “Recipe for Survival”, which explains how to be a healthier, more sustainable consumer. In short, pH is a measure of the acidity or base, i.e. alkaline, of a liquid.
Regular tap water and spring water generally have a neutral pH of 7, Hunnes says. Most alkaline waters have a pH of 8 or 9.
Alkaline waters also contain minerals such as:
– Bicarbonate.[See: How to Stay Hydrated This Summer.]
Is alkaline water a healthier choice?
Recent research suggests that alkaline water may offer specific health benefits.
A study published this year in the journal Medical Gas Research suggests that drinking alkaline water may have a positive effect on stool consistency and gut microbiota.
Research published in the journal Biology of Sport in 2017 suggests that drinking alkaline water “shows a positive effect on hydration status” after strenuous exercise. Consumption of alkaline water was also associated with “a positive effect on urine pH during the anaerobic testing protocol,” the researchers concluded.
An earlier study in SAGE Journals suggests that drinking alkaline water “may have therapeutic benefits for patients with reflux.”[SEE: Healthy Drinks Rich in Electrolytes.]
Minerals in alkaline water
Because alkaline water contains minerals, it’s important to let your primary health care provider know if you plan to consume it, says Sandra Arevalo, a registered dietitian who is director of community and patient education at the. Montefiore Nyack Hospital in Nyack, New York. Ask your health care provider if some of the minerals in alkaline water can interfere with the medications you take, she says.[See: Drinks That Give You a Buzz and No Hangover.]
Potential dangers of alkaline water
According to Henry Ford Health System, consuming modest amounts of alkaline water – say a bottle every other day – will not significantly affect your health. “However, if you drink a gallon of alkaline water a day, your body has to work hard to maintain its pH, which means over time your body will produce more gastric juices and digestive enzymes,” according to the ‘organization. For people who have kidney disease or who are taking medications that impair their kidney function, the minerals in alkaline water can start to build up in their bodies.
Drinking enough alkaline water to change your pH could potentially change your gastrointestinal pH, which could affect your blood pH and increase the risk of metabolic alkalosis. Metabolic alkalosis is a condition that occurs when your blood becomes too alkaline.
Symptoms of this condition include:
– Swelling of the lower leg.
Severe cases of metabolic alkalosis can lead to restlessness, seizures and coma.
Should you drink alkaline water?
So, is alkaline water healthier than other types of water? There isn’t enough research to say for sure that alkaline water is significantly healthier than other water choices, some food and nutrition experts say.
“Aggregate data doesn’t seem to indicate that alkaline water is significantly healthier than regular water,” Hunnes explains.
Either way, it’s important to drink plenty of water and stay away from drinks high in sugar, says Tambra Ray Stevenson, a Washington, DC-based nutritionist. She is the founder of Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture, a nonprofit organization in DC.
“Although the research is thin regarding the health benefits of alkaline water, the science is clear that drinking clean water is valuable to our overall health compared to sugary drinks,” said Stevenson. “So any opportunity to encourage people to drink more water, whether it’s alkaline or not, is important overall.
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What is alkaline water? Would that be okay with you? originally appeared on usnews.com