Health Benefits of Alkaline Water
Learn what the health benefits of alkaline water are to understand its importance in your body.
In this article:
- The Dietary Habits of the Longest-Lived Cultures
- The Delicate Balance of pH
- Human Body pH Balance
- How Your Body Maintains Its pH
- Acidosis and Disease
- Acidity Comes from Many Sources
- What Is Alkaline Water, and Where Can You Get It?
- Alkaline Water and Ionized Water
- What Does Alkaline Water Do for Your Body?
- Alkaline Water Versus Distilled Water Versus Reverse Osmosis
Health Benefits of Alkaline Water | What You Must Know
The Dietary Habits of the Longest-Lived Cultures
There are two commonly studied cultures in which folks live to 100+ at 30 times the rate of Americans: The Hunzas and the Okinawans.
One lives in the shadows of the Himalayas, and the other resides on a subtropical island about 400 miles south of Japan. Eating a plant-based diet is one thing both cultures have in common.
The second commonality is the water they drink. While they may describe it as “living water,” we, in the U.S., refer to it as alkaline water.
Before we delve into the health benefits of alkaline water, let’s take a brief trip back to Chemistry 101 and the pH scale.
This scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. It ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 being very acidic (think battery acid) and 14 being very alkaline (think liquid drain cleaner). In the middle lies pure drinking water, with a pH level of 7.
The Delicate Balance of pH
All living things require certain pH levels, both in and around them, in order to survive.
Now, let’s take a look at the human body and the planet at large. Before the industrial revolution, the pH of the oceans had remained at 8.2 for millions of years . In less than 100 years, predominantly, due to carbon dioxide (CO2), we have decreased the pH of the seas to 8.1. This seemingly insignificant drop has disrupted the delicate balance that must be maintained for life to thrive in the oceans. One-tenth of a point on the pH scale is actually very significant!
In fact, it is making it harder for coral to build skeletons and for shellfish to build protective shells. By 2050 live coral reefs, the home to millions of sea creatures, are projected to become an endangered species .
Human Body pH Balance
What does that have to do with your body? To begin, did you know that 70% of your body and 80% of your brain and blood are made up of water? And, just like the oceans, your body must maintain a certain pH level to survive.
For humans, the pH of the blood is right around 7.4. If this level changes for some reason, in either direction, even by as little as .05, you may be in danger of entering comatose, and if it rises to 7.8 or lowers to 6.8, you risk death .
How Your Body Maintains Its pH
Because of this very small pH range, your body goes to incredible lengths to maintain its acid-alkaline balance.
The lungs get rid of CO2 every time you exhale, while the kidneys eliminate both sulfuric and uric acids. They do this work by using alkali reserves derived from the diet.
When these dietary reserves are unavailable, the body draws the needed amount in the form of calcium and other alkaline minerals from your bone, teeth, and tissues, ultimately weakening your entire body.
If the processes that maintain an alkaline environment can’t keep up with the body’s production of acids, a condition called “acidosis” results. With this overabundance of acidity, your cells no longer function properly, and a wide variety of health problems emerge.
Acidosis and Disease
Diseases associated with an acidic environment include cancer, diabetes, kidney damage, heart disease, stroke, liver problems, arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, acid reflux, and premature aging.
The bottom line: To maintain health and energy, we need a body that is alkaline.
Acidity Comes from Many Sources
Unfortunately, much of today’s Standard American Diet is processed food, meats (animal proteins), sugar, white flour, dairy products, coffee, and soda—all of which are acidic.
Even pharmaceuticals, the electromagnetic frequencies in your environment, and stress can lead to an acidic inner terrain.
On the other hand, a high alkaline diet consists mostly of vegetables, fruits, ancient grains, beans, and, of course, alkaline water.
What Is Alkaline Water, and Where Can You Get It?
Alkaline water typically has a pH level of about 8 or 9. It also contains several key minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium.
Alkaline water occurs in nature. As water travels over rocks, it picks up minerals and becomes alkaline. Spring water obtained from natural sources are alkaline for this reason. (Sometimes, spring water is dirty, though, so the many “natural spring” bottled water brands aren’t necessarily better.)
There is a problem, however, with purchasing the alkaline bottled water you see at stores. Many of these add rock and chalk-derived minerals that are not bioavailable to the human body. (In other words, your body doesn’t absorb and utilize minerals found in chalk and rocks well.)
In addition, ionized alkaline water does not keep well in plastic bottles and, ultimately, can lose its charge.
And, as with any bottled water, plastic is bad for the environment. In 2017, Americans purchased about 13.7 billion gallons of bottled water. Not only are we adding a majority of these to landfills and depleting our natural springs, but we’re also depleting our pocketbooks.
Essentia, a bottled alkaline water advertising a 9.5 pH level, costs about $7.33 per gallon. Compare this to alkaline water derived from a water ionizer in your home, installed on your sink, which comes in at a mere 17 cents per gallon, and you can see that purchasing alkaline spring water gets expensive, quickly!
Alkaline Water and Ionized Water
Another common name for alkaline water is “ionized water.” The best and most efficient way to make alkaline water is with the use of a water ionizer.
I’ve had my own water ionizer installed under my sink that dispenses from a faucet drilled into my counter for years now—and I love it! A friend told me about it, 10 years ago, and she said the health gains were so impressive that they rivaled her shift to a vegan, mostly raw diet years before when she was diagnosed with cancer.
One of the health benefits of alkaline water my children and I noticed right away is significant energy increase.
Not only can you set the pH to a perfect 9.5, but also the ionization process creates antioxidants—those compounds that we derive mostly from the fruits and vegetables we eat and that remove waste products from our cells before they can do harm.
Ionized alkaline water is also able to permeate your cells more easily, making it more hydrating than tap or filtered water.
Did you know you can increase your pH by drinking alkaline water more than any other habit—even adopting a raw vegan diet?
What Does Alkaline Water Do for Your Body?
The health benefits of alkaline water are numerous:
- Creates an inhospitable environment for disease states, including cancer
Did you know most pathogens and cancer cells cannot survive in an alkaline environment? Keiichi Morishita, author of The Hidden Truth of Cancer, explains:
“Acid decreases energy production in the cells, the ability to repair damaged cells, the ability to detoxify heavy metals, and makes the body more susceptible to fatigue and illness. Your body pH affects everything. Research has proven that disease cannot survive in an alkaline state, and that, viruses, bacteria, yeast, mold, fungus, candida, and cancer cells thrive in an acidic, low oxygen, low pH environment .”
- Manages blood sugar
Your pancreas is the organ responsible for making insulin. This is the hormone that allows your cells to use glucose, or sugar, for the energy they need to perform their many functions. When the pancreas stops making enough insulin, sugar builds up in your bloodstream and resulting in diabetes.
The pancreas requires an alkaline environment in order to produce digestive enzymes and release insulin. Dr. Keijiro Kuwabara of Japan has been successfully treating diabetes with alkaline water for many years .
- Detoxifies and promotes weight loss
The accumulation of acid wastes around the cells creates a toxic condition. In an attempt to remediate this environment, the body creates fat cells whose mission is to contain the acid waste and keep it away from the body’s vital organs.
Creating an alkaline environment reduces these toxins, which essentially takes away the fat cells’ reason for existence. The result is reduced fat and movement toward a natural and healthy weight.
- Lowers stroke and heart disease risk
One important advantage among the health benefits of alkaline water is that it lowers risks of stroke and heart disease. As we mentioned, the pH of the body is intimately tied to your blood’s quality. As acidity and dietary waste increase, so, too, does cholesterol-forming plaque and acid crystals that build up on the wall of the blood vessels.
Narrowing of the arteries and veins ultimately reduces blood flow, leading to both heart disease and stroke.
Alkaline water with a high mineral content has been shown to lower the incidence of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer .
By the same token, reducing acid crystals also alleviates gout—a painful condition associated with the accumulation of uric acid in the joints.
- Lowers cholesterol (and increases weight loss)
You may have heard of metabolic syndrome. It is characterized by obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and low amounts of HDL (the “good guy” in cholesterol) and is a predictor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center had subjects drink alkaline water for 8 weeks. All participants demonstrated improvement in the levels of oxidative stress markers including a decrease in “bad” cholesterol and an increase in antioxidant activity .
Their conclusion? Hydrogen-rich ionized water represents a potential therapeutic and preventive strategy for the treatment of metabolic syndrome.
- Reduces osteoporosis risk
As the body fights to maintain its alkaline levels despite an acidic environment, it pulls calcium (an alkalizing mineral) from bones and teeth.
A study reported in the medical journal Bone revealed that participants who drank alkaline water had significant reductions in two biomarkers used to measure bone loss .
- Reduces acid reflux symptoms
Notice that I said “symptoms.” While the billion-dollar antacid industry would like you to believe that too much acid in the stomach is the cause of your “heartburn,” the truth is your stomach contains one of the most powerful acids known—hydrochloric acid.
When this acid is deficient, the stomach must use what acids it contains and, in an attempt to digest protein, churns violently, causing pressure and backflow into the esophagus and eventually weakening the delicate sphincter that separates the stomach (and the acids it contains) from the esophagus.
Alkaline water helps soothe acid reflux because the higher pH level kills pepsin, the enzyme involved in breaking down proteins in the stomach and one of the main contributors of acid reflux.
In much the same way antacids work, alkaline water offers relief from some very uncomfortable symptoms.
A study conducted at the Voice Institute of New York concluded that drinking alkaline water (8.8 pH) instantly inactivated pepsin and had good acid-buffering capabilities .
The bottom line? Considering the many health benefits of alkaline water, it is a much better choice when reducing the symptoms of heartburn than taking antacids.
(Ultimately, however, you want to get down to the cause of esophageal reflux, which can, in almost all cases, relate to a diet high in processed foods, alcohol, soda, fried foods, or vegetable oils.)
Alkaline Water Versus Distilled Water Versus Reverse Osmosis
Bottled water is part of a multi-billion-dollar industry. In 2017, they generated about $2.52 billion in sales in the U.S. alone .
The sad fact is that humans are now consuming one million plastic bottles of water per minute. Yes, that is “per minute.”
And 91 percent of these are not recycled. Almost all the plastic produced by this current craze is added to landfills or ends up in the oceans. By 2050, it is estimated that the ocean will contain more plastic, by weight, than fish .
When you consider the results of a four-year study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council that found 40 percent of bottled water was just regular tap water put in a bottle, you realize the importance of buying your own water filtration system that creates healthy water from your tap .
A few of the different types of home water filters include the following:
- Activated Carbon Filters
These filter out larger particles and reduce the amount of chlorine in the water. Carbon filters eliminate pollutants through absorption, and while they are good at removing chlorine and other chemicals, they are not so good at filtering heavy metals.
- Reverse Osmosis
This popular filter is said to trap over 90 percent of all dissolved salts, bacteria, and heavy metals. On the other hand, it is not as efficient at filtering out chlorine.
- Distilled Water
Distilled water filters are capable of removing just about everything from your water. Unfortunately, this includes the minerals important to good health such as calcium and magnesium. Distilled, reverse osmosis, and activated carbon filters all tend to produce water in the acidic range.
- Alkaline/Water Ionizers
Water ionizers use a process known as electrolysis. The alkaline water machine makes electrically charged plates separate the water into two streams—one of which is alkaline. It removes toxins and chemicals while concentrating health-giving alkaline minerals.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the health benefits of alkaline water, you know this incredible water should be on your diet list. It is also important to consider getting a water ionizer because many alkaline bottled water brands on the market today are just tap or regular water. So, start drinking alkaline water now and enjoy its long-term health benefits.
Next: Learn more about water ionizers, including the one I use every day, in my webinar. Check it out here for a group buy pricing.
Have you tried alkaline water? What benefits have you noticed? Tell us in the comments section!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 24, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.