A woman drinking water

A woman drinking water (Photo from pexels.com)

It’s no secret that drinking water is important for survival. Water does so much more than just quench your thirst. Almost everything the human body does requires water to carry out its functions. After all, around 60 percent of your body weight is water. You may have seen health gurus rave about alkaline water and how it’s way better than any other type of water you can find. However, there is no science that supports this idea.

What is alkaline water?

What makes water “alkaline” is the pH level. A pH level measures how acidic or basic a substance is from a scale of 0 to 14 (most acidic to most basic). For example, a pH of 2 would be considered highly acidic, while a pH of 12 would be considered very basic, or alkaline. According to the World Health Organization, the typical pH of water usually falls between 6.5 and 8.5.

The Environmental Protection Agency continues to recommend that the pH of drinking water be within this range. In low-income areas, pH levels can fall below this. Alkaline water is usually made by an ionization process that chemically alters the water to make it more alkaline and reduce acidity. It must also contain minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The typical pH level of this water is 8 or 9.

(Photo by Pixabay from Pexels)

Is alkaline water better for you?

The typical pH level of this water is 8 or 9. Given most pure water has a pH of 7, there is only a ~1-2 point difference. You might’ve heard that it “neutralizes the blood in your body.” There is no research that supports this. Even if this was true, the single to couple point difference wouldn’t be enough to cause significant shifts. Not to mention, the desirable pH level for the human body is 7.35 to 7.45, and our body tightly regulates this. Shifts in the body’s acid-base chemistry usually happen when there is an active illness present, such as diabetic ketoacidosis.

Others claim that alkaline water hydrates you better than regular water. The pH level has no relationship to how hydrating water is. Regardless, if you don’t drink enough water, you won’t be hydrated anyway, despite the type you go with. The only way this claim may have some validity is if you consider that magnesium, sodium, and potassium all help with hydration, and alkaline water usually includes them. The rest of the claims, such as weight loss and disease prevention, are also not supported by any concrete evidence.

Bottom Line

Alkaline water isn’t much better than regular water. It won’t harm you to drink it, but it’s just a marketing tool more than anything else. The biggest focus should be the amount of water you are drinking and not if it’s alkaline or not. Try to make sure you get close to 64 ounces per day to ensure proper hydration.

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About Shyla Cadogan, RD

Shyla Cadogan is a DMV-Based acute care Registered Dietitian. She holds specialized interests in integrative nutrition and communicating nutrition concepts in a nuanced, approachable way.

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