Every year, there’s a new liquid consumable du jour popping up in a prominent display section at your local gas station or grocery store, promising health benefits (remember Vitamin Water?). But how much talk about the health benefits of alkaline water is hype, and how much is honest? Should you buy in?
Understanding Water, and Alkaline Water
By nature, regular tap water has a neutral pH. You might remember testing different liquids in chemistry class by dipping a strip in them to determine their pH — you can get those same strips at a hardware store to test your water to see what kind of balance your tap water has, but chances are it will fall around 7, which is neutral.
Alkaline water (also known as ionized water or ionized alkaline water), by contrast, is water that is has a pH level higher than 7, and the general idea is that drinking it will help your body neutralize acids that can be harmful. You can purchase bottled alkaline water, or an alkaline water filter to produce the same effect at home. Common claims indicate that alkaline water can help improve your overall health and fitness as a result. But does the hype live up to the actual results? You might be surprised.
Myth Number 1: Alkaline Water is Good for Your Health
To the degree that any water is good for your health, alkaline water can be beneficial for you. It’s important to realize however, that in most cases, drinking plenty of regular (neutral) water every day is in itself, a key component of having a healthy diet and lifestyle.
That said, claims that alkaline water is more beneficial than ordinary water have not been substantiated by anything more than anecdotal evidence.
Myth Number 2: Alkaline Water and Anti-Aging Claims
Again, drinking plenty of water as a general rule has a lot of benefits for a more youthful affect. Besides improving overall skin complexion, drinking enough water flushes out toxins and free radicals in the body that can cause the cell deterioration primarily responsible for premature aging.
Alkaline water, as a result, can be shown to help prevent the biggest culprits of premature aging, however, there simply isn’t enough data to demonstrate that it has a bigger impact than drinking simple, neutral pH tap water.
Myth Number 3: Alkaline Water Prevents Illness
Proper hydration can help you ward off the common cold and keep you healthier in general. Lots of water helps support your immune system by flushing toxins from your body more effectively. Proponents of alkaline water (mostly those organizations and individuals selling alkalizers and/or alkaline water) will tell you alkaline water is better suited to keeping you feeling fine than regular tap water, but the evidence just isn’t there.
In studies that compared alkaline water drinkers with regular water drinkers, the biggest differentiator for health and avoiding ailments like the flu and common colds still comes down to the amount of water consumed, not whether or not it was alkalized.
Our bodies are designed to funciton effectively with plain, neutral pH water. They’re designed to find their own balance, and while many health trends come and go, the biggest takeaway is that simple hydration is the key. The more water you drink (to a point) the healthier you’ll be, whether that water is slightly more alkaline, or slightly more acidic.
Want to experience all the benefits of alkaline water? You’ll likely be just as well off saving your money and drinking fresh, filtered tap water. As long as the water you’re drinking is free from harmful contaminants, you’ll benefit from getting your daily recommended ounces (the rule of thumb is at least 64 ounces per day, or 8, 8-ounce glasses) of water.
Unsure if your tap water is the freshest it could be? Your local Culligan Man is happy to test your water for free to help you decide if you should be drinking filtered water rather than what’s currently coming out of your tap. Schedule your free water test today, or learn more about the benefits of drinking water.