What’s Your Water’s pH?
A new trend in health food stores and sites is alkalized water. Alkalized water is normal H2O but with an increased pH over 7.0. Normal tap water is filtered and mineralized to have a pH of 7 which is exactly in the middle of the acid-base scale. An acidic liquid like orange juice or coffee would have a pH under 7. The idea is that this water will buffer the normal acidic American diet and lead to better health and fitness. By comparison, soda has a ph of 4, whereas most alkalized water has a pH around 9-10, the same as milk of magnesia.
The question is: Can high pH water make us healthier? Heart burn and stomach ulcers are a result of having increased stomach acid and not being able to control its production. Drinking basic water would help neutralize the acidity of the stomach and help control the pH levels decreasing heartburn. Also any dangerous microorganisms that live in the gut prefer an acidic environment. Introducing water that possesses negative oxidation-reduction potential means it might offer extra disinfectant properties.
Studies have shown that ionized alkalized water lowered glycation levels and reduced liver damage in individuals with poor control of blood sugar. High glycation levels are associated with Alzheimer’s and diabetes. It is proposed that drinking high pH water can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and help control diabetes.
Lastly, exercise and physical activity cause the body to produce hydrogen ions and free radicals. These ions increase the bodies’ acidity and causes fatigue. Drinking alkaline water might enhance the body’s buffering capacity and temper the acidity, thus improving performance. The ions in the water also decrease cardiorespiratory stress and blood lactate responses which increase recovery. These positive effects have proponents of alkalized water suggesting that it would also decrease cancer causing free radicals that thrive in acidic environments.
Alkalizing water producers may suggest many health claims from fighting cancer to decreasing heartburn burn, but no negative effects are known. It is still water and a large bottle costs the same as Fugi® or Smart Water® in your local health food store. Next time you feel parched, grab a bottle and see how you feel. What’s the worst that can happen? You are only hydrating.
Yours in health,
Dr. Justin Hildebrand