Alkaline Water vs. Filtered Water: Do You Know the Difference?
What Is Alkaline Water (and How Is It Different from Filtered Water)?
Here’s a quick science lesson: Every food and drink has a pH level, from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very basic, or alkaline). Normal drinking water, for its part, usually has a pH of 7. Alkaline water typically has a pH between 7.5 and 9. Proponents of eating and drinking more alkaline things believe that doing so will help keep your blood pH level as alkaline as possible. In turn, having more alkaline levels is thought to reduce your risk of developing a number of diseases, including cancer and arthritis, as well as increase energy levels, reduce inflammation and a host of other health benefits.
What Are the Potential Benefits of Alkaline Water?
Some folks believe that the more alkaline the body is, the less likely you are to contract certain illnesses and diseases. One 2016 study at Italy’s University of Padua found that mice who consumed alkaline water lived longer than mice that didn’t, though researchers admitted that more research would be necessary. Another study published in The Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology found that drinking naturally carbonated artesian-well alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 might help deactivate pepsin, an enzyme that causes acid reflux.
What Are the Potential Downsides to Alkaline Water?
It’s important to note that overall, your body does well at keeping its pH within a narrow range to maintain the acid-base balance. Your kidneys and lungs work together to do this and even the acid in your stomach can neutralize the more alkaline substances you ingest.
In terms of downsides, experts say that while drinking alkaline water won’t hurt you (any kind of hydration is good hydration), it might not have all the benefits its proponents suggest it has.
How Much Water (Alkaline or Filtered) Should I Be Drinking Each Day?
Although there’s no consensus on how much water people should drink each day, the CDC and the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) say each person’s guide should be their own thirst. If you’re feeling parched, drink some water—simple as that. As a very general guideline, the FNB suggests women should drink around 2.7 liters (or 2/3 gallon) of water daily and men around 3.7 liters (about 1 gallon). (Note that those amounts include the water you get from eating, which estimates show makeup to 20 percent of daily intake).
Is Alkaline Water Related to the Alkaline Diet?
Yes, though many folks drink alkaline water without following a strict alkaline diet. The general gist is that dieters replace more acidic foods with ingredients that have an alkaline pH of 7 or higher. (High school science flashback: a pH of 7 is neutral. Anything lower is acidic. Anything higher is basic.) Proponents of the diet believe that eating mostly alkaline foods will help keep your blood pH level as alkaline as possible. In turn, a higher blood pH level is thought to reduce your risk of developing a number of diseases, including cancer and arthritis, as well as increase energy levels and reduce inflammation. But, as with alkaline water, more studies are needed to prove the efficacy of the alkaline diet.
What’s the Bottom Line?
At the end of the day, we know that drinking water has loads of health benefits, from speeding up our metabolisms and preventing headaches to keeping us regular and flushing toxins from our bodies. While more research is necessary to confirm the supposed benefits of alkaline water, it’s still water, meaning it’ll do your body a whole lot of good regardless.