Alkaline water – water that has been treated to have a higher pH level than most tap and bottled water – is rising in popularity.
Proponents say that it can deliver many benefits and is particularly therapeutic for people who suffer from reflux disease.
Others claim alkaline water can provide better hydration and may have benefits for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
What is alkaline water?
Regular tap water has a pH of around seven, which is a neutral pH – neither alkaline nor acidic. Alkaline water is water that has been ionised to raise its pH level to around nine.
How do I buy or make alkaline water?
You can buy it bottled – with brands such as Actiph Alkaline Ionised Water and Aquavia Alkaline Natural Spring Water sold in UK supermarkets – or you can get supplement tap water with minerals.
You can also buy a machine, called a water ioniser, which creates alkaline water via a process called ionisation. This is where water is broken into its ion components H2 and O. H2 is positively charged and therefore attracts negatively charged ions, such as free radicals.
There are several YouTube videos that claim to show you how to make alkalised water at home using tap water and things like baking soda.
How could alkaline water help with reflux?
In 2012, a study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology journal looked into the ‘potential benefits of pH 8.8 alkaline drinking water as an adjunct in the treatment of reflux disease’.
It concluded that unlike conventional drinking water, pH 8.8 alkaline water instantly denatures the stomach enzyme pepsin, rendering it permanently inactive.
In addition, it stated that alkaline water has ‘good acid-buffering capacity’ meaning the ‘consumption of alkaline water may have therapeutic benefits for patients with reflux disease’.
In 2020, RefluxMD published the results of an alkaline water study. It asked its community members to track both their symptoms and medication use 12 days before using alkaline water and 12 days while drinking alkaline water.
Eighty-seven per cent reported that alkaline water reduced their symptoms, and 56 per cent reported a reduction of at least 40 per cent of their symptoms. Meanwhile, members taking medications five days or more during the two 12-day periods were reduced from 44 per cent to 25 percent. In addition, the days where the participants took medication was reduced by 41 per cent.
But does alkaline water really make a difference?
Despite all the claims, there are limited controlled studies that assess the clinical benefit of alkaline water in patients.
In 2020, the Pharmacological Activity Investigation of Alkaline Water – A Review paper published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research concluded that:
“Regardless of the advancement of the alkaline water by the media and sales representatives, there is no genuine research to either encourage or discredit these facts and figures. This methodical survey of the writing uncovered an absence of proof possibly in support of alkaline water for the inception or treatment of malignancy. Advancement of alkaline water to people in general for cancer and other acid-related diseases treatment isn’t legitimised.”
Some go as far as to dismiss the benefits of alkaline water completely.
Alkaline water is “just another fad without science to support it”, according to US physician Kent Sepkowitz in 2013.
Didn’t I hear that alkaline water is dangerous?
In the US, health regulators issued a warning in March 2021 against drinking Real Water’s bottled alkaline water product after it was linked to liver failure and non-viral hepatitis.
The bottled water is advertised as ‘alkalized water infused with negative ions’.
The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating a number of reports of heath issues in the state of Nevada associated with Real Water brand alkaline water. It warned that it is crucial that consumers, restaurants, distributors, and retailers not drink, cook with, sell, or serve Real Water alkaline water.
Is it safe to drink alkaline water then?
Everybody’s body is different, and we always recommend you consult with your doctor to find out if lifestyle and dietary changes are right for you.
It is not clear if water with pH 9 will reduce your dependence on medications or relieve all your reflux symptoms. However, drinking more water, in general, can deliver considerable health benefits.
This is an informational blog and does not constitute diet or lifestyle advice – we always recommend you do your own research on top to ensure it’s right for your specific circumstances. You can always get in touch if you have any questions. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.