What Even is Alkaline Water?

Much has been made lately of the health benefits of alkaline water. But what is it, and is it really beneficial?

Like other substances, water’s acidity or alkalinity is measured by its pH level. pH is a number that measures acidity or alkalinity on a scale of 1 to 14, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline, and 7 being neutral. Anything with a value lower than 7 is considered acidic, and anything with a value above 7 is alkaline.

Tap or drinking water typically has a pH of 7 (neutral). Alkaline water has a pH of 8 or 9. Reverse-osmosis purified water (most bottled water) has a pH of 6.

Water that is naturally alkaline has likely flowed over rocks (in creeks or springs, for example) and acquired minerals, such as silica, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, in the process. Some argue that it’s not actually the pH level of alkaline water that is beneficial to the body, but the minerals it contains.

Much of the bottled alkaline water on the shelf is not naturally alkaline, and instead has been put through electrolysis, a process in which water molecules are separated and the acidic molecules are discarded, resulting in an alkaline product.

Supposed* benefits of drinking alkaline water include:

  • Mediation of low-grade acidosis
  • Reduction in blood viscosity
  • Help with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes
  • Increased skin hydration and health
  • Immunity support
  • Weight loss
  • Resistance to cancers
  • Detoxification

Meanwhile, critics point out* that drinking alkaline water could:

  • Impact gut health by lowering the stomach’s natural acidity level
  • Alter the body’s natural pH, resulting in alkalosis
  • Interfere with certain medications

In a nutshell, alkaline water’s impact on the body needs further study. The human body is already incredibly efficient at maintaining an appropriate pH, and attempts to adjust this balance should first be vetted by a doctor.

*MyTapWater.org has no opinion on the matter and will leave the research up to you.