Among the most famous fans of alkaline water, Bill Gates, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, and even the former president Barack Obama have praised the benefits of including it in their diet. High-pH water has nearly doubled the price of bottled water, and it seems to be attracting increasingly more adepts. Some use it to get better hydration after an intense workout while others appreciate its antioxidant action and the effect it has against aging.
On the other hand, there’s another group of people who seem set to disprove all the claims related to this water and are convinced that a simple electrolysis process cannot turn regular water into a true remedy.
So, what’s the truth here? Switching from tap water to alkaline water isn’t cheap, no matter if you decide to buy it bottled or invest in the best water ionizer to provide it on demand, so it is better to make your research and see if you are throwing your money away at nothing. Here’s everything you know about its action, possible side effects, price, and use.
What Is Alkaline Ionized Water?
Unlike natural alkaline water, which has a basic pH due to the minerals it collects on its natural course, alkaline ionized water is produced with the help of a machine named ionizer. It is characterized by the following elements:
- pH value over 7 – The pH is the one that establishes how alkaline or acidic a substance is. The scale ranges from 0 to 14, with the value 7 being considered neutral. For example, lemon has a pH value of 2 while baking soda a 9. The first is considered acidic while the second is basic. Pure water has a pH of 7 and is neutral. An ionizer acts upon tap water, dividing it into two streams, one with high acidity and the second with increased alkalinity. This is how ionized water is obtained, and the process behind it is called electrolysis. Most ionizers can produce water with a pH of up to 12. However, for it to be safe to drink, you should select a value under 9.5.
- High ORP – This stands for the Oxidation-Reduction Potential and indicates how high the oxidizing or reducing properties of a liquid are. Ionized water has a high negative ORP, which means that it is more efficient in fighting the free radicals in the body than regular water.
- Selective filtering – Most ionizers come with a carbon-based filtering system which is efficient in removing chemicals and odors but allow the minerals to pass. Thus, the water preserves the calcium, magnesium, and potassium that are naturally found in it and can be used as a daily mineral intake source.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking It?
There’s a whole controversy around this type of water, and this is basically because the claims that come from both sides have no studies behind to support them. Even when the effects are visible, and people report feeling more hydrated and energized, the anti-alkaline side will argue that it is nothing but an expensive placebo.
Nevertheless, the few studies that have been performed have highlighted the following advantages:
- Antioxidant action – Your body constantly deals with free radicals and antioxidants and tries to maintain them balanced. They are both important, with the former being used to fight infections and the latter functioning as a control measure against oxidative stress, which can appear when free radicals become too many. Your body has its own control mechanism, but you can help it from the exterior by eating fruits, vegetables, and other food items that are rich in antioxidants. The high ORP in high-pH water shows that it has a strong antioxidant capacity, therefore can be used to keep prolonged oxidative stress from damaging your cells.
- Influences blood viscosity – This parameter describes the blood’s resistance to flow and can influence blood pressure. The thicker and stickier the blood is, the more difficult will find it to flow through the blood vessels. This leads to pressure building up inside and damage caused to the arterial walls. A study that was performed in this direction has shown that adults that drink alkaline water after working out show lower viscosity values than those who drink regular water.
- Hydrates faster and more profoundly – Another study was performed on the way aquaporins respond to the way water moves in and out of the cells. Aquaporins are proteins responsible to regulate water circulation at the cell level. The research showed that they tend to close when detecting increased acidity in the water, which eventually leads to less hydration. If the water is alkaline, this effect is avoided. The aquaporins stay open and allow for faster hydration.
- Helps reduce mineral deficiencies – Most people are looking for ways to provide extra filtration for the water they drink. However, water filtering systems come with highly-efficient filtering layers that don’t only remove the toxins but the minerals in the water. Drinking demineralized water can lead to calcium, magnesium, or potassium deficiencies. The advantage offered by an ionizer is that it filters the chlorine and other contaminants but lets the minerals pass, contributing to healthy body development and helping maintain the bones and the nervous system in good shape.
Are There Any Proven Side Effects?
These symptoms are more likely to appear in subjects switching to alkaline water for the first time, although there isn’t enough evidence yet to show a direct relation between ingesting high-pH water and the following effects:
- Flu-like symptoms – Some people reported feeling drained of energy in the first week and experiencing symptoms resembling the flu. The explanation offered by most alkaline water brands is that the body goes through a detoxification process, during which it excretes heavy metals that are found in the bloodstream.
- Water cravings – It isn’t uncommon for people to feel the need to drink more high-pH water. Overnight, the water tastes and smells good, as there’s no more chlorine to turn it into a repulsive beverage. Therefore, your brain starts craving for it as it would crave after a nice dessert. This is actually a good thing, especially if you have had a problem drinking the right amount of water every day.
- More often bathroom trips – Your body is going through a detox process, and you start discovering the amazing taste of alkaline water, so it is only natural to visit the bathroom more often. However, the trips tend to become more seldom as you get accustomed to the new water.
Can Alkaline Water be Dangerous?
Some specialists draw attention that a diet that is too alkaline can affect the stomach’s ability to neutralize bacteria and led to infections. Nonetheless, if this effect appears it is not necessarily linked to alkaline water intake but it most probably shows an existent affection.
Another risk that has been associated with this type of water is alkalosis. The symptom list includes numbness in the muscles, muscle twitching, vomit, dizziness, and confusion. This illness develops as a result of the blood becoming too alkaline, but, once again, it is less probable that a normal high-pH intake can cause the development of this problem.
Can You Drink It Every Day?
The answer is yes, but with some reserves. If you suffer from a kidney disease or are pregnant, you should ask your health care provider if it is safe to switch to it at the time being. If this isn’t the situation, you can start gradually include it in your diet. Start with four glasses a day and complete with regular water. In the beginning, you may experience some of the side effects we’ve described. Listen to your body. If you feel sick, reduce the volume until you feel comfortable. Then, start increasing it again, but at a slower pace. It won’t take long until alkaline water becomes part of your diet, and you will never want to return to tap or bottled water.
Where Can You Buy Alkaline Ionized Water?
You can find it bottled in stores or online, or go in special alkaline water centers where it is produced on the spot and bottled for you. The problem with bottled ionized water is that it leads to plastic waste and pollution. Plus, recent studies have shown that the plastic in the bottles can pass into the water and get ingested. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get excreted. The particles are tiny enough to enter the bloodstream and form cysts in the muscles. It is the reason for which bottled water should be avoided at all costs.
Is It Worth Paying Extra for It?
If you are going to buy bottled high-pH water, the costs can be as high as $1,100 per year. This can seem pretty high when you think that you are spending over $90 per month on water. The alkaline water industry is actually becoming richer and richer every year, with more people switching to this type of water. And the benefits suggest that these are money well-spent. Nevertheless, there’s still the problem with bottled water we have previously presented, so you may want to pick an alternative way of getting your daily high-pH water intake.
Can You Make High-pH Water at Home?
This is actually the method preferred by most people, and it consists of installing a water ionizer at home. These units’ prices can vary from a few tens of dollars to hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Nevertheless, even if you invest in one costing, let’s say $1,000, in only one year, you will recover your investment and can rely on it to turn your tap water into ionized water for free in the following years.
Plus, owning an ionizer, means that you can select the pH that works best for you and take advantage of the secondary product, which is the acidic water. You can use it to clean around the house, as it has great sanitizing properties, or you can mix it with different ingredients and make effective cosmetic treatments.
When weighing the advantages and the disadvantages, it seems that ionized water is an excellent choice, and it being picked by some of the smartest people in the world tends to confirm this hypothesis. Nevertheless, for it to be a good investment for your pocket, you should skip the bottled option and go straight for a water ionizer. This is the best case of “get the cow to not have to pay for the milk anymore”, and you shouldn’t pass on the offer. Just make sure you pick a reliable brand and a machine that can produce water with various pH levels.