The Scientific Truth about Alkaline Water
"Is alkaline water really better for you? How much is safe to consume? Is it worth the hype? Should some people drink it more than others?" - the barrage of questions flooding my Instagram DMs. (do you follow me yet? @carolinafunctionalnutrition)
Alkaline Water: Fact or Fad?
Although you’ve probably read otherwise from celebrities touting the latest nutrition fad, alkaline water (or food) does not necessarily alkalize the blood. This process is tightly regulated by the kidneys. Although severe disease can acidify the blood, eating meat will not drastically change the blood pH even if urine pH changes. This is just one more example of how a balanced, omnivorous diet naturally supports internal balance.
Reflux + Water pH
There was a 2013 study that suggested that alkaline water may help reduce reflux symptoms, but again this is not due to a change in blood pH-only the fact that pepsin (needed for stomach acid production) was inactivated and therefore reduced overall stomach acid production.
Is this different than taking an OTC acid reducer like calcium carbonate? Not much. And at the end of the day, we need stomach acid to digest protein, so reducing it long term is not a solution as protein is needed for muscle and bone integrity. (Side note-what is the root issue? Is it even excess stomach acid to begin with? In many cases, low stomach acid is a more common cause of reflux, especially when other GI or hypothyroid symptoms or are present.)
Looking for clarity on what the root cause of your symptoms could be? Take this quiz.
Dental Decay + Water pH
There was also a study done with regard to concern for dental decay. Most tap water is close to a neutral pH, but in theory drinking mildly acidic water long-term could potentially erode the tooth enamel. If you prefer bottled water or don’t have a water filter, Evian and Fiji water typically test low in contaminants and close to a neutral pH or slightly higher which may support dental health.
So is alkaline water worth it? Probably not. Would it hurt? Not really, but I’d shoot for a mildly alkaline or neutral water over a super high pH brand.
I'd love to hear your thoughts - some people just prefer the 'taste' of the alkaline water. Will you be changing up your preferences?