The appeal of “alkaline” water and its touted health benefits often overshadows scientific reality. Here’s the crux: the pH level measures the alkalinity or acidity of a solution, with 7 being neutral, above indicating alkalinity, and below signaling acidity.
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t regulate drinking water pH directly, it suggests a range between 6.5 and 8.5 for public water systems to maintain. Drinking water with a pH above 8.5 might taste different and could cause aesthetic issues, like an alkali taste in beverages, plumbing scale build-up, or reduced efficiency of water heaters.
However, claims of health benefits from consuming alkaline water lack empirical scientific support. Studies debunk the notions of improved digestion, anti-aging properties, enhanced mineral content, or bone preservation attributed to alkaline water.
In fact, once alkaline water enters the stomach, its pH is neutralized by gastric juices. The body’s natural processes aim to maintain a balanced pH, and altering this balance excessively, particularly towards alkalinity, can disrupt digestion.
There’s no evidence that alkaline water is harmful, as the body’s natural processes tend to neutralize its effects. Altering blood pH significantly, as with extreme alkaline intake, can result in metabolic alkalosis, a condition that can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Additionally, some sellers of alkaline water make unproven medical claims, which might mislead consumers and deter them from seeking conventional treatments. This led the FDA to prosecute companies for making unsupported health assertions.
If you are still intent on consuming alkaline water, you can easily create it at home using baking soda dissolved in water. However, it’s crucial to be cautious and informed about unsubstantiated health claims associated with alkaline water, as there’s no scientific backing for its alleged benefits.