Everything You Need to Know About Alkaline Water
Alkaline Water is a controversial topic when it comes to whether or not it is a healthy option to add to your diet. Some say it doesn’t do anything for your health, while others claim it is a wonderful addition to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
At Detox & Cure we always want to promote a healthy lifestyle, and we believe that alkaline water can be a good addition to a balanced diet.
There are quite a few key things to note regarding alkaline water however, as there is a healthy way, and an unhealthy way to create and consume alkaline water. But more on this later.
What exactly is Alkaline Water?
Alkaline water is classified as water which has a pH of above 7 on the pH scale. This puts it into the category of a base substance.
The pH scale is a scientific tool which ranks all objects as acidic, 0 to 7 on the scale, or as basic, 7 to 14 on the scale. Your average room temperature water will generally rank as a 7, a substance neither acidic nor basic.
Most water advertised as alkaline will generally have a pH of 8.5 or above. Not all alkaline water is created equal however.
It is vital to know how it got to an alkaline state. There are a range of different methods of how water can be turned into an alkaline state.
An important distinction
There is a key difference between alkaline water and alkalized water:
- Alkaline water
Alkaline water is your average water altered to have a pH of 8 or above. The process to get water this level is to generally add chemicals such as Calcium Chloride or Magnesium Chloride.
While it does technically raise the pH of your water to be in the alkaline levels, it is not a healthy way to consume alkaline level water.
The Chloride additives are not naturally occurring minerals. This means the alkaline water is not natural and has had chemicals added to it. Naturally alkaline water would be water gathered from springs or clean rivers.
The alkalinity is created when the water passes over rocks and collects minerals as the stream passes.
Most of us are not lucky to live near clean, spring water, so we need to rely on creating our own alkaline water from regular water. Thanks to technology and science, we can do this from the comfort of our own home with the right tools.
- Alkalized water
Alkalized water can be created using a few methods. As mentioned above, alkalized water can occur in nature where a stream of water runs over rocks and collects minerals as it goes. It can also be created using technology or natural foods.
The technological side is to use a filter along with tap water to clear out impurities and add in alkalinity and minerals. The natural foods side is to use fruit to alkalize water, adding flavour and minerals which leech from the fruit.
The important difference is that while the technological route may seem “un-natural”, it is actually very healthy. The process is done through electrolysis. This is where the water will pass through ionized plates and generate an electrical charge.
This electrical charge on a basic level creates water with increased hydrogen, which is associated with reduced inflammation within the body.
You can learn more about the science of electrolysis for alkalized water here.
For simplicity, the rest of this article we will refer to alkaline water as if it was alkalized in a healthy manner.
How do I alkalize my water then?
We have created a comprehensive guide on how to alkalize your water that you might find helpful. I would recommend reading this more in-depth article if you are looking to create your own alkalized water as there are a few nuances to be wary of!
But to sum up how you alkalize your water there are a few methods:
- Natural foods
You can use fruits such as lemons, limes or grapefruit to make alkalized water. While there fruits are among some of the most acidic available, they become extremely alkaline once digested.
- Baking soda
You can add baking soda to purified water to increase the pH level of the water. While it is safe to do so, you can miss out on vital minerals that other methods add back into your alkalized water.
- Water filter kits (ionizers)
A water filter kit is a unit which fits on top of your countertop, or installs under your sink with a faucet coming through the counter. Countertop units are generally the best units available.
They alkalize your water, remove harmful chemicals, and also add vital minerals back into the water after the filtration and alkalization process.
- Water pitchers
A water pitcher unit is a pitcher with a filtration piece on the top. The pitcher will filter water poured into it, removing contaminants and harmful chemicals.
Some units will also add back in vital minerals filtered out during the filtration process.
Are alkaline water machines safe?
The simple answer is generally yes, the more complicated answer is it depends on the unit. Some units are more effective than others at filtering out impurities. The cost usually reflects this difference in quality, but not always.
The alkaline water machine will filter out impurities, but you need to check what kind of impurities may be in your local water source.
For example, if your local water source has fluoride or chlorine added, you need to use a unit which has a suitable filter to remove these chemicals.
The machines themselves are physically safe to use. You just need to be mindful of your local water supply and the unit you select.
Which alkaline water machine is best?
At Detox&Cure, we want to bring to you the best information we can find. We have researched and reviewed many of the units available on the market and have come to a Top 5 list for water pitchers, and a Top 7 list for alkaline water ionizers.
The best unit is dependent on your situation. An ionizer will purify your water much better than a pitcher, but will generally not increase the pH level as much as a pitcher.
Ionizers also require more set up to get working, whereas a pitcher needs replacement filters more often. There are pros and cons to both sides, the links above cover these for both types of units.
An under-sink unit can be installed fairly simply, but requires time and effort to set up. A counter-top unit will screw straight onto an existing faucet (most units will come with a range of options to fit most faucets). A pitcher is portable and requires little to no set up.
Is alkaline water bad for you?
Alkaline water that has been alkalized in a healthy way hasn’t been proven to cause any harm.
If you suffer from kidney disease, you may have a negative reaction to alkalized water. Otherwise, the only other noted side effects from some people are dry or itchy skin, or an upset stomach.
Is there an unsafe pH level when it comes to drinking water?
Most experts all agree that a safe pH level of drinking water will sit somewhere between 6.5 and 8.5 pH. As you get lower than 6.5 pH it becomes more acidic, which is not good for the body inside or out.
Above 8.5 pH is generally not considered to be unhealthy. The downside is listed above, if you drink alkaline water with a pH of 8.5 or above you may experience dry or itchy skin, or face an upset stomach.
Results vary from person to person so don’t let the high pH level put you off.
While most ionizers will rarely exceed 8.5 pH, pitchers often claim higher than 8.5 pH.
Since pitcher filters generally have a shorter life, you will find that a new filter will be high pH. They will settle down to lower but still alkaline levels as the filter wears in.
How long will alkalized water retain its increased pH level?
Water that has been alkalized will retain its pH level for approximately 3-5 hours before starting to decline in value. Pretty much all units on the market will have the same level of pH deteriation, so there is no difference in which pitcher or ionizer you use.
Most tests show that alkalized water will lose 0.5 pH after 24 hours. It will then continue to deteriate at an average rate of 0.1 pH every 24 hours afterwards.
To be able to slow the deteriaion to the above levels, you need to store the water in a certain way. It needs to be out of direct sunlight, preferably stored in a cool, dark room. The material of the container used is also a vital factor.
Using plastic is not a good idea, as it will not hold the alkalinity for a longer period of time. The best option is to use a stainless steel container.
Preferably, you want to have a container which can be vacuum sealed, as this really assists in slowing the loss of pH value.
Glass containers are a good option, but they cannot be vacuum sealed as the pressure can cause the jar to literally explode! If you don’t plan on vacuum sealing then glass containers are suitable to store alkalized water.
If you are looking to source a good quality vacuum water bottle or jug, click the links below to see what is available. Prices can vary between units depending on the size of the container and the material used.
Stainless steel is the best material for vacuum sealing, but plastic can still be a suitable container and less costly alternative. Check out these options:
Are there any benefits to alkalized water?
There has been limited scientific research into the benefits of alkalized water. While there is still some positive scientific feedback, most of the evidence available is anecdotal and user feedback based.
With that said, there are also some positive side effects to consuming alkalized water. The main benefits are:
- Increase in bone health
A study published on ScienceDirect linked an increase in alkaline intake to decreased bone resorption. This is a process where old bone cells are broken down and replaced. While it may sound like a negative, if combined with more mineral density it will result in better bone strength.
- Can reduce the severity of acid reflux
Acid reflux is where stomach acids splash back up your food pipe and cause a burning sensation. Long term acid reflux can lead to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Early studies show that drinking water with a pH of 8.8 or above can help to reduce the frequency and severity of acid reflux.
- Helps with cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Research from the Shanghai Journal of Preventative Medicine in 2001 had interesting results. It showed that drinking alkaline water for 3 to 6 months can assist in lowering cholesterol levels, decrease blood pressure and help to keep blood sugar at a lower level
- Improved hydration while exercising
When you exercise, your body produces more hydrogen ions than your body can process at that time. Drinking alkalized water will help your body break down these ions and pass them out of your body quicker. Excess hydrogen ions can lead to a more acidic environment, resulting in increased inflammation within your body.
- Can remove impurities within your water
Depending on how you alkalize your water and the water source, you can use technology to remove impurities. Most tap water will contain impurities such as bacteria, lead or other harmful toxins. Tap water can also contain added chemicals depending on the water supply.
Alkalizing your water with a filter can help to remove impurities from the water, resulting in clean and healthy water.
Some filters can also add in healthy minerals such as magnesium to make your alkalized water even better for you.
What sorts of impurities can filters remove?
There is a wide range of impurities that can be found in your local tap water. While not all of these may apply to your tap water, chemicals such as the below can be found in tap water:
- Heavy metals (led and mercury)
- Pesticides and Herbicides
- Dioxins, and
As we learn more about the dangers of these chemicals in drinking water, we will keep adding to this section. Click the links of each chemical to learn more about the health affects of each one.
Alkaline water filters can remove these impurities from tap water to stop them from entering your drinking water. Units will stop most of the general impurities such as chlorine or fluoride.
However, you will need to check your tap water for chemicals, then select a filter that can remove these chemicals.
If you need to test what chemicals your tap water contains, you can have samples tested by a lab. This can be an expensive process, but will give you a very accurate result. A cheaper option is to use a home test kit.
However, the kit will not test for as wide a range of chemicals and minerals. If you are just after a basic result for the most common chemicals found in tap water then a simple water testing kit should be suffice.
When should you drink alkaline water?
You can drink alkaline water in replacement of your normal water. Alkaline water is suitable for drinking at any point of time. There are some studies out there that recommend you don’t consume alkaline water at certain times.
This can include, as discussed above, kidney disease. It also includes not dinking alkaline water 30 minutes after a meal. The reasoning behind this is because it can conflict with your stomach acid as it breaks down food.
Personally, I haven’t experienced the stomach acid issue in my 3+ years of drinking alkaline water, but everyone’s body may react differently.
Can you buy alkaline water?
While we don’t recommend buying alkaline water in bottled form, there are a number of places you can obtain it from. Most supermarkets will stock some brand of alkaline water.
If you plan on buying alkaline water in this way, we strongly recommend you do your research prior to purchasing. This is due to a lot of brands claiming healthy, alkaline level water and as discussed above, it can actually contain a number of non-natural chemicals.
Your research should go further than just the pH level claimed. You need to check and see that the water is alkalized in a safe and healthy manner.
This means having no non-natural chemicals added. It needs to be alkalized using a safe and healthy method.
Currently we only know of one brand which would be a suitable alkaline, bottled water provider. This brand is Saka Natural Alkaline Water.
You can find their products on Amazon in the United States, Amazon in the United Kingdom, and directly on their website in Australia.
Drinking alkaline water while pregnant
It is generally considered safe to drink alkaline water while you are pregnant. There are actually benefits to drinking alkaline water while pregnant, as it helps to offset some of the negative side effects of pregnancy.
While pregnant, you may experience:
- Decreased energy/fatigue.
- Acne break outs.
- Morning sickness.
- A slightly acidic pH blood level while pregnant.
The good news is that alkaline water can help assist with all of the above.
- Alkaline water contains more natural minerals which will help boost your energy levels and fight fatigue.
- Increased water intake will assist in bowel movements and clear your skin.
- Morning sickness will be reduced through a reduction in acid within the body.
- Your body will also face less stress trying to keep your blood levels at a stable pH level with alkaline water to counter acidosis.
Drinking alkaline water while fasting
Fasting is a process where you abstain from consuming any calories for a period of time. We have a very in-depth section on our website about fasting which you can check our here.
On a basic level however, you avoid consuming anything containing calories for a period of time and eat in another period. Some of the more common fasting methods are:
- 16/8 intermittent fast
This is where you have 16 hours of the day fasting and the remaining 8 hours are an open eating window. For example, you fast from 7pm to 11am and have an eating window of 11am to 7pm.
- 24 hour fast
The idea of this fast is to not consume any calories for a 24 hour period, then resume eating afterwards. Some of these types of fasts will recommend eating 500-600 calories for the day as an alternative to no calories.
- Long term fast
A long term fast is classified as a fast that is 72 hours or longer. These kinds of fasts are for the experienced and require constant monitoring with a medical health professional.
The combination of alkaline water and fasting
In terms of alkaline water and fasting, there are linked health benefits. While fasting, you will be drinking much more water to ensure your body is well hydrated. Benefits can include:
- More vital minerals into your body in a time where it is receiving less than usual.
- Alkalized water helps to negate the acidic residue of fats being used in a fasted state.
- Assists the body in purging toxins from the body. Toxins will naturally be removed from the body while fasting, alkaline water also purges toxins from the body, resulting in a powerful detoxification combination.
Is there something specific about alkaline water you want to learn? Send us a message and we will get back to you!
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