Are There Any Benefits of Alkaline Water Filtration?
Hydration plays an important role in overall health and wellbeing. But are some types of water better than others?
Proponents of alkaline water claim that it provides health benefits that plain filtered or tap water can’t offer.
How true are these claims? Are alkaline filters worthwhile?
What is Alkaline Water?
Foods and drinks have a pH level ranging from 0 to 14, with 0 being very acidic and 14 being alkaline. Plain water typically has a pH level of 7, which is right in the middle. Essentially, plain water is neutral. It’s not acidic, nor is it alkaline.
Alkaline water is altered to raise its pH to a higher level, typically between 7.5 and 9.
Water that is naturally high in minerals such as potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, or silica may also be naturally alkaline. However, most of the commercial alkaline water on store shelves is produced using electrolysis.
In other cases, water is treated to make it more alkaline using a water ionizer or another process.
- With an ionizer, water is run over positive and negative electrodes. The process separates the water into acidic and alkaline.
- Alkaline water filters can also be used. These filters either add alkalizing minerals or use reverse osmosis to raise the pH level.
Ionizer machines are available for home use. Alkaline filters are generally part of multi-stage purification systems that also remove contaminants and other impurities in water.
Many celebrities and other public figures promote alkaline water as a health tonic. The research, however, has shown mixed results.
Alkaline Water Benefits: What Does the Research Say?
There are many claims that alkaline water is better than plain water or offers specific health benefits that regular filtered water can’t offer.Proponents of alkaline water claim:
- A higher pH level can help neutralize acid in the bloodstream.
- Alkaline water is free of “chemicals” commonly found in public water systems.
- Drinking alkaline water can help reduce the risk of disease, such as cancer and arthritis.
- A higher pH level leads to more oxygen and quicker hydration.
- Alkaline water may help reduce inflammation and increase energy levels.
These are the claims, but what does the research say about alkaline water? Unfortunately, while you’ll find plenty of anecdotal evidence about the benefits of alkaline water, the research isn’t as clear-cut.
According to Beth Czerwony MS, RD, CSOWM, LD of the Cleveland Clinic, “Science does not support these claims.” Thus far, there have been no empirical studies that support or refute the reported benefits of alkaline water.
What researchers do know is that the body generally prefers a pH that’s near neutral. When consuming alkaline water, stomach acid neutralizes it anyway.
Blood in a healthy body will have a pH of around 7.36, and the body has its own processes for maintaining a blood pH level that’s near neutral.
Ultimately, there are no hard facts either way. The Mayo Clinic states that plain water is ideal for most people.
That being said, there are some small studies that show alkaline water may have some benefits for certain people.
- A study from 2012 found that naturally carbonated water with a pH of 8.8 might help with acid reflux. In addition, the study found that the water helped deactivate pepsin, which is the primary enzyme that causes acid reflux.
- A small study involving 100 people found that alkaline water helped reduce blood viscosity by 6.3% compared to 3.36% in those who drank regular purified water.
- Another study found evidence that alkaline water may be beneficial for people with diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
More research is needed to back the claims in these small studies.
While there’s no evidence to back the claims that people are making across the world about alkaline water, there’s also no evidence that the water is harmful. You can try alkaline water for yourself to see whether you feel any different when drinking it or not.
If you have any form of kidney disease, alkaline water may have negative effects.
The Alkaline Water Filtration Process
An alkaline water filter works by using a chemical process to separate the water into acidic and alkaline.
Some filters create alkaline water by adding minerals to the water. This can be achieved through the infusion of silica, mineral oxides, and even diatomaceous earth. The water may also be energized using a special process to help balance pH levels while reducing acidic components.
Alkaline filtration does not actually purify the water. For this reason, it is recommended that alkaline filters be part of a multi-component purification system that removes bacteria and other contaminants from the water.
Should You Use Alkaline Water Filters?
With mixed research on alkaline water, you may be wondering whether it’s worth using alkaline filters.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. You may find the evidence to be compelling enough to drink alkaline water for its purported health benefits. On the other hand, some people prefer the taste of alkaline water compared to regular purified or tap water.
Ideally, you should drink around 64 ounces or more. Your height and weight will play a major role in the amount of water recommended for you. Daily, men should drink up to 3.7 liters of fluid and women up to 2.7 liters. Water should make up a large portion of your liquid intake, as certain liquids can act as a diuretic, such as coffee.
Staying hydrated is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s filtered water, tap water, reverse osmosis water, or alkaline water – they will all help your body stay hydrated.