Should you consume alkali water?

Water is one of the most vital nutrient required by the body and is indispensable.  In fact, our bodies are largely made of water and hence it assumes more importance.

It is imperative that we are conscious about the purity and wholesomeness of the water we drink.

But did you ever realize that the pH levels of water can be a concern?

Pure water has a pH level close to 7. Alkaline water has a pH above 7.

What is pH range of foods?

The indicator for acidity, alkalinity, or basic is known as the pH value. A pH value of 7 means a substance is neutral. The lower value indicates acidity, and a higher value is a sign of alkalinity. To better understand the range in pH, take a look at these examples:

Apple Juice – 3
Orange Juice – 3.5
Coffee – 5.5
Milk – 6.2
Baking Soda – 8.5
Soapy water – 10
Bleach – 12
pH of water

The pH of water is a measure of the acid–base equilibrium.

Although pH usually has no direct impact on water consumers, it is one of the most important parameters in measuring water quality.

Careful attention to pH control is necessary at all stages of water treatment to ensure satisfactory water clarification and disinfection.

For effective disinfection with chlorine, the pH should preferably be less than 8.

The optimum pH ranges between 6.5–9.5 but  varies in different supplies according to the composition of the water and the nature of the construction materials used in the distribution system
What is alkaline water?

Alkaline water is water that’s less acidic than regular tap water. This means it is rich in alkalizing compounds, including calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate.

It is believed that our diets which are getting more Westernized leads to the development of chronic low-grade acidosis – a condition that may be associated with poor health outcomes including heart problems, altered hormonal status, and the loss of muscle or bone.

Proponents of alkaline water believe that it can neutralize the acid in our bloodstream and help body metabolize nutrients more effectively, leading to better health and performance.
Alkaline water & acid-base balance in the body

Usually body maintains the pH balance very closely. The maintenance of optimum balance could be at the cost of mobilization of minerals from the bone and muscle which is not favourable. Hence, we should be aware that the ingestion of foods that may lead to excess acid or alkali production needs to be avoided.

Possible benefits of alkaline water

Proponents of alkaline water suggest that it can help prevent disease and slow the aging process. However, researchers haven’t verified these claims.
Some studies suggest that alkaline water may help slow bone loss, but further investigation is needed to determine if this influences overall bone mineral density and if the benefit is maintained over the long term.
Alkaline water might improve overall hydration status in active people over time which is a beneficial impact but then this theory is not validated
Among endurance athletes , the consumption of mineral supplements (calcium, magnesium, potassium) decreases cardio-respiratory stress and blood lactate responses thereby  improving power output. Hence, this group may benefit from mineralized water.
Disadvantages

Using alkaline water may not be beneficial in certain condition :

Individuals suffering from kidney disorders may experience accumulation of some of the minerals from the alkaline water as the kidney are not functioning efficiently to throw out all the excess products from the body.

Is bottled water alkaline?

Bottled mineral waters tend to be alkaline. Non-mineral bottled waters are unlikely to be alkaline. But adding mineral powders to regular tap water can make them alkaline.

pH range of some of the bottled water:

Bisleri has pH of 7.2
Dasani ranges between 5.0-7.0 (which is less alkaline or neutral).
Aquafina ranges between 5.5-7.0 (which is less alkaline or neutral)
Should you alkalize your drinking water?

While there is little research regarding the  overall health impact of alkaline water, we suggest that it’s better to wait before alkalizing our drinking water.

However, there is  high rate of incidence of gastric problems especially hyperacidity in the Indian population which is associated with

Sedentary lifestyle,
Too much of the fast foods which are oily and spicy
Poor intake of fruits and vegetables
Excess intake of red meat
If clinical symptoms and medical diagnosis suggest high levels of acid in the body, then it may be prudent to try drinking alkaline water and see its effect .

References:

http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water-education/quality-water-ph.htm

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/en/ph.pdf

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/alkaline-water-legit-or-hoax

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