Benefits of Alkaline Water

Supporters propose that drinking filtered alkaline mineral water is foundational for longevity and wellbeing. Water is required for every biological function of the body - circulation, assimilation, digestion, elimination, temperature control and even thought. Our body is made up of 75% water and our brain 91%, so by drinking water regularly, we replenish the water lost on a daily basis. Without water, even the best vitamins and minerals cannot be absorbed or made available for cellular processes and proper bodily function. We need water as much as we need air. Yet it is easy to forget how completely we depend on it.

While more research is certainly required and currently underway in this field, this article explores what the potential benefits of drinking alkaline water may be, and how it affects the body:

1. Enables cellular hydration for peak performance

Alkaline Water must contain a balanced range of electrolyte minerals, which are essential for re-hydration. An electrolyte is simply an alkaline mineral – or mineral salt. The key electrolyte minerals are Sodium, Potassium and Chloride (not chlorine!), and their job is to keep the amount of water in the body in balance, carry impulses along the nerves, help make the muscles contract and relax and maintain homeostasis .   Alkaline water is balanced with a range of needed electrolyte minerals that may prime your body for cellular hydration. In fact, a 2016 study into hydration and nutrition found that when participants were given alkaline water over purified water after an intense workout, they had further reduced blood viscosity, enabling easier flow through the blood vessels, although more research is required from these small studies.

2. Restores pH balance to the body

Drinking alkaline mineral water can potentially help to create a balanced pH level within the body. Our pH level is a scale from 0 – 14 referring to how acidic or alkaline our fluids are.  As alkaline water reaches the stomach, it’s purpose it to help stimulate the stomach to release hydrochloric acid –this then stimulates the body to release bicarbonate buffers into the bloodstream (to balance the acid in the stomach, otherwise there would be holes burnt through the stomach lining). These bicarbonate or alkaline buffers naturally released by the body help in creating a healthier, more alkaline state. Unfortunately, it can be difficult maintaining a healthy balance with our modern diets and busy schedules. Allowing acidity to consistently outweigh the alkalinity within the body can lead to a dangerous condition known as ‘acidosis’, which is when your lungs, kidneys and other organs cannot properly regulate your pH levels.  This can lead to symptoms such as low energy, poor digestion, weight gain and various aches and pains. Again, more research is needed to validate these claims, but Alkaline mineral water is said to provide an easy, affordable, and efficient way to maintain a healthy pH level.

3. Eliminates toxins in the body and helps to prevent disease

When we are properly hydrated at a cellular level the body may flush out toxins that are stored in our cells. Disease and illnesses may occur in the body from a highly acidic state.

In Australia, we lead the way globally in certain areas of disease and illness:

  • An estimated 1.2 million (5.6%) Australians aged 18 years and over had 1 or more conditions related to heart or vascular disease, including stroke. (2017–18) according to Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  • 37% of Australian population suffer from sleep disorder
  • Depression linked to lack of quality sleep (World Health Organisation)
  • 60% of Australia’s adult population are overweight (2017-18)
  • Diabetes in Australia has reached epic proportions. 280 Australians develop diabetes every day according to Diabetes Australia (2021).

While a lot of these are caused by a range of genetic, dietary and lifestyle factors, alkaline water may assist organs and metabolic systems to continue functioning well. For example, kidneys receiving the proper balance of electrolytes may effectively remove waste products and toxins.

This may become especially important when adding potentially harmful environmental factors that may pose a risk to your health.  As an example, older homes can have piping or plumbing fixtures starting to corrode after years of water passing through them. The copper, lead or whatever other type of metal present dissolves into the water supply and may be exposing drinkers to a range of harmful conditions, Opting for filtered, alkaline mineral water may both remove these harmful contaminants whilst simultaneously helping the body release those already present in the tissues.

    4. Improves performance and focus

    Without adequate hydration the brain may not function properly; common problems experienced are being able to focus, concentrate, and remember. The human body manifests dehydration through a series of symptoms and signs. The brain senses dehydration, or tiredness when you haven’t done a good day’s work, or first thing in the morning when you want to get up out of bed and you’re tired, if you can’t get up, these are signs of dehydration. Anger, depression may also be signs of dehydration. This occurs when the brain has very little energy from hydroelectricity to cope with the information or take action.

    Unlike bottled water and even many tap water varieties, alkaline mineral water consists of the important electrolytes and minerals required for the body and brain to recover from fatigue. These minerals include sodium, magnesium, calcium, bicarbonate, zinc, silica and more! Together, they may work to better regulate our blood pressure and glucose levels, promote better nerve function, encourage a smoother digestive system, more efficient blood circulation, and even support stronger bones, combining for better energy levels for performance and focus. 

    5. Allows better quality of sleep

    One of the main reasons why people toss and turn all night is because they are dehydrated. Drinking water throughout the day replenishes the water your body loses through sweat, urination and bowel movements. If you are thirsty at night, it means your body needs water and you should not put it off until the morning.

    A general rule of thumb for how much water you should drink throughout the day is 1 litre of water for every 25kgs of body weight. 

    If you are exercising, drinking soft drinks, tea or coffee or are ill, you need to drink more as the body's water need is much higher.

     

    6. Provides relief from acid reflux, high blood pressure, diabetes & high cholesterol

    Although a limited in scope, a 2012 study surmised that after drinking alkaline water consisting of pH levels of 8.8, patients with acid reflux disease experienced some extended therapeutic benefits. The researchers theorised that the alkaline water worked towards minimising, and even neutralising, the negative impacts of the enzyme known as pepsin, which is the primary cause of unpleasant and damaging reflux experience.

     

    References:

    Cristina M. Villanueva, Manolis Kogevinas, Sylvaine Cordier, Michael R. Templeton, Roel Vermeulen, John R. Nuckols, Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen & Patrick Levallois: Assessing Exposure and Health Consequences of Chemicals in Drinking Water: Current State of Knowledge and Research Needs (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3948022/)

     

    Koufman JA Johnston N: Potential benefits of pH 8.8 alkaline drinking water as an adjunct in the treatment of reflux disease (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22844861)

     

    Weidman, J., Holsworth, R.E., Brossman, B. et al. Effect of electrolyzed high-pH alkaline water on blood viscosity in healthy adults. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 13, 45 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-016-0153-8

     

    Effros RM, Swenson ER. Acid-base balance. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 7.

     

    Oh MS, Briefel G. Evaluation of renal function, water, electrolytes, and acid-base balance. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 14.

     

    Seifter JL. Acid-base disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 110.

     

    Popkin BM, D'Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(8):439-458. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x

     

    Swistock, B, Sharpe W, Glaford A, Lead in Drinking Water, PennState Extension(2016) https://extension.psu.edu/lead-in-drinking-water

     

    Swistock, B, Corrosive Water Problems, PennState Extension(2015) https://extension.psu.edu/corrosive-water-problems

     

    Weidman J, Holsworth RE Jr, Brossman B, Cho DJ, St Cyr J, Fridman G. Effect of electrolyzed high-pH alkaline water on blood viscosity in healthy adults. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016;13:45. Published 2016 Nov 28. doi:10.1186/s12970-016-0153-8

     

    Barrie L, Grieger L, What is Alkaline Water and Does It Offer More Benefits Than Plain H20?, Everyday Health,(2019) https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/does-alkaline-water-have-real-health-benefits/ 

     

    Marengo K, Goldman R, Alkaline Water: Benefits and Risks, Healthline(2019) https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/alkaline-water-benefits-risks

     

    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2021. Overweight and obesity - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. [online] Available at: <https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/overweight-and-obesity> [Accessed 5 August 2021].

     

    Aph.gov.au. 2021. 3. Sleep Disorders – Parliament of Australia. [online] Available at: <https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Health_Aged_Care_and_Sport/SleepHealthAwareness/Report/section?id=committees%2Freportrep%2F024220%2F26954> [Accessed 5 August 2021].

     

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