March 13, 2020

Weighing the pros and cons of alkaline water for health and beauty

Hydration is necessary to maintain the skin’s healthy state. Whether we use humectants, drink water, eat water-rich fruits (or all three), moisture is key to maintaining our skin barrier and preventing premature aging.

Water means serious business for both our health and skin; that’s why alkaline water is on our radar. Not only is this water meant to hydrate us, it’s meant to provide plenty of other extra benefits – however, there’s evidence for both sides of the coin. Understanding the pros and cons of alkaline water will help you identify if it’s right for you, and we’re here to help!

Fact or Fad?

What is alkaline water? Alkaline refers to pH – this number lets us know how acidic or basic (known as alkaline) our ingredients, food, or our skin will be. Our skin, for one, normally rests at a pH between 3 and 5. This is fairly acidic, and is why we call our skin’s protective barrier the acid mantle.

Regular drinking water tends to have a pH of 7, considered neutral. Alkaline water tends to have a pH of 8 to 9 (basic). This alkaline property is exactly what’s meant to provide health benefits. Among these alleged benefits are neutralizing accumulations of acids in your body, regulating your body’s pH level, and protecting against chronic illnesses.

While alkaline water is safe, not much evidence exists for or against these specific claims. There are some potential truths based on the current science though; read on to discover the potential pros and cons of alkaline water.

pH test

4 Pros of Alkaline Water

#1: Potential anti-aging benefits
Alkaline water typically contains minerals. These minerals promote antioxidant action that can help protect your telomeres. Telomeres exist in our chromosomes, helping to protect us from free radical damage. As we age, our telomeres shorten and leave us more vulnerable to damage and visible aging.

#2: Hydration
Considering how essential hydration is, it’s one of the most important advantages in considering the pros and cons of alkaline water. A 2017 study on 36 soccer players suggests that alkaline water can play a significant role in hydration status.

The study found that alkaline water improved hydration after “high-intensity interval exercise”. This might be because the minerals in alkaline water function as electrolytes, helping to keep our body’s hydration levels in check. Keep in mind that players drank 4 liters a day, which translates to roughly 17 cups of water a day – far more than the recommended daily intake for the average person.

#3: Detoxifying
When it comes to the pros and cons of alkaline water, the number one pro is detoxing. Drinking plenty of water helps ensure that your body can detoxify itself well. The added benefit is that electrolytes in alkaline water can help prevent dehydration or overhydration. These minerals ensure that your pH level is right, that nutrients are reaching your cells, and that waste is leaving them. How significant this benefit is depends on how many minerals your alkaline water actually contains.

#4: Acid reflux benefits
A 2012 study found that alkaline water can inhibit human pepsin. Human pepsin is an enzyme that causes reflux disease. While this study was conducted in a lab, not on actual humans, alkaline water might alleviate some symptoms for reflux sufferers.


4 Cons of Alkaline Water

#1: Nausea
Drinking too much alkaline water in a short period of time can lead to imbalance in your body’s pH level. A balance between acids and bases is necessary for your body to function at a normal, healthy rate. Disrupting that can lead to nausea brought on by metabolic alkalosis. Nausea can lead to vomiting, which can reduce the amount of electrolytes your body contains.

#2: Metabolic alkalosis
Next up in the discussion of pros and cons of alkaline water is metabolic alkalosis. This is a condition that occurs when your blood is too alkaline. An imbalance can lead to extra stress on your organs. Your lungs and kidneys try to compensate by working faster. This can lead to vomiting, twitching, tremors, and confusion in extreme cases.

#3: Potential contaminants
When buying alkaline water, it’s important to ensure that the water source isn’t contaminated. Using an ionizer to raise the water’s pH level doesn’t mean that the water is clean. Make sure you trust the water source and that the brand is reputable. In the discussion on pros and cons of alkaline water, this is one of the most important disadvantages since contaminants can lead to health issues.

#4: Stomach acidity
Your stomach contains acid to fight off bacteria that might enter your body. Drinking too much alkaline water can inhibit your stomach’s ability to fight off microbes. This might especially affect people who already have stomach issues. When it comes to the pros and cons of alkaline water, this con might sway you completely.

The Verdict on Alkaline Water

Alkaline water might be worth considering if:

  • You have certain health issues, like reflux

  • You’re prone to dehydration

  • You exercise at high intensities

  • You want supplementary antioxidant protection

If you have gastrointestinal issues, the pros and cons of alkaline water might weigh more in favor of the cons. Alkaline water can affect already sensitive stomachs that have troubles with digestion.

In the discussion of pros and cons of alkaline water, you might find more pros than cons - or more cons than pros. Maybe you simply don’t like the bitter taste of basic water. At the end of the day, if your water and mineral intake is up, your health will reap the benefits. A healthy body leads to less stress and better skin!

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