What Is Alkaline Water, Anyway?

The latest healthy trend has everyone wondering—what is alkaline water? Learn more about the benefits and whether or not you should you be drinking it.

The bottled alkaline water we’ve seen is rumored to be better than what comes out of the good ol’ kitchen faucet. Sure, there are benefits that come with drinking more water, but does this trendy beverage beat plain H2O? We’re here to break it down for you.

What Is Alkaline Water?

Most drinking water falls in the neighborhood of seven on the pH scale. This scale, which you may (or may not) remember from your junior high chemistry class, measures how acidic or basic a water-based liquid is on a scale of zero (acidic) to 14 (basic), with seven being neutral.

Most alkaline water has a pH of about 8 or 9. This can come from higher, naturally occurring mineral levels in the water or from a treatment process called ionization.

Why Do People Think It’s Better for You?

The advocates of alkaline water claim it reduces acid levels in the body. They say excess acidity may lead to inflammation and potentially cause conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The theory is that alkaline water neutralizes acid in the body. Drinking it regularly is supposed to help slow down aging, boost the immune system, prevent diseases and more.

The thing is—there’s no research to back up these claims! Our bodies effectively regulate pH in our organs and bloodstream. There’s no evidence that drinking alkaline water has any effect when it comes to changing pH levels in the body.

Should I Drink Alkaline Water?

The jury is still out. A few studies indicate that drinking alkaline water along with tweaks to your diet may help with acid reflux, but researchers agree that further investigation is needed. Many of the studies of alkaline water have been conducted on small sample groups or animals.

The general consensus is that it won’t be harmful to most folks. Doctors do agree, though, that people suffering from kidney disease should pass on drinking alkaline water. And drinking too much alkaline water isn’t good for anyone. It can cause a condition called alkalosis, with symptoms including muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, and cramping. Have further questions? Reach out to your family doctor.

Here’s the Takeaway

If you’re interested in trying alkaline water, opt for natural alkaline waters (which contain beneficial minerals) rather than those which have been treated and ionized—and don’t overdo it. If you have any underlying medical conditions, you should consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet. The major takeaway here? We’re all probably better off sticking to regular tap water but a little alkaline water now and again is unlikely to do any harm.

Need to boost your hydration levels? Check out the best foods to help keep you hydrated!

Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.