We all know there is no life without water. Water has many health benefits and helps your body in many ways as I’ve mentioned in my article about the amazing health benefits of drinking water. But have you heard about alkaline water and its many health benefits?
What Is Alkaline Water
Alkaline water is water with a high pH rating, meaning that it is more alkaline and less acidic than tap water. A neutral pH rating is a 7—anything above it is considered alkaline, while anything below it is considered acidic.
The pH rating of water can be changed by adding ingredients to it to make it more acidic or more alkaline. By drinking alkaline water, you can alkalize your own body, bringing it back into balance and doing away with the problems associated with having an acidic body.
Why Alkaline Water Is Good for You
People whose bodies lean toward the acidic end of the pH scale often find themselves feeling less than optimal with regard to health and wellness. I’ve already written why pH level matters, how to test your pH level and warning signs that your body is too acidic in my article on how to balance your pH and find out if you’re too acidic.
You can test your own body’s pH level by purchasing litmus strips and using them to test your saliva or your urine. If your pH test indicates that your urine or saliva is highly acidic, drinking alkaline water may be a good choice.
The Benefits of Drinking Alkaline Water According to Research
Maintaining a slightly alkaline body has been associated with several benefits, from improving cognitive function and reducing age-related cognitive decline to improving the function of various internal organs. There is even some evidence that alkaline water may halt cancer development. Here are some of the benefits that can come of drinking alkaline water:
Alkaline Water can Promote Kidney Health
Although alkalizing therapy has its critics and opinions on its effectiveness, a 2007 U.S. study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that people who consumed alkalizing foods and used alkalizing supplements could restore the pH balance to their bodies, thus making them better able to rid their bodies of toxins by improving kidney function.1
Alkaline Ionized Water can Improve Gut function and Immune System
Another way that drinking alkaline water can help your health is by restoring the balance in your intestines, thus shoring up the body’s immune response and keeping nasty infections at bay.
In 2005, Nina Vorobjeva, a researcher from Lomonosov Moscow State University, published her preliminary findings about the gut health-alkaline water connection in the Medical Hypotheses journal.2 According to the research: “Drinking such water favours the growth of residential microflora in the gut.”
Alkaline Water Promote Liver health (for Diabetic or Pre-diabetic People)
Kidney function and gut health are not the only ways that alkaline water can help the body. Although human research is limited, one 2013 rat study performed by a Korean research team at Hannam University and published in Nutrition Research and Practicefound that alkaline water can promote liver health.
According to the research, rats with blood sugar control problems (similar to those experienced by diabetic humans) that drank alkaline ionized water had improved liver function after drinking the alkalized water.3
Alkaline Water Aids Rehydration for Athletes
Active people can deplete their electrolytes through vigorous exercise and extreme sweating. Exercise spurs muscles to produce more hydrogen ions than one can efficiently remove. Thus, acidity increases and fatigue sets in.
A 2010 study performed by a researcher from Montana State University and published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that people with rigorous exercise regimes were better able to maintain their pH balance and stay hydrated when they drank alkaline water. 4
Alkaline Water and Cancer
In vitro tests have shown cancer cells thrive in acidic and oxygen-free (anaerobic) environments. The first to describe the correlation between the acidic environment and cancer cell growth was Dr. Otto Warburg, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology in 1931.
In his work he scientifically explained how the growth of cancer cells is triggered in the absence of oxygen, and as a result of sugar fermentation that occurs under such conditions.
Dr. Warburg was in fact describing acidic conditions. For cancer cells to maintain effective metabolism, they need a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Their tolerance for change is small, therefore it has been argued that by raising the blood’s pH, we will effectively target the cancer cell’s cycle, stop its growth and cause it to die.
It has been shown that sodium bi-carbonate (baking soda) alkalizes the area around the tumor and prevents development of metastasis (spread of a cancer from one organ to another) in mice with breast cancer.
A study published in Cancer Research in 2009 confirmed that inhibition of tumor’s acidity reduced the number of metastasis in some cancers. A new study is underway at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, which will look specifically at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on breast cancer patients.
Lemons, too, help to balance the body’s pH. They have an alkaline effect on the body, despite their initial (citric) acidity. They contain limonoides which are phytochemicals and have anti-cancerous properties.
Vitamin C destroys free radicals, which damage our cells. An interesting thing about lemons is also that they act as an anti-microbial. Some researchers suggest that cancer is like a fungus, and should be treated in the same way, so lemons might be a powerful remedy.
According to The Cancer Alternative Foundation, when applied properly, alkalizing or ‘pH therapy’ has had a success rate of 80% and higher, which is a hugely significant rate when compared with some of the mainstream methods.
It’s worth pointing out that the research about lemon and baking soda for cancer is extremely limited. Although the current results are encouraging, further research is needed.
There is no scientific information about the dosage that is needed for an effective treatment and there is no exact information about the quantities of each ingredient in the mixture. In addition, the scientific evidence is extremely limited.
Side Effects of Alkaline Water Consumption
Although drinking alkaline water can contribute to good health by battling an overly acidic body and restoring the pH balance, it does come with some side effects that are not always pleasant.
These side effects are how you know the alkalization is happening inside your body, and are considered a normal response to pH correction and the detoxification the body is undergoing. For more information on how to detoxify your body, read my article.
Side effects may include:
- Sore muscles (flu-like muscle aches)
- Tiredness and sleepiness
- Sniffling (a runny nose)
Not everyone experiences the same side effects when alkalizing their bodies, and some people find the side effects more noticeable and irritating than others.
How to Make Alkaline Water
If you’re interested in making alkaline water a part of your health maintenance routine, you’ll be glad to know that you can make your own alkaline water with ease, using a couple of different methods which use ingredients you likely already have on hand.
Important note: Alkaline water should be drank before or after meals—either 30 minutes before a meal, or two hours after a meal—in order to be effective without interfering with the body’s digestive processes which requires acidic environment.
Alkaline Water Recipe #1: the Power of Lemon
Fill a tall pitcher (64-ounce capacity) with clean water. Cut one lemon into eight pieces and submerge the pieces into the water. There is no need to squeeze the juice from the lemon; just drop them into the pitcher with the water. Allow the lemons to soak in the water for 8 to 10 hours at room temperature.
Alkaline Water Recipe #2: Baking Soda
Please note that people on a strict low-sodium diet should avoid using this method, as baking soda is high in sodium.
To make baking soda water, simply dissolve 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda into an 8-ounce glass of clean water. Stir the mixture until you no longer see powder or crystals floating in the water, and then drink it down.
Alkaline Water Recipe #3: Adding pH Drops to Water
You can purchase alkalizing pH drops (like this one) from online retailers or at health food stores and make high-pH water using those. These drops are highly concentrated, and formulations differ between manufacturers, so it’s important to follow instructions on the bottle carefully to avoid overdoing it.
Generally, a few drops may be added to a glass or pitcher of water and you can get the same alkalinizing benefits from this mixture as from drinking lemon water or baking soda water with the added convenience of having your alkalinizing agent stored in a handy dropper bottle for ease of use.