Is Alkaline Water Safe to Drink?

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Splashing drops of fresh waterIf you have not heard of alkaline water and the buzz surrounding the supposed health benefits of drinking it, now is the time to get yourself in the loop. The first thing a smart consumer should consider before trying a new product is whether or not it is safe. Before you take your first sip, get the information you need to make an informed decision.

Education Is Key

First, what is alkaline water? It is a beverage that measures greater than 7.0 on the pH scale. pH is the potential for hydrogen. Alkaline water is neither acidic nor neutral. It is also known as ionized water. The water contains a lot of electrons and a negative charge called Oxidation Reduction Potential or ORP. Electrons are known to be fierce free radical scavengers and neutralizing them in the body reduces cell damage and slows down the aging process. Alkaline water is a bit like the opposite of acid.

Where Can You Buy Alkaline Water?

You can buy alkaline bottled alkaline water or make it yourself with a special machine called an alkaline water machine. An alkaline water machine turns tap water into one type of alkaline water for drinking and another for cleaning your house or produce with.

Alkaline Water Dangers

So is alkaline water safe to drink or can anyone experience the health benefits most seem to enjoy?  In general, most people can drink alkaline water and may receive numerous health benefits from it. Alkaline water is not particularly dangerous in any way, but there are some people who should not consume ionized beverages:

  • Infants and young children.  There is not enough data to know how alkaline water will affect them so they should not consume it.
  • People with G.I. (gastrointestinal tract) problems.  Because the water increases the pH balance of your stomach, your gut will attempt to balance you out by producing more hydrochloric acid. If you have any condition that affects your body’s ability to create the acid, you will not be able to normalize the pH in your stomach and could disturb your digestive process.
  • Those with thyroid conditions. Because alkaline water has a higher fluoride concentration than regular tap or most bottled water which can have an adverse effect on your already ailing thyroid
  • Those taking time released medications. Taking alkaline water with these types of drugs can cause the medicine to be absorbed too quickly by the body, thus reducing the effectiveness of the medication
  • Those who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. It can interfere with the medications used to treat the condition and have a negative effect on minerals like calcium and magnesium in the body, which can worsen the disease
  • Anyone taking prescription drugs of any kind or who has a chronic condition like diabetes or high blood pressure should consult with their doctor before consuming alkaline water.

The Side Effects Of Drinking Alkaline Water

In general, there are no bad side effects to drinking ionized water in moderation. However, whenever beginning any new diet or health routine, you should proceed with caution. It is not recommended that you consume large quantities of it right away. Start out gradually with just a glass or two a day. Like many detox programs, you can experience some initial discomfort from the detoxification process that your body may go through. This may also occur for some people, as a result of drinking purified ionized water. These can include, minor rashes that clear up within a few days or headaches. If your head hurts after drinking water at a 9.0 or higher level, cut it back to a lower alkaline level like 8.0 or 8.5 until your body adjusts.

“We must respect the power of tiny water molecule clusters because of their penetrating and cleansing properties.”

Bob McCauley, neuropathic doctor, Master Herbalist, and Certified Nutrition Consultant

The Critics

There is quite a divide among the medical community about whether drinking alkaline water is beneficial, harmful or pointless. The critics point out that there is not enough hard medical evidence to support most of the claims. Some chemists say that water isn’t conductive enough to become significantly ionized. And some from the medical community fear one’s body could become too alkaline, and the loss of stomach acid could allow certain bacteria and viruses to thrive and cause illness. They have a point that research in the United States is somewhat lacking. However, this is not the case internationally.

Japan and Alkaline Water

Japanese flag The Japanese medical community has long supported the consumption of alkaline water to help ease symptoms of digestive disorders, slow the aging process and restore energy levels. In preliminary studies published by the Shanghai Journal of Protective Medicine, alkaline water: “may be used as one of the accessory therapeutic methods for essential hypertension, diabetes, mellitus, and hyperlipidemia.” You will find there are many Japanese health professionals that vigorously endorse the health benefits of alkaline water. They have conducted numerous studies to determine what exactly ionized water can do for your body. Here are just a few of the findings given in a presentation by Dr. H. Hayashi, M.D. and Dr. M Kawamura, M.D.:

“Since the introduction of alkaline ionic water in our clinic in 1985, we have had the following interesting clinical experiences in the use of this type of water. “

    • Declines in blood sugar levels
    • Improvements in hypertension
    • Improvements in allergic disorders such as asthma
    • Reduction of constipation

They also go on to say the use of electrolyzed-reduced water should be used in both drinking and cooking for their patients. And furthermore should be made as a prerequisite in their daily medical practices.

So Is Alkaline Water Safe?

While there may not be enough clinical evidence to support all the health claims made about drinking ionized water, there is no significant evidence to suggest that alkaline water is dangerous. You can think of it in two ways:

  1. You’ll be drinking more water, and that is a good thing regardless.
  2. You might actually feel healthier, have more energy, and lose a few pounds.

These are two good reasons to try drinking alkaline water. Try it out in bottled form and experiment with how much to drink per day and be mindful of any changes, good and bad, in your day-to-day health. Here’s to your health!