Debunking: Alkaline Water
Updated: Jan 7
Written by: Ranier Castillo, RD, ACSM-PT
Alkaline Water is a product sold in various markets and grocery stores. The idea of
drinking alkaline water is to neutralize the acidity within your body in order to improve the
immune system and overall health. It is promoted that acidity is bad overall. However, this is a classic case of cherry-picking research and using it to sell a product to the general.
The research does show that alkaline water helps neutralize acidity, but, the demographic that experiences the benefits from alkaline water are those who experience reflux disease or acidosis. Therefore, if you do not have any of those conditions, and you’re trying to be healthier, you might as well drink good old water!
Alkaline water what it is
Before diving into alkaline water, it is important to understand what pH levels are. pH is a
scaled measurement to determine how acidic or alkaline a certain solution is. The pH ranges
from 0 to 14. The closer a solution is to 0, the more acidic. The closer a solution is to 14, the more alkaline.
Thanks to the human body, our bodies have created a system where it regulates the pH levels for us to provide us a pH slightly above 7 (neutral). However, certain parts of our body such as our stomach and colon will be more acidic or alkaline, respectively, to help perform certain functions that our body needs in order to thrive.
Why alkaline water does not work for the regular public
Your stomach is supposed to be acidic! The average human with no stomach issues needs to have a stomach that is high in acidity in order to help breakdown important nutrients from food so that it can be absorbed (e.g. proteins and B12). Also, the stomach is so acidic, that a bottle of alkaline water will not help bring your stomach’s pH levels up dramatically.
The stomach’s pH is 1.5 to 3.5 where alkaline water tends to be 8 or 9 pH. This slight increase in pH ingested will not affect a healthy stomach’s pH. Studies have shown that those who have reflux diseases benefit from drinking water because the compound responsible for triggering reflux disease cannot activate in an alkaline environment. Therefore, it is important to consult with a medical doctor or registered dietitian if you are concerned you might have some type of reflux disease. Otherwise, you are just wasting your money paying extra for something that will do nothing to help you become healthier.
If you are having some type of nausea, you can use these well-known remedies instead
that you already might have in your pantry or fridge:
Mint Tea - Sometimes, the smell helps as well;
Fiber - Will vary from person to person. It might alleviate your nausea but it has also been known to upset the stomach. So try a little bit of fiber first and consume more, if you feel that it is not causing you to be sicker;
Water - Yes! Just plain old water never hurt anyone.
For more nutrition tips and tricks head over to the Meta Nutrition app!
1. Fenton TR, Huang T. Systematic review of the association between dietary acid load,
alkaline water and cancer. BMJ Open. 2016;6(6):e010438. Published 2016 Jun 13. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010438
2. Koufman JA, Johnston N. Potential benefits of pH 8.8 alkaline drinking water as an adjunct
in the treatment of reflux disease. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2012;121(7):431‐434.