It has become popular in the sport, fitness and yoga worlds to drink alkaline water, water with a pH higher than regular water and higher than our blood. Some use alkalizing filters for their home or studio, while others buy alkaline water straight from the store in bottles.
The supposed benefits of drinking alkaline water range from better hydration and improving acid reflux to curing headaches and even cancer. But, according to a recent New York Times article, "there is no science to back it up."
"Despite the claims, there’s no evidence that water marketed as alkaline is better for your health than tap water," the article says.
There are two elements to look at here. The first is whether drinking alkaline water actually changes the pH of the body, and the second is whether a change in pH will provide benefits. The answer to both of these queries seems to be no.
"Blood is tightly regulated at around pH 7.4." Our stomach secretes hydrochloric acid to digest our food and kill germs, and this acidic environment "quickly neutralizes" any alkaline substance before it makes its way into the rest of our digestive system or blood. So drinking water that is slightly alkaline won't affect the pH of our blood or body.
Also, there no evidence that alkaline water provides health benefits. To the contrary, there are known risks including impaired growth and damage to cardiac muscle. "The only health effects that we know of are danger signs, so for people to continue to market alkaline water — they’re really as bad as the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear."
We hope you stay hydrated, but you probably only need to drink regular water!
Excerpts from: Is Alkaline Water Really Better for You? in the New York Times
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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