Monday, April 30, 2018

ALKALINE WATER: HELPFUL OR A HOAX?

     Men who've paid attention to their health have no doubt been hearing of Alkaline Water for some time. This kind of water has a pH level higher than 7--usually enhanced with an ionizer although there are naturally-occurring Alkali springs. There has been an aggressive marketing campaign to promote the alleged benefits of such water ongoing for a few years now. But is it really worth the extra cost?

      First of all, pure water is pH neutral at 7, and human blood is 7.4. The stomach secretes highly acidic fluids at the rate of about 3 pints per day. These acids are necessary to kill toxins and pathogens so that we may assimilate the healthful parts of foods. Other organs pass these toxins out of our system through the intestines. 

     What happens we consume highly alkaline products? Well, they are beneficial when stomachs become too acidic (i.e. heartburn). Milk of Magnesia and Pepto-Bismol, for example, have a pH of around 11-12. But there is no evidence at all that these high pH levels have any effect whatsoever on overall bodily pH.

     In fact, most studies have shown that high alkaline consumption increases the pH of urine, but not of the blood. Which means that excess alkalinity is being passed out of the system. It would appear from that Alkaline-enhanced water really hasn't any especial health benefits at all.

     Dr. Beth Czerwony, one of America's leading dietitians, says "Our bodies are wonderful machines. If there are imbalances, our body works to correct it naturally. For example, if blood becomes too acidic, you exhale more Carbon Dioxide to bring the levels down."

    Alkaline water isn't necessarily healthful either. If you've spent any considerable time in the desert and had to rely on those alkali springs, you know what I mean. It's potable but bitter-tasting and will corrode your cookware like bleach. Studies have shown that laboratory animals fed water high in alkaline experienced thinning hair and general weakness. 

     Dr. Natalie Olsen warns of the effects of alkalosis. This can be caused by over-ingestion of bicarbonates---which are often an additive present in Alkaline Water. The presence of bicarbonates in water is easily noticeable by the strong taste of baking soda. 

     The overall conclusion that I can draw about Alkaline Water is that it's neither especially beneficial nor especially harmful---except to one's wallet. It's often more expensive by the gallon than gasoline; and home-ionizing machines cost well into thousands of dollars. So, really, unless you live in a place like Flint, Michigan free water from the faucet is probably alright. 


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