Alkaline Water Pros and Cons
Water replenishes your cells, improves your blood flow circulation, and boosts your energy levels. It improves digestion by aiding your body in breaking down the food you eat. Water also makes it easy for your body to absorb the crucial minerals and nutrients it needs. Water is essential for your survival and not getting enough could lead to dehydration, the inability to focus, kidney stones, digestive troubles, and more. In fact, approximately 50 to 60 percent of your body is composed of water. Infants have a much higher percentage of bodily fluid, ranging from 70 to 78 percent. Alkaline water, in particular, is said to be beneficial by some, but it can be expensive, so knowing the alkaline water pros and cons can help you make a good choice.
Alkaline water has been said to reduce acidity in your body and could prevent countless chronic conditions. It has also been claimed to carry anti-aging properties, improve energy, aid in losing weight, reduce acid reflux symptoms, and improve metabolism.
Others argue that it’s much costlier, and there is not adequate research to prove many of these claims. Is alkaline water worth stretching your dollar, or is it just another passing fad? Educating yourself about alkaline water pros and cons can help make your decision of whether or not you want to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
Alkaline Water Pros and Cons
There are many alkaline water pros and cons being suggested, each backed up by its own devotees. Alkaline water, which is also called ionized water, has become more and more popular in the recent years. Alkaline water is typically made by adding extra minerals to filtered water. The minerals give it the higher pH level. Drinking alkaline water could, in theory, prevent these minerals from being leached from your bones, avoiding various health conditions.
Many theories state that alkaline water could reduce the acidity in your body and that it has a higher essential mineral content. Having too much acid (or a low pH) has been postulated contribute to hormonal problems, cancer, metabolic conditions, and loss of bone mass.
Some researchers have found that excess acid could lead to more detrimental issues, such as rheumatoid arthritis or even osteoporosis.
Others state that drinking alkaline water could improve your hydration levels and the acid-base balance in your body. Alkaline water has been linked to being more readily absorbed by cells, as it’s water molecules are in smaller clusters, leading your body to flush out toxins. This effect could also hydrate and detoxify your skin.
Other possible alkaline water pros include improving your immunity and helping you lose weight, which in fact could prevent many health conditions itself.
However, advocates of pure water state that alkaline water pros are not enough to combat the cons and that too much alkaline could be very harmful to your health. If you have a kidney condition, or are on any medication that could alter the function of your kidney in any way, drinking alkaline water could cause the minerals to accumulate in your body.
Drinking too much alkaline water could also lead to metabolic alkalosis and could disrupt your body’s normal pH levels. Metabolic alkalosis could result in symptoms such as tingling in your face, feet, and hands, hand tremors, muscle twitching, confusion, nausea, or vomiting.
So, while drinking alkaline water might give you energy or improve acid reflux, it could result in you being tired and disrupting your digestion. Excessive and prolonged intake of mineralized water or water high in pH can lead to a state of dependency as well. Symptoms of withdrawal may be experienced.
Water: The Building Block of Life
Water. Without it, you simply cannot survive. Water is a vital nutrient to every cell in your body and is necessary for most organs in your body. It helps all of your cells grow, reproduce, and survive.
Your heart and brain are composed of approximately 73 percent water, while your lungs are composed of about 80 percent water. Surprisingly, even your bones contain water, as much as 31 percent. Your muscles and kidneys are also composed mainly of water, up to about 79 percent.
Water helps you convert the foods that you eat into nutrients during the process of digestion, and it helps with flushing waste material through the process of urination. Water has an incredible ability to dissolve so many substances, which makes it vital for your body to absorb minerals, vitamins, and nutrients.
Moreover, water is crucial for your brain to manufacture neurotransmitters and hormones, and an inadequate amount of water could lead to dehydration, an imbalance of hormones, and even mood swings.
It aids in delivering oxygen all over your body, improving your breathing and energy levels alike. Water lubricates your joints, forms your saliva, keeps all of your mucosal membranes moist and functional, regulates your body temperature through sweating and respiration, and even acts as a shock absorber for your spinal cord and brain.
While other beverages can hydrate you, they come with other pros and cons for health, and the majority are not as good for you as pure water. Unfortunately, more than 750 million people across the world do not have access to safe water, an incredible drink vital for survival.
Considering Alkaline Water for AFS
While staying adequately hydrated is important for everyone, some state that alkaline water could improve Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) through enhancing the function of mitochondria and thus energy production.
While drinking alkaline water may be suggested by many, be cautious if you are trying to manage AFS. Those with AFS can have sensitive systems and react differently than others. It’s always best to check with your doctor if you are thinking of making a change.
AFS occurs from excessive and prolonged stress, which could be from emotional, physical, or even psychological factors. While stress in and of itself is a natural mechanism that protects and prepares you for danger, too much of it could lead to health conditions.
When your body is in constant stress mode, or “flight or fight” mode, your adrenal glands, tiny glands on top of your kidneys, continue to pump out hormones to combat the stress in your bloodstream. With time, your adrenal glands are overworked, and your NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system is disrupted, leading to AFS. Many begin to experience lack of energy, headaches, unexplained hair loss, weight gain, lack of sexual drive, insomnia, or even hypothyroidism.
Having AFS means that your mitochondrial performance is impacted by the adrenal hormone disturbance. The majority with AFS lean towards having acidosis, as mitochondrial inhibition plays a major role. An imbalance in your adrenal hormones leads to a reduction in the energy output from your Krebs cycle.
In contrast, it has been found that alkaline water could, in fact, reduce the build-up of lactic acid and the overall acid in your bloodstream. This could greatly enhance your energy output and improve the condition of your mitochondria.
However, it’s essential to be well educated on alkaline water pros and cons before trying it. Often, the excess minerals in alkaline water can be too stimulating for those in advanced adrenal fatigue. This can give you an initial boost of energy, but in the long run, may create a dependency on alkaline water. In fact, if you have been drinking alkaline water for a while, it is best to wean off slowly lest you experience a crash.
Baking soda for alkalinity
While you may come across recommendations suggesting you take bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda), or potassium broths, it could lead to excessive potassium.
Although bicarbonate of soda could, in fact, work miracles in diminishing excess acid in your bloodstream and bodily organs overall, it can also lead to the opposite problem: alkalosis. Just like acidosis, having too much alkalinity in your body could interfere with your enzyme function, your immune system, your digestion, and your well-being altogether.
Bicarbonate could disrupt the pH of your stomach, which is very acidic. Your stomach acid is crucial in helping you digest and break down the foods you consume into absorbable substances, especially ionized minerals and proteins. Your stomach acid also helps to kill bacteria and other unwarranted pathogens, stopping them from flowing into your bloodstream.
So, while bicarbonate minimally used, and gradually increased could reduce acid and improve the function of your mitochondria, too much alkalization could lead to gastrointestinal troubles.
Making the best choice for your body
While pros and cons of alkaline water may have you left in doubt, it goes back to doing what works best for you individually.
You could gently use bicarbonate, with the consent of your healthcare professional, and possibly reduce excess acid in your system and improve your energy levels.
Being in an advanced stage of AFS means a reduced level of hormones, which leads to electrolyte imbalances and sodium loss. Low blood pressure can ensue. If your body is not capable of retaining sodium, it will lead to retention of potassium. This could cause a net loss of essential alkali minerals, which you could potentially replenish by consuming pure pink salt or a glass of alkaline water.
Nonetheless, it’s crucial to be wary of backfires and alkaline water pros and cons for AFS, such as lack of energy or the potential for major digestive troubles. You want to be careful not to over-alkalize and lead your body into other health conditions, a major con of alkaline water, belittling all the pros.
Just on its own, consuming a diet mostly of whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and oils, healthy whole grains, good-quality proteins, and sufficient water could help better manage your AFS and naturally lead you down the path to biochemical harmony.
Balancing pH Levels in Your Body
Whether from high school chemistry decades ago or college studies, you may or may not recall what pH levels are. They are the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of any solution or substance, water included.
The scale of pH, or potential of hydrogen, is a scale that ranges from zero to 14. If a liquid has a pH level of one, it is tremendously acidic, and liquids that have a pH level of 14 are extremely alkaline.
Your stomach has a very low pH level, estimated to be about two on the scale. This acid is extremely beneficial in digesting the food that you eat. Pure lemon juice has an approximate pH level of two to three; you may have experienced it’s sour and acidic taste on numerous occasions. Pure water falls smack down in the middle, with a pH level of seven. Your blood is not far off, with a pH level of approximately seven point four, making it slightly alkaline. Alkaline water ranges on the scale from about eight to nine, and many argue that it helps neutralize the acid in your body, leading to better health in many ways. It’s crucial that your body maintains a pH in the proper range, as even a minimal fluctuation in your blood pH could lead to major health risks.
Many health professionals argue that the body constantly needs a variety of chemicals and substances added to keep the pH level neutral. Some, like the alternative medicine advocates at the Budwig Center located in Spain, which help clients naturally heal from cancer, claim that the body must stay at a neutral state of seven point four to remain healthy overall.
The main pro of alkaline water, weakening the cons, is that it reduces acidity in your bloodstream. Too much acid in your body could weaken of all your bodily systems, and the excessive acid may cause your body to then take minerals from your organs, teeth or bones in order to neutralize the acidity levels. Acidosis, or high levels of acid, could lead to conditions including but not limited to osteoporosis, bone loss, anxiety, impaired immune function, diarrhea, inflammation, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Studies appear to show the microenvironment in tumors to have slightly higher levels of acidity than regular tissue. Thus, alkaline water could potentially prevent you from developing cancer.
What Alkaline Water Pros and Cons Add Up To
Ultimately, how you weigh the alkaline water pros and cons depends on your individual needs and circumstances. Your body is unique and its needs are also unique.
If you’ve been struggling with excessive acid reflux keeping you awake at night and have found relief in alkaline water, then it may be great for you to continue consuming it. On the other hand, you may see it doing nothing more than stretching your monthly budget. AFS, in particular, could cause alkaline water to backfire, in which case drinking adequate amounts of pure water on a daily basis could suffice for staying healthy.
There are many alkaline water pros and cons, and while some may be enough motivation for you to reach for a glass of alkaline water, they may not be compelling enough overall for you to change your routine. Whatever decision you make, it’s essential that you talk to your healthcare professional first to ensure this is the best path for your individual needs.
© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
Are the alkaline water pros and cons enough to choose to buy some?
Many claim that alkaline water pros and cons prove it could, in fact, balance your acidity and improve your health, while others claim there is not enough evidence. Whether you decide to drink alkaline water ultimately depends on your body’s individual needs. You will have to decide for yourself.