Facebook
When you shop through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Alkaline Water: Benefits and Risks

Updated
Some people swear by it. But what is alkaline water, and should you be drinking it?

Alkaline water has become increasingly popular in recent years, with supposed health advantages over your standard water supply. It is water that has a higher than neutral pH level, making it the opposite of acidic water.

There has been much debate regarding alkaline water and whether or not it has health benefits or even potential risks. With conflicting opinions from so many different sources, it can be difficult to find a clear answer.

In this article, we will look at alkaline water and its benefits and risks to help you decide whether or not it is right for you. We will also explore why, in this case, too much of a good thing could be bad for you.


What Is Alkaline Water?

What Is Alkaline Water? Icon

Water is classified as acidic or alkaline based on where it sits on the pH scale, ranging from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, anything below 7 is acidic, and anything above 7 is alkaline.

For example, blueberries have a pH rating of between 3.1 to 3.4, meaning they are acidic, whereas eggs have a pH of 7.6 to 8.0, which is slightly alkaline (1). Water typically has a pH ranging from 6.5 to 8. To create alkaline water, we need to increase that number.

Some companies achieve this using a process called electrolysis. An ionizer is used to send an electrical current through the water, and molecules within the water separate into acids and bases. The acidic water is then filtered out, leaving you with higher pH, alkaline water (2).

Is Alkaline Water Good for You?

Is Alkaline Water Good for You? Icon

Alkaline water is frequently marketed as being healthier to drink than standard, pH-neutral water. Is there any scientific evidence to support this?

Many proponents of alkaline water believe that too many acidic foods or drinks can negatively impact a person’s health.

In contrast, an alkaline diet may prove beneficial, but not necessarily because it is alkaline-based. Instead, it is because these people usually consume more fruits and vegetables, many of which are alkaline (3).

However, there is a limit. The latest research into the supposed benefits of drinking alkaline water finds that they are slim at best. This hasn’t prevented some companies from promoting it heavily.

Safety First

It can be tempting to add alkaline water into your diet immediately, but you should get medical advice beforehand, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition.

How Much Alkaline Water Can I Drink?

How Much Alkaline Water Can I Drink? Icon

Like the benefits of alkaline water, there are also conflicting opinions regarding how much you can drink.

Too Much Alkalinity

There is no universal answer to the question of how much alkaline water is too much. However, an excess of it can lead to negative side effects, including something called “alkalosis”.

This is a broad term that simply means “too alkaline”. When your body is in a state of alkalosis, numerous symptoms could develop, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling in the face or extremities
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Cramps

Alkalosis can also lead to a decrease in your body’s calcium levels, which can affect the health of your bones over time. However, it is important to note that alkalosis is commonly caused by other health conditions such as metabolic disorders (4).

The body has several sophisticated systems that ensure the pH level throughout the body is correct. Alkalosis is a medical condition that is usually associated with the failure of these systems. It is highly unlikely that you will suffer from it purely due to drinking alkaline.

Still, to avoid potential issues, we recommend drinking no more than the standard eight to twelve glasses of alkaline water per day. If you need to drink more water, we recommend switching to standard filtered water for the rest.

Other Side Effects

Aside from alkalosis, the other side effects of drinking too much alkaline water can include (5):

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • A runny nose
  • Softer, darker stools
  • More wind
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Reduction in stomach acid

Experts in alkaline water recommend drinking small amounts at first, so the body has time to adjust to the increased pH. This should reduce the likelihood of these symptoms occurring. There is speculation that these side effects are simply signs that your body is detoxifying, but there is little evidence to support this (6).

Mineral Deficiency

A more common side effect of drinking alkaline water is mineral deficiency. As water is purified and made alkaline, it is stripped of many beneficial nutrients and minerals, most importantly calcium and magnesium.

Much like the benefits of alkaline water, the issues caused by demineralized water are also hotly contested. However, the World Health Organization recommends against drinking it exclusively (7). It also warns that only drinking demineralized water, without a nutritious diet, could result in a mineral deficiency.

If you want to consume alkaline water regularly, you need to ensure you still get sufficient vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.

How to Drink Alkaline Water

How to Drink Alkaline Water Icon

You might assume that you can simply drink alkaline water the same way as water from your kitchen faucet. However, some professionals claim that how you drink it can also make a difference.

Keep these factors in mind when drinking alkaline water:

With Food or Without?

Much like other vitamins and supplements, timing is important. Professionals recommend not drinking alkaline water 30 minutes before a meal and between 90 minutes and 2 hours after one.

This is because your stomach needs acid to digest the food you eat. Filling it with alkaline water can dilute your stomach acid and make it harder to digest your meals. This can cause indigestion and other issues such as bloating.

Time of Day

Experts claim you will absorb alkaline water best on an empty stomach. This means it is most effective if you have a glass immediately after waking up (8).

You can also drink it throughout the day, but try to avoid doing so at meal time or when you take any medication, as it can reduce the body’s digestion.

With or Without Medication?

As with food, you shouldn’t drink alkaline water later than 30 minutes before taking medication or up to two hours after it (9).

Again, it can impair the body’s ability to break down and absorb the medicine. While the alkaline water itself won’t have a negative health impact, it can reduce how effective your medicine is, which is a major concern if you have a health condition.

Where Do You Find Alkaline Water?

Where Do You Find Alkaline Water? Icon

Alkaline water occurs naturally, but it is also created artificially with the help of filtration systems. Modern technology means it is easy to create your own alkaline water at home.

If you want to drink alkaline water regularly, a high-end ionizer or filter could save you a lot of money in the long run. However, if you want to try it before making a larger investment, you can buy bottles from many stores.

Using Ionizers

The process of electrolysis separates the acidic and alkaline components, leaving your water with a higher pH (10). This ionized liquid then flows from your faucet for you to drink. The acidic liquid is filtered through a different hose and disposed of.

Natural Springs

This water becomes alkaline when it flows over rocks, such as when it comes from a natural spring and travels along a stream. As the water collects minerals on the surface, it also becomes alkaline.

Special Filters and Faucets

If you are unable or unwilling to invest in a water ionizer, there are also faucet attachments and water filtration systems that will make water alkaline.

Filters range from budget-friendly pitchers to higher-end machines that you place under your sink. Maintenance is usually very easy, only requiring you to replace the filters every few months, depending on the brand and type.

There are also personal water flasks that the manufacturers claim will alkalize your water immediately once it is in the bottle.

Bottled Water

Many people choose to simply purchase bottled alkaline water, rather than invest in making it themselves.

One of the most popular products is sold by Essentia. It is a 12-pack of 1-liter bottles and the water has a pH of 9.5 or higher. The water is said to contain added electrolytes, which makes it a good option after exercise to replace sodium lost via sweating (11). The company also sells packs of 24 bottles.

Another popular brand is called Qure, with packages containing 12 or 24 bottles. The company states its water has a pH of 10 and that it is drinkable for up to two years if left sealed.

FAQs

Can You Drink Alkaline Water Every Day?

Alkaline water has an 8-9 pH level and is said to have numerous health benefits. Some people believe that alkaline water can help neutralize the acid in the body, helping to prevent conditions like heartburn and indigestion.

Additionally, alkaline water is thought to be hydrating and may even help to boost metabolism.

While some anecdotal evidence supports these claims, there is currently no scientific proof that alkaline water has any health benefits.

However, there is no evidence that alkaline water is harmful, so if you enjoy the taste and want to try it, there is no harm in drinking it every day. Just be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of plain old H2O.

Can Alkaline Water Cause Kidney Stones?

While it’s not common for alkaline water to cause kidney stones, it is still a possibility. However, alkaline water poses a problem mostly if you already suffer from kidney disease.

Does Alkaline Water Cause Leg Cramps?

The information on this topic is pretty contradicting. One study shows athletes can drink alkaline water to hydrate themselves during high-intensity interval training. However, according to Taste of Home, drinking too much alkaline water can lead to alkalosis.

This is a condition that includes a series of symptoms, and cramping is among them. Other alkalosis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and muscle spasms.

Does Alkaline Water Help with Inflammation?

The information on the potential benefits and alkaline water is pretty contradicting, so take everything you read with a grain of salt. Health professionals claim there is insufficient evidence to support alkaline water’s alleged benefits.

According to one study, alkaline water can improve the symptoms of muscle and joint pain. However, more research is needed on the topic.

Does Alkaline Water Help You Lose Weight?

If you carefully read the trusted studies on the topic, you’ll discover that alkaline water doesn’t help you lose weight.

It is one of the benefits that people believe in, and it’s usually a seller’s claim. No scientific evidence supports the claim that alkaline water will help you lose those extra pounds.

What Is the Difference Between Alkaline Water and Alkalized Water?

The difference between alkaline water and alkalized water is the method for making it alkaline. Alkaline water is obtained by adding minerals like calcium or potassium to the water to increase its pH.

On the other hand, alkalized water uses electrical charges to make the water more alkaline. The process is called electrolysis. The water is not contaminated with any new chemical components, such as calcium, as a result of this process.


Summary

Summary Icon

Alkaline water could have some potential benefits such as enhanced hydration and altered pH levels.

Unfortunately, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to support the many claims that surround it.

Some proponents claim it has radical health benefits that aren’t supported by peer-reviewed studies.

At the same time, alkaline water doesn’t appear to have serious negative health effects. It is suitable for most adults to drink throughout the day, except for shortly before or after meals or medication. You also shouldn’t drink it if you require a low-sodium diet.

Children over four can drink alkaline water in small amounts, as can the elderly, but no more than two glasses per day. Pets can also drink it but you should again avoid overdoing it.

If you are considering drinking alkaline water to manage or cure a medical condition, we recommend discussing the matter with a qualified health professional.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Sylvia Jones

About the Author

Sylvia Jones

Sylvia Jones is a hands-on, DIY aficionado from Indiana. She is passionate about home improvement, gardening, and environmental conservation. In her spare time, you can find Sylvia getting involved in home improvement projects around the house with her husband, or spending quality time out in the yard.