This is What Alkaline Water Really Does to Your Body
Many are the things which come into the market with a lot of hype. In the midst of the hype, the truth can get watered down to levels of non-existence.
When that happens, many people get mislead.
They take the action said to be the best yet that may not necessarily be the truth.
In such situations, the manufacturers of whatever is being pushed for are the beneficiaries.
Although such situations should ideally not happen, they often do.
One such situation is that concerning alkaline water.
From when it was “invented,” many arguments have gone forth in favor of the water. Some scientific studies have also been cited.
There is however little truth in these claims.
Much of it is either pure marketing or exaggerated benefits.
And where there is exaggeration, there is lies.
This articles points out the truth not talked about when discussing alkaline water.
HOW IS ALKALINE WATER PRODUCED?
Alkaline water is called so because of its pH.
And this pH is the basis of all the claims being made about the apparent benefits of this water.
But just how does it acquire its alkalinity?
It is all about the production process.
Much of the available alkaline water is produced in either of two ways.
The Natural Way
This is the best way of acquiring alkaline water since it is as natural as it can be.
This method consists of simply collecting water that flows from the mountains or specific springs.
The alkalinity of this water comes from the minerals the water picks up as it flows down the mountain rocks.
The continuous flow of the water also ensures that there is very little contamination.
The Electrolysis Way
This is the most common method used to produce alkaline water. It uses a process which you may remember from your chemistry class.
The process is called electrolysis.
Electrolysis is the process in which an electric current (Direct Current) is passed through an electrolyte. An electrolyte is any solution which has the ability to conduct electricity.
This is how water ionizers work.
They use electrolysis to break down water. This results in separate formations of acidic and alkaline water.
The acidic water is drained away while the alkaline water is bottled for sale.
Whereas some manufacturers leave it at this point, many add some minerals to it.
This not only increases the pH but also provides health benefits.
IS ALKALINE WATER NECESSARY?
There have been some studies on the benefits of taking alkaline water.
Unfortunately, the results have been taken out of context by marketers and businesses which are just looking to make a quick buck.
Riding on the ignorance of many, some investments are done and the manufacturing process begins.
The biggest investment in this process is the acquisition of a water ionizing machine where the electrolysis takes place.
A keen reading of the scientific research available indicates that the perceived benefits cannot be authoritatively guaranteed.
There have been some observed benefits after taking alkaline water for the first two to three months.
Long-term use has however been shown to be unfit for your health.
More than that, scientists have largely agreed that drinking alkaline water is not necessary at all.
Normal tap water which is mainly neutral (pH of 7) has been proven to be good enough for everyday drinking.
Is there really no benefit at all?
Staying with scientific studies and not marketing hype, there is one often-quoted study which indicates a potential benefit.
This is for the people suffering from acid reflux.
If you are suffering from acid reflux and you take alkaline water, you will definitely experience relief. This is no doubt true as explained by the study.
Alkaline water targets a certain digestive enzyme in the stomach which when eliminated, the chances of acid reflux are greatly reduced.
But as you will learn in the section below, this is not a good way to deal with acid reflux.
There is a real danger in taking this approach while seeking to contain this situation.
BUSTING POPULAR ALKALINE WATER MYTHS
It is possible that seeing all the money that is being made, someone somewhere might be smiling or even laughing.
But for the sake of helping you not fall prey to the lies, we will bust some myths.
We will then give you reasons why you should not take alkaline water at all.
Your normal tap water is good enough.
1. Alkaline water helps in skin disease treatment.
Who doesn’t want to look good?
The beauty industry is full of many types of cosmetic products promising big transformations.
Most do deliver and the success of this industry is evidence that people want to look good.
The cosmetic products market was in 2017 valued at USD 532 billion. According to projections, this will rise to USD 863 billion in 2024. That is a gain of 7%.
Will alkaline water see to it that this growth doesn’t happen?
Science doesn’t think so. Neither should you.
One problematic skin disease claimed to be treated by alkaline water is acne. This is very far from the truth.
What is the truth?
Your skin is acidic in nature. That is its normal state and it is for protection. There is a protective layer on your skin which scientists refer to as the “acid mantle.” It’s pH ranges between 4.5 and 5.5.
As the name suggests, this layer is acidic. The acidic pH protects your skin from damage through wind, cold and bacteria. Bacteria and other microbes easily get to your skin once the pH is raised above 6.
Acne-causing bacteria are one of those which will definitely get unparalleled access to your skin once pH levels rise.
In short, an acidic environment keeps acne-causing bacteria away.
Alkaline water raises the pH level away from the acidic state the skin needs to be in.
Meaning that alkaline water removes the natural protective layer of the skin.
And yet it protects against acne? How?
2. Alkaline water boosts hair growth.
With all the purported health claims, alkaline water does not fail to endear itself to those who want long and strong hair.
Proponents say that alkaline water promotes healthy hair by helping with blood circulation. The blood circulation then in turn helps with hair growth.
This raises a fundamental question. Is hair growth only determined by blood circulation?
A related question would be, “Does blood circulation play only one role, that of promoting hair growth?”
Obviously, the answer is no.
This statement is nothing but an attempt to explain away the lack of hard evidence to support the benefit claims.
This then becomes nothing other than marketing material.
It is intended to make the list of benefits as long as possible without accurate basis.
3. Strengthens your bones.
Modern diet is said to increase systemic acid load and net acid excretion. The solution?
An alkaline diet. And to go with it, alkaline water. The targeted disease in this case is osteoporosis. Alkaline water to the rescue.
The claim is that shifting from acid to base will bring quick benefits. Osteoporosis will be avoided or cured, for those already suffering from the disease.
Here comes research results.
A meta-analysis of over fifty published studies did not find any evidence of such claims. The only study which could potentially back these claims fell short of doing so.
In its research, it did not take into consideration other risk factors of osteoporosis, such as weight loss, family history or estrogen status.
The only thing considered was alkaline diet and water.
There is no evidence of an alkaline diet protecting bone health.
DANGERS OF HIGH pH IN THE BODY
There is what can be referred to as a new industry that has built up around alkalinity.
Not only is there so much push for people to adopt alkaline water for drinking purposes, there has also been a push for alkaline diets.
These are all built on the wrong assumption that acidity in the body is bad.
Yes, there is heart burn and any other acidity issue in the body which can be mentioned, but who said acidity is bad?
Your body is made up of many organs and they serve different functions.
It might be good for you to know that some organs operate in acidic environments while others in alkaline.
This are their most conducive environments.
What happens when a change comes from the outside?
As you may have guessed, the body will respond as it sees best.
Your body has its own inbuilt mechanisms of balancing its pH. If you are sick and this balance cannot be done properly, then your doctor can advice.
But if you are seeking to tune your body for optimum performance by altering its pH balance, you are doing it a disservice.
To help you understand this, here are some dangers of making your body too alkaline in the hope for better performance.
Protein Digestion Problems
Do you remember the potential benefit of alkaline water mentioned above?
The benefit was well supported by a scientific study but it may not be a good solution.
Whereas acid reflux is indeed an uncomfortable condition to have, the mode of treatment offered by alkaline water may cause more trouble.
This is because it stops the reflux by killing a key digestive enzyme in the stomach. That enzyme is called pepsin.
Pepsin is produced in the stomach and is one of the main digestive enzymes.
It serves the function of protein digestion and without it, you may as well forget about benefiting from the proteins you eat.
Proteins are body building foods.
They are the ones which provide your body with the nutrients required to repair worn out tissues.
After a hard day’s work, you must take some form of protein if you are to remain healthy.
If you are an athlete or work out at the gym, protein digestion problems are bad news for you. You obviously know that without proteins you will not have any muscles forming.
Even if you don’t work out, basic exercises like walking and general working wear out your body tissues and repair is needed.
If you take alkaline water for the marketed benefits, you can be sure of one thing: there will be very little difference between you and someone who doesn’t take a health diet.
Eye and Skin Irritation
The intake of too much or highly-alkaline water can affect your eyes.
Your eyes are very sensitive and as such, you need to keep them safe to ensure good vision.
A report by the World Health Organization indicates that extreme pH values can cause irritation on the eyes, skin and mucous membranes.
This conclusion does not come from lab tests but incidents which have already been reported.
The pH which causes these problems are those greater than 11. Perhaps to get a glimpse of what high alkalinity can do to your eyes, consider chemical eye burns.
According to WebMD, chemical eye burns of an alkaline nature are more dangerous than acidic eye burns.
It turns out that acids cannot penetrate the surface of the eye whereas alkalis can.
This is how the alkaline danger comes about. Whereas acidic solutions can be washed out quickly, alkaline solutions get into the eye and cause trouble.
The same report by WHO mentions skin irritability at pH levels higher than 11.
This irritation is nothing new to scientists as they have always researched the effect of alkaline solution on the skin.
For example, Seed Face and Body Care indicate that your water could be the source of itchy and dry skin.
Breaking of Hair Fibers
Your hair has a preferred pH too. And it happens to be on the acid side rather than alkaline.
This, like in the case of your skin, is for protection.
So what happens when you bring in alkaline water?
With a pH of between 3.5 and 5.5, you would want to be careful not to disrupt the status if you care about your hair.
Alkaline pH has been shown to cause hair fiber breakage.
Alkaline pH causes an increase in the negative electrical charge of the hair fiber surface. With too much negative charge on hair fibers, friction between the fibers increases.
The result is hair cuticle damage and fiber breakage.
This is one reason why most shampoos are acidic.
When applying color to your hair, your stylist will normally use alkaline treatment to “open up” your hair.
This is done to help deposit color pigments into the hair structure.
After this process, acidic conditioners are used to bring your hair’s pH down.
Unhealthy Weight Loss
Weight loss has certainly been touted as one of the benefits of switching from tap water to alkaline water. This has helped sell the product since there are many Americans struggling with weight problems.
But is the water really the solution?
Obesity is a big problem and it needs urgent solving. Many companies have come up with solution ranging from supplements to dieting suggestions.
Others have taken the exercising route with the help of a healthy diet.
It may not be very easy to ascertain the truth in all the claims given by companies since they are marketing their products.
Whichever route you may take towards weight loss, one thing remains a challenge: breaking old lifestyle habits and adopting new ones.
What if you came across a solution which goes around this challenge? And it is as simple as drinking a special kind of water?
You will very likely grab the golden opportunity, wouldn’t you?
Not so fast.
A study done using rats which were given alkaline water for 1 year showed the dangers of such a move.
When the rats were observed, they had evident lower body mass than those in the control group.
This is despite both groups being fed with equal food and water.
The only difference was the type of water. Upon weighing, they were found to weigh 29% less than the other group.
Explaining the Weight Loss
Before you think that this is evidence of the claimed benefits, consider this.
Your body weight is determined by many factors. How then can all factors remain constant yet weight loss occurs?
Health experts will tell you that for a healthy weight loss, you must do at least two things.
Eat healthy and exercise.
From the study and the conclusion from the alkaline water, you can see a worrying truth.
The message is that you can keep your current unhealthy lifestyle and still lose weight.
Any medical professional you contact about such a possibility will caution you about it.
The possibility itself sounds bad enough.
But what is certain is that the method of achieving the weight loss is not good for your health.
Possible Growth Retardation
The same study showed that the rats in the alkaline water group had experienced growth retardation.
The scientists were unable to point to the exact cause of the retardation.
However, there was a connection with the water.
For this reason, they concluded that the retardation was a systemic effect of taking alkaline water.
More studies are however needed to get to the root of it.
These scientifically-backed findings should keep you on your toes when it comes to embracing so-called solutions.
Your health is very important and you should treat it as such.
Always seek the truth and put in efforts to stay healthy.
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