What are the Pros and Cons of Alkaline Water?

by Paul McTaggart

Alkaline Water is water with a pH level higher than 7.0, making it less acidic than standard tap water.

What is pH Level?

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Liquids between 0-7 are considered acidic and those between 7-14 are considered alkaline.

To provide a substantive comparison, wine generally has a very acidic pH level between 2.5-3.5 and beer a little higher at around 4.0-5.0 (Driscoll, 1986). Seawater is around 8.0 and cleaning detergents have extremely high pH levels of 12.0+.

There are a number of contradicting accounts of the health impact of pH levels of drinking water. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states there is 'no health-based guideline value is proposed for pH.' However it is widely considered that the optimum pH level for drinking water is between 7.5 and 9.5.

Let's get straight to the point, an internet search for alkaline water will produce many conflicting articles containing claims from alkaline water is the saviour of the universe to others that would have you believe it’ll bring the world to an end.

Such is the nature of the internet in this age that people are so keen to jump to conclusions and come up with the most attention-grabbing headlines, often avoiding the detail necessary to publish such sweeping hypotheses.

As advocates of alkaline water, we feel it is our duty to provide you with a balanced summary of the pros & cons of alkaline water. No delusional science, just the simple facts about what alkaline water really can and can't do.

We know that an alkaline water filter enhances the pH level of drinking water but it is the benefits of this process which are hotly contested. Below is a list of pros and cons of alkaline water that will hopefully contribute towards clearing up the confusion:

Pros of Alkaline Water

#1 Pro of Alkaline Water - Antioxidants

Alkaline water has very good anti-oxidant properties as it has decreasedOxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) levels which work against free radicals. ORP is the measurement of oxidising agents and reducing agents.

Free radicals are oxidising agents and therefore alkaline water, with its increased level of reducing agents, is much more effective at tackling those rogue cells than normal drinking water.

Not all forms of alkaline water create a negative ORP level which is substantial enough for reducing free radicals, however, a five-stage activated carbon process does give the water this powerful capacity.

RELATED: Discover the Science Behind Antioxidant Water

#2 Pro of Alkaline Water -Cardio Boost

Alkaline water can provide a better level of hydration than standard mineral water. A study by Daniel P. Heli (2010) in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that drinking alkaline water with an increased pH level of 10.0 provided improved hydration status when compared with ‘placebo water’ consumption.

The group which was given the alkalised supplement also experienced increased levels of cardiorespiratory capacity and upper body power levels.

#3 Pro of Alkaline Water -Soothes Acid Reflux

Consumption of Alkaline water can also help in reducing acid reflux, or heartburn as it’s commonly known.

Another Daniel P. Heli study also found improved acid-base balance when drinking alkaline water compared with basic tap water.

Our very own Alkaline Water Filter was reviewed by a website based on providing advice on How To Get Rid of Acid Reflux.

Pros and Cons of Alkaline Water

Cons of Alkaline Water

#1 Con of Alkaline Water -Stomach pH

The most notable con of alkaline water is that despite altering the pH content of the water giving enhanced hydration, it cannot change the pH levels in your stomach over the long term. The pH levels of your stomach are around 1.5-3.5. This is required in order to aid the digestion process and can’t be permanently altered by water consumption. When we eat and drink, the pH level of our stomach is raised slightly and through digestion, stomach acid returns it to the natural level. Consumption of alkaline water, therefore, can negate the effects of excess stomach acids accumulated in our diets but doesn't permanently raise the pH level of our stomachs.

Eco Water Filter

#2 Con of Alkaline Water -Cost?

One of the most common criticisms of alkaline water is that it’s too expensive. This can be true in form of large, ioniser tanks which generally range from £750 to £2,000.

However, alkaline water is not categorically expensive. You can receive many of the same benefits from a countertop alkaline water filter which costs only a fraction of the price of an ioniser machine and can provide revitalising alkaline water for just 2.5p per litre, this is a 30th of the price of standard bottled water.

#3 Con of Alkaline Water -Blood pH

Your blood has a steady slightly alkaline level of around 7.35. Much in the same way as your stomach, your body has several mechanisms which strictly maintain the pH level of your blood as well. Therefore drinking alkaline water cannot alter this, thankfully! It's vital for human health that this pH level remains steady.

There remains a lot of debate surrounding the pros and cons of alkaline water.On the one hand, sceptics argue that there is very little scientific proof of the reputed benefits of drinking alkaline water.

However, there have been clinical studies which show improvements in hydration and cardiorespiratory capacity deriving from alkaline water consumption.Furthermore, there is actually next to no scientific evidence that shows any negative side effects of alkaline water consumption.

Taking a broader consideration of the information surrounding alkaline water into account, the benefits in regards to enhanced hydration and cardiorespiratory capacity combined with mineralisation far outweigh the suggested drawbacks.

The Only Way to Find Out...

It's impossible to cover all of the speculations surrounding the pros and cons of alkaline water in this single article. However, those who are interested can test out the relative benefits of alkaline water here for less than 2.5p per litre.

See Also: Phox v. Brita