What Is Alkaline Water and Is It Good for You?

Posted by
John Woodard on April 05, 2024

Alkaline water has experienced a surge in popularity in the past few years, leading many to wonder if water with an elevated pH is beneficial to health. Many alkaline water advocates claim that it can prevent diseases, aid digestion, and offer other health benefits, but studies to support these claims are few and far between. While alkaline water may be popular in some circles today, it is important to know how it interacts with the body, particularly when consumed on a regular basis. In this article, you can learn what alkaline water is, its health effects, and how to change the alkalinity of your water at home.

What is alkaline water?

Water is alkaline if it contains a pH of over 7, making it less acidic than pure water. Water that is branded as alkaline typically contains a pH of about 8 or 9, while the pH of water from the tap typically sits below 7. In general, the harder your water, the higher its pH. This is because calcium and magnesium, the minerals that cause hard water, are high in alkalinity and therefore can raise the pH of water. The EPA suggests that tap water should hold a pH between 6.5 and 8.5, but most municipal water is below this threshold.

You have likely seen many brands of bottled water as you scan the shelves at your local grocery store. Companies that sell bottled alkaline water make water alkaline in one or both of the following ways:

  • Water ionizers. Ionizers change the chemical makeup of water through electrolysis. This process separates the incoming supply into alkaline and acidic forms of water. In electrolysis, an electrical current is used to separate water into H+ (acidic) and OH- (alkaline) forms of water.
  • Nutrient additives. Some bottled water companies add elements to water to raise its alkalinity. These additives include calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and potassium. Not only do these raise the pH of water, but they are also intended to improve its taste.

While some bottled water companies may use one method of alkalization or the other, many utilize both. This creates alkaline water with an improved taste from added mineral content.

Is alkaline water good for you?

The health claims of alkaline water are largely a marketing gimmick, but it does contain mineral content that can improve the taste of water. Your body naturally balances its pH itself, so drinking water that is slightly acidic or alkaline results in the same bodily pH regardless. While the mineral content of alkaline water can be beneficial, it is negligible compared to the minerals you consume in a balanced diet unless you exercise intensely or suffer from malnutrition. If you believe that alkaline water can give you the health benefits you desire, consult your doctor for guidance. For more information, read our FAQs below.

What is an alkaline water filter?

Alkaline water filters provide mineral-rich water with a higher pH than tap water to a point-of-use like a kitchen faucet. They are often used as a post-treatment for reverse osmosis (RO) systems to reintroduce minerals that have been stripped by the RO membrane. These filters are installed between the RO membrane and the storage tank. At the end of the RO treatment process, water's pH is about 6. While this water is free of most contaminants, it is also free of most mineral content. An alkaline remineralization filter reintroduces beneficial minerals that give RO water a well-rounded, refreshing taste.

Do I need an alkaline water filter?

We recommend alkaline water filters as a postfilter for any reverse osmosis installation. Without an alkaline remineralization filter, you may find your water unpleasant to drink. These cartridges are extremely simple to incorporate into a reverse osmosis system if you ensure compatibility beforehand.

If you do not currently own an RO system and are debating the importance of an alkaline filter, do not be fooled by marketing gimmicks that promise rejuvenating health benefits from drinking alkaline water. Ultimately, the need for an alkaline water filter depends solely on your preferences of your water’s pH and taste.

FAQs about the benefits of alkaline water

Is alkaline water safe to drink?

Yes, alkaline water is safe to drink, but it may cause some unpleasant symptoms if you drink highly alkaline water excessively. These symptoms include dry and itchy skin, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues. These gastrointestinal symptoms stem from decreased acidity in your stomach. However, these effects are usually temporary, and your stomach should rebalance itself quickly.

Does alkaline water hydrate better than tap water?

Alkaline water may contain more electrolytes than plain tap water, but it does not contain as many electrolytes as electrolyte water. When you lose electrolytes as you exercise, alkaline water may help replenish them faster than tap water. However, there are other drinks more capable of introducing additional electrolytes to your body. While alkaline water contains a pH of higher than 7, electrolyte water and other types of sports drinks contain a lower pH. Sports drinks are more effective at targeting specific electrolyte levels than alkaline water, making them more effective during exercise.

Does alkaline water balance your body’s pH?

No, alkaline water does not balance your body’s pH. Rather, it is your body that neutralizes alkaline water’s pH once the water is consumed. This means you do not receive the so-called benefits of the water’s alkalinity in the first place. In fact, if you excessively consume water that is too alkaline, it can reduce the natural acidity in your stomach, causing gastrointestinal distress.

Does alkaline water prevent illness?

There is no evidence to conclude that alkaline water prevents illness. Many marketing campaigns claim that the antioxidant properties of alkaline water shield the body from disease, but according to Cleveland Clinic, these claims are unfounded. Proper hydration can help prevent illness, but no scientific studies support the claim that alkaline water provides any additional protection than tap water.

Does alkaline water slow aging?

No, there are no scientific studies that support the claim that alkaline water slows aging. Despite what many marketing campaigns may claim, the pH and mineral content of the water you drink will never drastically improve your health. As long as you have access to a safe source of water, a balanced diet is far more important to health than the exact pH and mineral content of the water you drink.

Does alkaline water improve bone health?

No, there is no evidence to support the claim that alkaline water improves bone health. Marketing gimmicks around alkaline water are so prevalent that Cleveland Clinic states that the FDA has banned using claims that alkaline water can improve bone health. You can benefit your bone health by consuming certain foods and supplements, not from drinking water.

Is alkaline water good for digestion?

Alkaline water has not been proven to provide any benefits to digestion. This is because the body balances its pH naturally, effectively mitigating the higher pH of alkaline water. The pulmonary system can increase or decrease the pH in your body by regulating the amount of carbon dioxide you release. When carbon dioxide mixes with water, it creates carbonic acid, lowering the pH in your body. If the pH in your body is too low, you will release more carbon dioxide. Likewise, you will release less carbon dioxide if your body’s pH is too high. The alkalinity in water is negated once it reaches your stomach acid, preventing you from reaping any digestive benefits.

Does alkaline water help acid reflux and heartburn?

Alkaline water can temporarily relieve symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn, but there are better options, such as antacids, that provide a longer lasting solution. Once again, the pH of your stomach may raise slightly, but it will ultimately rebalance itself to a pH between 1.5 and 3.5.


If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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