Is Alkaline Water Better Than Plain Water?

The human body comprises approximately 60% water. It's vitally important, as every cell needs water to function properly, per the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Beyond maintaining the body's hydration levels, drinking water also helps to flush toxins and waste products from the body, lubricate the joints, produce saliva, and control the body's temperature, says the USGS. According to the 2006 recommendations by the National Academy of Sciences, men require around 13 cups of water and 9 cups for women per day. With these recommendations, there's no denying that water is essential for life.

Nowadays, various types of water are becoming more popular than others. One example is alkaline water. This type of water has a higher pH level than plain drinking water, says Healthline. According to the source, the pH scale is between 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. Most tap water has a pH of around 7, considered neutral. Alkaline water typically has a pH of 8 or 9.

How is alkaline water produced?

According to Medical Xpress, some natural alkaline water sources include certain types of springs with high mineral content, including calcium and magnesium. Although alkaline water can be naturally sourced, there are several ways to produce it. You can add baking soda to tap water or use a filtration system, says Another common method involves electrolysis, says Healthline. During this process, an electrical current is used to ionize the water and separate it into acid and alkaline components. The alkaline component is then collected and used as alkaline water, as explained by the source.

Alkaline water can also be produced through reverse osmosis, says Healthline. During the process, water is passed through a membrane to filter out impurities and contaminants, according to How Stuff Works. The resulting water typically has a higher pH level due to the removal of acid-forming substances, as explained by Healthline.

What's so special about alkaline water?

The topic of alkaline water is controversial. Generally speaking, many scientists still believe there isn't enough scientific proof to back the claims that alkaline water is any better than regular water, says Healthline. However, supporters of alkaline water believe it can neutralize the acid in the body. Others also believe it can help improve bone health while preventing acid reflux and even chronic diseases like cancer (via Medical News Today). One 2012 study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology notes that alkaline water at a pH of 8.8 might be beneficial for people with reflux disease. Another 2016 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition indicated a substantial change in whole blood velocity in 100 adults who ingested high-pH water after exercising.

The fact that some people simply prefer the taste is enough to make it popular. Other people are drawn to alkaline water because it is seen as a "natural" alternative to tap water, even though there isn't enough evidence to prove that alkaline water is any more natural than tap water. According to Healthline, most store brands have undergone a chemical process known as electrolysis. It's also important to remember that the human body is designed to maintain a certain pH balance, says WebMD. Regardless of which water type is better, it's important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.