What is ionised alkaline water and reverse osmosis water?
Alkaline water is not to be confused with alkaline ionised water as there is a difference. Alkaline water is any water that has a pH above 7.0. This can be achieved in many ways such as adding alkaline minerals to your water or even adding baking soda to tap or bottled water. Alkaline ionised water is created by water ionisers in a process called water electrolysis. This process occurs inside an electrolysis chamber of a water ioniser machine. The idea is that in order to create a more alkaline balance in the body, you should drink water with a higher pH.
Reverse osmosis water undergoes a process in which dissolved inorganic solids (such as salts) are removed from a solution (such as water). It involves a filtration process to produce high purity water as a result of household water pressure pushing the tap water through a semipermeable membrane.The ultra-fine membrane operates by rejecting impurities and flushing them out to drain. This effectively eliminates approximately 98% of all dissolved impurities, heavy metals, salts, viruses, bacteria, fluoride & chloride, chlorine, taste, odour, and chemicals. This type of treated water is most often used by bottled water companies.
What are the proposed benefits of these types of water?
The proposed benefits of these waters are as follows:
- Main health benefits of reverse osmosis water are that a majority of unhealthy contaminants are removed, in particular heavy metals. Heavy metal exposure and toxicity is linked to many health issues such as hormone imbalance, respiratory problems, gut problems, allergies, infertility, skin issues, cardiovascular and brain dysfunction and chronic fatigue, to name a few.
- Ionised water has a negative oxidation-reduction potential, meaning it may offer additional disinfectant properties, which help to protect you from dangerous microorganisms that can disrupt gut health.
- If there’s one group that may benefit from drinking alkaline water, it’s athletes. The reason being is that intense training/exercise cause muscles to produce more hydrogen ions than one can efficiently remove. As a result, acidity (lactic acid) increases (in the muscles) and fatigue sets in. Drinking alkaline water mayenhance the body’s buffering capacity and reduce the level of acidity, thus improving sporting performance and hydration status.
- Some studies have suggested that drinking ionised alkaline water may have benefits for people who suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Do the claims live up to reality?
While anecdotal evidence suggests that the pH of water could be relevant to health, so far, there’s not a lot of firm data. However, focusing on the pH level of our water, alone, might be somewhat irrelevant. The reason being is that if alkaline water is deemed helpful, that might be due to the minerals it contains rather than its pH level, per se.
It should be noted that there is evidence to show that consuming alkaline water, it can increase the overall alkalinity of the body. However, this may not always be beneficial for certain population groups. For example, if someone has a kidney condition such as acute or chronic kidney failure, or is taking a medication that alters kidney function, some of the minerals in alkaline water could accumulate in the body. For these people, high alkalinity might lead to negative side effects and further kidney damage.
Another concept to consider is that each organ system has a unique pH range, and our bodies naturally do a great job of maintaining blood pH within each respective range. Furthermore, if our pH level is out of balance, it’s important to get to the underlying cause. Without knowing the cause, it’s impossible to determine whether alkaline water will really help you.
Bottom line is that although drinking ionised alkaline water is generally considered safe, since it contains natural minerals, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of alkaline water as a treatment for any health condition. If you are unsure if you will benefit from the consumption of this type of water, you are best to speak to your health professional.
Is regular tap water fine, or should we consider switching to these other types of water?
Tap water is disinfected to protect us from bacteria and toxins. However, when disinfectants interact with the organic matter in our tap water, disinfectant by-products form. These by-products can lead to health and environmental problems, which is why it’s a good reason to avoid them.
Alkaline water seems to break down some of the by-products and reducing their dangers to us as a result. The increase in alkalinity in our urine as a result of drinking alkaline water might help to excrete certain environmental toxins and pharmaceuticals from the body, which is another potential benefit.
It may sound like a no brainer to consume these other types of water, but other by-products seem to thrive in an alkaline environment. So all things considered, alkaline water may not necessarily be better at protecting us from toxins.
A cheaper solution might be purchasing a good filtered jug, which you can use as you see fit.