Alkaline Water: Is It Better For You?

African American woman drinking water bottle“Why would I pay over a $1.50 for a bottle of water?” runs though the head of a lot of people when looking at the price of alkaline water.  A lot of us don’t know exactly what alkaline water is. Sure, we’ve been seeing the “hotep-ers” and nutrition gurus ranting and raving about how we need to drink it, but what is it really?

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Alkaline, in its plainest terms, refers to the pH level in water. pH measures how acidic or basic the water is. Essentially, pH measures the amount of free hydrogen and hydroxyl ions present in the water. Water with more free hydrogen ions are classified as acidic, while water with more free hydroxyl ions is basic. The pH is measured on a scale of 0-14 (0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most basic).  The average pH in tap water is generally rated a 7, making it neutral on the pH scale. Alkaline water typically has a pH level of 8 or 9 according to Healthline.

There is an ongoing debate about the health benefits of alkaline water. Some say it can help fight cancer, decrease the risk of osteoporosis and improve mental focus. But currently there are no peer reviewed studies that solidify these claims.

One of alkaline water’s biggest benefits is its ability to neutralize the acid in your body. A 2012 study says alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 can decrease the effects of acid reflux. Pepsin, an enzyme responsible for breaking down the proteins in your food and also the main culprit of acid reflux, is killed by this alkaline water.