Advocates of alkaline water often warn against drinking water that has passed through either the distillation or the reverse osmosis process, saying that these types of water are actually harmful since they remain slightly acidic.
While being overly acidic can lead to a number of health problems, it is an oversimplification, and a mistaken one at that, to say that acidity in itself is wrong.
Quite the contrary, the body maintains a certain acid-alkaline balance in order to properly perform certain functions. In this article, we will dispel the myth surrounding alkaline water and pH level.
Debunking the Alkaline Water Myth: Understanding Alkaline Water and pH Level
The body has its unique way of maintaining the delicate balance between acidity and alkalinity.
Since the body makes the necessary adjustments to maintain this balance, the pH level of alkaline water (and other forms of drinking water) is often rendered useless upon consumption.
But what really is pH and what is its relevance in dispelling certain alkaline water myths?
Simply put, the pH level is a way of measuring the number of hydrogen ions present in water. The acidity or alkalinity of water, in turn, depends on the quantity of hydrogen ions—the more free hydrogen ions are present, the more acidic a solution is.
Similarly, the less free hydrogen ions there are, the more alkaline a solution becomes. In terms of numbers, the pH level of a solution can be measured in a scale of 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.
A solution is alkaline if its pH level is above 7, and it is acidic if it falls at 6 or below. Alkaline water, therefore, has a pH level of 8 or higher.
What happens when you ingest alkaline water?
As previously mentioned, the body makes the necessary adjustments in order to maintain the optimal pH level in the body, regardless of what is ingested or consumed.
This means that upon consumption of alkaline water, the stomach immediately releases more acid to neutralize the additional alkaline intake.
While there is no question about the alkalinity of commercially available alkaline water, it must be noted that this alkalinity does little in neutralizing the acidity of gastric juices and other digestive enzymes.
It is also worth noting that, in the first place, the stomach is designed to be acidic as it helps in breaking down food for easier absorption during the digestive process.
A sudden increase in alkalinity in the digestive tract may prompt the body to release abnormally high quantities of acid to compensate for the sudden acidity drop.
As to the contention of alkaline water advocates that distilled water is slightly acidic and is, thus, harmful, it must be remembered that the stomach, in its normal state, is already very acidic.
Ingestion of slightly acidic distilled water, as such, will not drastically affect the body’s pH level.
As with any other health craze, a number of misconceptions surround alkaline water and pH levels. In order to dispel these misconceptions, it is important to understand how the body works and how certain substances affect its acid-alkaline balance.
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