Alkaline Water: Miracle or Mystery? – By Dr Binti Jhuraney

Dr Binti Jhuraney debunks the fad advice of having Alkaline Water for improving performance or fighting diseases for the matter! Read this article and gather from her observation to never to put into your body, what’s not needed by it!

Beyonce, Miranda Kerr and Tom Brady swear by it - Alkaline water is the new fad in the health and nutrition industry. Alkaline water(pH 8-9) is present in its natural form in springs and artesian wells. IonizersIt is commercially produced by subjecting normal tap water(pH 7) to electrolysis, followed by addition of minerals to it by various procedures like sand filtration, reverse osmosis, UV treatment, ozonation etc. and bottling it. Alkaline water ionizing machines are also available in the market.

The big buzz around this water is due to various health benefits claimed by their manufacturers. They include:

  1. Superior hydration
  2. Boosting metabolism
  3. Detoxification
  4. Increased endurance
  5. Reduced acidity
  6. Preventing cancer etc.

Now, the main problem here is insufficient scientific evidence backing these proposed benefits. Very few researches, even fewer in humans, have been done till now that back the above mentioned health benefits. Knowing that our body regulates its pH in a tight range of 7.35-7.45 for the optimum functioning of various enzymes, it is unlikely that drinking alkaline water is going to change it. Our stomach has acidic pH of 1.5-3.5(highly acidic), so even if you drink water that is mildly alkaline, it will be neutralized before it can be absorbed in our blood. This fact does not support the claim of reducing acidity in acid reflux patients.

Detoxification claim is another brilliant marketing strategy used by the manufacturers. Our bodies are designed to withstand variations in our diet, with kidneys, liver, intestines, and sweat glands doing their job right, detox doesn’t need to be supplemented by alkaline water.

Preventing or curing cancer is the most misleading claim without any significant scientific research in the matter. Cancer cells are said to starve in the alkaline environment, but as stated above, alkaline water does not change the pH of the body to make it alkaline.

One of the study did indicate that drinking alkalized water improves hydration status, acid-base balance, and high intensity anaerobic exercise performance. However, if you wish to start drinking alkaline water, it is advisable to start with a low intake and increase it gradually. This can reduce the corrosive effects of highly alkaline water. The known side effects of increased alkalinity in body include gastro-intestinal issues like nausea and vomiting, hand tremors, muscle twitching, dry and itchy skin and in severe cases, kidney disease.

So, if alkaline water is junk science why is it so popular? “It sounds plausible,” says Tim Caulfield, the author of ‘Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?’, which debunks celebrity health advice. “It is a science-y sounding idea that has intuitive appeal. Alkaline water is also part of the multitrillion-dollar wellness industry, much of which is built on the marketing of science-free products and practices. There seems [to be] an unquenchable thirst for new and unique strategies for maximizing health and avoiding disease.”

In conclusion, I would reiterate that alkaline water is basically a big waste of money. For the most part, it's not harmful. It may taste weird or good or same as normal tap water depending on your palate, but it won't help your athleticism, your bones, your gut, your toxicity, and most definitely not your cancer. So, squeeze a lemon into your humble tap water and drink it up!

About The Author

Binti Jhuraney

BDS(Pune) MD-Alternative Medicine (Calcutta University) is a dentist running her private practice along with her Orthodontist husband in South Delhi for more t.... Read More..

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