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Is alkaline water a sham?

Advanced Hydration Technology

Alkaline drinking water is slightly alkaline on the pH scale. This mild level of alkalinity is perfect to help maintain the 7.35-7.45 average pH level that is optimum for your blood ... pH is a factor that has a critical effect on your blood's capacity to uptake, carry and deliveroxygen to all parts of your body ... A lower pH means blood is leaving your lungs with less oxygen, delivering less oxygen and eliminating waste less efficiently ...

--Xtreme Technologies (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) sales literature

I've recently been told that water, either bottled or tap, probably has a PH level too low for good health and that we should purchase enhanced waters, PH level testers, etc. What is the real story on this issue? If true, what recommendations do you have for purchases?

Karen Brennan

Jonesboro, AR

Sometimes nature provides for dissolved elements in potable water which can influence water's total benign presence. If calcium is dissolved, which can happen with some mineral waters, if anything, it would be slightly basic with a pH greater than 7.0 The body can handle this but in general its biochemical processes prefer slightly acidic chemistries.

Most waters, whether tap or bottled, are not acidic enough to warrant any concern. Too acidic, and our teeth would start to mottle, pit, and crack over time...not seen as far as I know.

Ed Nessel, MS, MPH

Viera, FL

I am no authority on bottled water, but if I remember back to high school chemistry, tap water is very close to neutral pH (i.e. 7.0). In either case, the pH of any water is certainly higher than orange juice or vinegar (ascorbic acid and acetic acid) and nobody worries about ingesting those.

Besides, whatever you ingest is going within seconds into the stomach which has apH of 2 or 3 (if I remember my medical school gastric physiology). I doubt that ingesting any amount of water would significantly affect the pH of our stomach contents. If anything, Pepcid or any of the H2 antagonists would be far more effective at raising the pH of the stomach contents than artificially altering the pH of ingested water. This sounds to me like classic Madison Avenue pseudoscience. "I just happen to have a product in the back of my wagon which is guaranteed to cure your (fill in the blank)."

Klaud Miller, MD

Evanston, IL

There does appear to be an optimal pH level for drinking water. It is just above the neutral point of 7.0. However, most public health supplies meet that standard and there doesn't appear to be any need for concern.

D.C. Huddy, PhD, CHES

Athens, WV

I know of no credible scientific studies that indicate that the pH of water is important. The stomach is highly acidic anyway so any water you drink is not likely to make a difference once it enters the highly acidic stomach. If you want a lower pH water, simply buy regular water and add lemon juice to it and save yourself some money.

John McPhail, MD

Okemos, MI

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Title Annotation:THE CLINIC
Publication:Running & FitNews
Date:May 1, 2016
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