Alkalized Water: Does it meet the hype?

by John Laznovsky
The Wolf of Wellness
February 10, 2024

Is it good to drink alkalized water?

Should you go alkaline?

These are two questions that we’ve been asked repeatedly throughout the years, so we decided to break them down and answer these questions for you.

In order to properly answer these questions we need to have an understanding of how the body works, and what exactly it means to go alkaline:

The pH scale and what alkaline means:

The pH (potential of hydrogen) scale ranges from 0-14, with a pH of 7 being considered neutral, a pH of less than 7 considered as acidic and more acidic as it approaches 0, and a pH of greater than 7 considered as basic or alkaline and more basic or alkaline as it approaches 14. It should be noted that it is possible for a pH beyond this range, as in a negative pH or a pH above 14. To give you an idea, tap water typically has a pH close to 7, or a neutral pH.

If you haven’t figured it out already, the more basic the pH of something is (closer to 14), the more alkaline it is considered to be. Thus, when people state, “You need to go alkaline.”, they are claiming that you should increase the pH of your body to be healthier.

The way the blood pH of the body works:

The body has its own built in pH system that is highly sensitive to fluctuations in pH and works around the clock to maintain the body’s pH within a very specific range. This takes place through the use of chemical buffers, such as plasma proteins, phosphate, and bicarbonate (HCO3- which is slightly basic and the de-protonated form of carbonic acid ) and carbonic acid (H2CO3 which is slightly acidic).

The normal pH range of human blood is around 7.4 (which is already slightly alkaline), but varies within a range of 7.35 to 7.45. A pH reading outside of this range is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal if left untreated. If the blood pH falls below 7.35, the body is considered to be in a state of “acidemia.” Conversely, if the blood pH rises above 7.45, the body is said to be in a state of “alkalemia.” Both of these conditions are considered extremely dangerous and potentially fatal if proper treatment isn’t pursued immediately.

The pH balance of the digestive system:

Maintaining proper pH in specific organs of the digestive system is crucial for optimal digestion and health. The stomach is a highly acidic environment, with an average pH of around 2 to 2.5. This is due to the presence of hydrochloric acid, which is released by the parietal cells of the stomach. The acidic environment kicks off the major digestive processes and is necessary for the proper break down of proteins, carbs, fats, plant fibers etc. Without the acidic environment in the stomach, food stuffs wouldn’t be fully digested and we wouldn’t be able to obtain the nutrients we need for optimal health.

The small intestine prefers a more basic or alkaline environment with a pH of around 7.5 to 8. The pancreas releases bicarbonate into the small intestine to neutralize the acidity from the stomach. This is important because the small intestine doesn’t have a thick mucus lining like the stomach to protect it from the acid. The small intestine finishes the digestive processes and is also where the majority of absorption of nutrients from food occurs.

Putting it all together:

As you can see, maintaining proper pH balance in the blood and digestive system is crucial for survival. So what happens when you drink highly alkalized water? The alkalized water will most likely neutralize the acidic environment of the stomach (much a like taking a tums would) and disrupt the digestive processes that were previously mentioned. In addition, the stomach would now have to work harder to bring the pH back down to where it should be. Long term consumption of high volumes of alkalized water could severely disrupt the digestive processes and lead to more severe issues such as nutrient deficiencies, digestive imbalances etc.

Will it cause your blood to become more alkaline? No, it’s very unlikely (probably impossible) that drinking alkalized water would alter the pH of your blood. Is there any time where alkalized water could be beneficial? In severe situations of acid reflux, temporary consumption of alkalized water could potentially be beneficial for alleviating the condition. You should always check with your doctor first!

Hopefully this information helps to answer your questions about alkalized water and if it has any benefits to offer.