Among the many ways to measure the body’s health is the acid–alkaline scale. When the body’s pH tips toward acidity (less than 7 on the scale), it stresses bones, muscles, kidneys, and the heart, which can lead to a host of health problems. Called low-grade acidosis, this condition is typically triggered by excessive consumption of acid-producing foods like meat, dairy, and sugar.
By contrast, when the body sits at neutral (7 on the scale — smack in the middle) or tilts slightly to the alkaline side (perhaps an 8), this offers a mildly protective buffering effect.
The most straightforward and traditional way to alkalize the body is to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, but there is now a range of other popular strategies, including alkaline water. Whether it’s sourced from natural springs or vapor-distilled with added electrolytes — or simply filtered from the tap and served with a slice of lemon — advocates believe it can help neutralize body acidity.
Studies suggest alkaline water may act as a mild blood thinner, lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as moderating the effects of diabetes.
This may sound far-fetched, but research shows its potential. A 2012 study found that well water with an 8.8 alkalinity seemed to deactivate pepsin, the enzymatic culprit in acid reflux. More recent studies have suggested alkaline water may act as a mild blood thinner, lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as moderating the effects of diabetes.
Still, these benefits might also result from adequate hydration: Drinking enough water of any kind always reduces blood viscosity. So for now, the most confirmable reason to drink alkaline water may be that it typically tastes better than tap, encouraging us to drink more of it. And that is smart, no matter how you measure it.