What Is Alkaline Water? A Basic Explainer

Put on your lab coats and safety goggles, because we’re getting slightly scientific with this article as we attempt to discern the answer to the questions, what is alkaline water? How is alkaline water made? And what are the benefits of alkaline water? Let’s dive into the non-acidic water. 

What is alkaline water?

Cast your mind back to middle school science class when you were learning about pH. You may recall those little test strips that you dip into liquids to test if they’re acidic or basic based on the pH (potential hydrogen) scale. Something like lemon juice is highly acidic, and so it would register low on the pH scale—around 2. Baking soda, on the other hand, is a base, so its pH is about 8.3. Alkaline is just another term for basic, so alkaline water is simply water that has a higher pH level.

How to make alkaline water?

As MedicineNet explains, “Water that flows over rocks and comes from springs is naturally alkaline because it picks up minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and silicates, on its way.” But not all alkaline water is simply gathered from a rock spring. To produce alkaline water on a commercial scale, you ionize the water using a machine called, of course, an ionizer. Or, you can also just increase pH level by adding baking soda or other additives.  

What are the benefits of alkaline water?

The Mayo Clinic has the answer, though they stress repeatedly that these claims have not been adequately backed up with research. They note that pro-alkaline water folks say it can “neutralize acid in your bloodstream” and “help prevent disease, such as cancer and heart disease.” There are even some studies that imply alkaline water can help with bone loss. But more studies are needed to confirm any of those claims. 

What is alkaline water good for?

Again, it’s important to note that these claims haven’t been verified, but Healthline goes into some of the other potential benefits of this less acidic form of water including “pro-aging properties (via liquid antioxidants that absorb more quickly into the human body); colon-cleansing properties; immune system support, hydration, skin health, and other detoxifying properties; weight loss; cancer resistance.” There’s also no evidence of any real negative side effects, so you can rest easy trying out alkaline water for any of these maladies. 

What is alkaline water bad for?

One thing it’s bad for, as I learned in my research, is making pizza! Part of the reason NYC has its reputation for the most delicious pizza in the country is because the pH in the water there is very close to 7, which is exactly neutral on the pH scale. Yeast thrives in an environment with this pH, whereas with a high alkaline content, pizza can begin tasting a little powdery and, well, alkaline. 

Can you drink alkaline water every day? 

Alkaline water is hydrating and has minimal, if any, risks. But note that your body will have to produce more acids in order to maintain its own pH balance. And, because the health claims about alkaline water haven’t really been verified, you might be better off just drinking regular old water. 

Congrats, we made it through this whole article without making a “basic” joke!

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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  • “colon-cleansing properties” is a red flag that something is BS. It has been a baseless scam since the days of John Harvey Kellog trying to get everyone to adhere to Seventh-Day Adventism. In the early 20th century there was at least one surgeon that was doing unnecessary surgery to remove random sections of people’s intestinal tract because intestines are icky, basically. These sorts of scams also have a tendency to lead to things like racism and antisemitism, especially. Cleaning your body, cleaning your intestinal tract, and eating “pure” foods, follows the bread crumbs into other alternative health stuff, which leads to anti-vax, and then it gets into all of this “poison” is a Jewish conspiracy. So chasing “health foods” or anything that purports to help you “cleanse” anything from your body or anything similar is a gateway to antisemitism.