he alkaline diet, said Fenton’s study, is promoted to correct “the acid state that the modern diet creates.”
It includes more fresh fruits and vegetables and reduced protein intake.
“The marketing of the alkaline diet promotes not only a diet, but also the sale of related supplements and water alkalinizer machines through almost every media medium, including websites, books, and videos,” the authors wrote.
A review published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health concluded that an alkaline diet may have some benefits.
Fruits and vegetables, say the researchers, have a negative acid load that could improve the balance between sodium and potassium, with possible benefits for bone and muscle health. This could help prevent high blood pressure, strokes, and other chronic diseases.
Children with severe metabolic acidosis tend to have low levels of growth hormone, and this can lead to short stature. An alkaline diet may help to reduce problems related to low growth hormone in those who are susceptible.
An alkaline diet also appears to increase magnesium in cells. Magnesium, in turn, helps activate vitamin D.
However, none of these findings relate specifically to alkaline water.
A study published in 2016 looked at the effect of consuming alkaline water on 150 mice over a period of 3 years.
Results suggested that those who drank alkaline water had signs of greater longevity, in other words, they aged less and were more likely to live longer.
No significant differences were seen in the heart, liver, kidneys, brain, or intestine of the groups studied, and no damage occurred, but there were differences in how the mice and their organs aged.
Does alkaline water promote weight loss?
Alkaline water has shown no benefits for general health and metabolism.
While it will not add calories as part of a balanced or managed diet, there is no research that supports alkaline water as a standalone weight loss remedy.
Drinking water that is too alkaline may have adverse effects.
Researchers who looked into the link between alkaline water, an alkaline diet, and cancer said that an alkaline diet could be harmful, as it encourages people to avoid foods that contain important nutrients.
They concluded that “Promotion of alkaline diet and alkaline water to the public for cancer prevention or treatment is not justified.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) note that, just as too much acid is corrosive, so is too much alkali.
In 2001, scientists published findings following a study in which rats at different stages of life consumed alkaline water of pH 11.2 or pH 12 for a year.
At the end of the experiment, the rats had lost weight or experienced delayed growth, and female rats had fur that was thin in patches and appeared dull. Some of the rats had discoloration in the oral mucosa.
The review that was published in the BMJ found that, among the studies of alkaline water they reviewed, “none […] supported the promotions that suggest alkaline water supports good health.”
How to make alkaline drinking water
Machines called ionizers make water alkaline, but they are expensive.
Bottled mineral water tends to be neutral or slightly alkaline. Some manufacturers may state the pH level of their bottled waters.
Sparkling waters are acidic. Carbonation introduces carbon dioxide, which lowers the pH and increases acidity.
The website alkalinewatersionizers.org promotes water ionizers. It says that “Because ionized water contains so many active hydrogen molecules, it is able to act as a powerful antioxidant that searches out and destroys free radicals.”
However, the site also emphasizes the message:
“You must understand that there are no benefits to drinking alkaline water.”
It is only the ionizing, they say, that brings the benefits, yet there is little to no published research to support ionized water for health.
The Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, in their article, “Alkaline water: Don’t believe the marketing hype,” advise people to drink water, but make it plain water, because too much acidity or too much alkalinity can cause problems.
They point out that the human body is designed to find its own balance.
People should think carefully whether it is worth investing in expensive equipment that is unlikely to make a difference.