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Is alkaline water a scam?

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Ben321:
Ordinary bottled water has always been popular, but frequently now I am starting to see bottled water at grocery stores that claims to be alkaline water. The pH of such water is usually stated on the bottle to be about 9.5. The implication is that somehow, water who's pH is above neutral (pH > 7) is somehow healthier for the human body. Is this true? Is it actually healthier? Is there any potential danger from drinking such water?

ataradov:
There are a few studies that show that it may be beneficial in some cases, like if you experience acid reflux. But there are actual medications that could be taken with normal water, so I'm not sure why you would want to treat medical conditions with random stuff like this.

And for 99.9% of the target audience it has no benefits. It is just a way to extract money from suckers.

There is no real danger either. I guess it may not be smart to just drink that water and use it for cooking. But who does this anyway? If you just were outside and are thirsty, then drink whatever, it makes no difference.

antenna:
Without drinking anything for a little while, spit on a piece of pH paper. You will see it is alkaline. Your body likes running at a higher pH.

That said, the stomach is very acidic and I assume the slight alkalinity will immediately be neutralized when drank. Perhaps the mineral content without adding halogens is beneficial? My friend drinks nothing but alkaline water and he swears by it. I drink nothing but Pepsi, and although my teeth are gone, I feel OK. A bit lethargic most says, but OK.

I am interested in hearing what others have to say about it too, I'm not a doctor and always wondered.

SiliconWizard:
It's probably NOT a good idea even. The stomach content needs to be acid. At least while it's digesting food. If you're experiencing acid reflux or related stomach pain, drinking something alkaline may soothe it temporarily. For this, you don't need anything special. Just tap (or bottle if you prefer) water and a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Cheap as hell, useful for other things, and works. But that should be done only occasionally IMO, and preferably at a distance from meals.

Now taking this on a regular basis is not that great and isn't going to solve anything. If you're "neutralizing" the stomach pH, your digestion will suffer. It needs acid. And your body will desperately try to compensate - by producing more acid. Which could eventually give you a bigger problem. If you have a bad and recurring acid reflux, go see a doctor.

But for everyday consumption, I think close to neutral or slightly acid (6-7) is best. Now occasional consumption of anything, be it acid, alkaline, alcoohol, is ok. So if that's occasional... but i'd be curious to see the content of those "alkaline water" bottles. And how much they charge for this. Because all you need, again, is some baking soda.

jpanhalt:
Some friends list the three basic foods as scotch, water, and scotch and water.  As for water, you have the choice of soda, seltzer, and club soda.  One of them is buffered, but which one is a mystery in the US, unless you read the label.  There is no consistency as to the names.

Back on subject, pure water has virtually no buffering ability.  In fact, a drop of KCl often needs to be added to a large volume to get a reliable pH reading.  So, water of pH 9.5 versus 5.0 has no meaning unless you know how much buffering agent has been added.  In the US, that is usually not listed.  Bottom line, for normal people with normal stomachs, the pH per se makes no difference.   

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