Water is a vital necessity to sustain our lives, but we do not spend a huge amount of time thinking about where it comes from, what is in it, and what it can do for our bodies.
Alkaline water was initially popular in Japan, Korea and South East Asia before spreading across North America and Europe, based on the idea that it could help neutralise diets that had become increasingly filled with acidic foods.
To understand how alkaline water can help in this regard, it is important to know where it comes from, how our bodies work and how water ionisers can change the properties of the water that comes through the tap.
The Two Types Of Alkaline Water
The water we drink travels a great distance from its source before it reaches our body, and often picks up traces of various different minerals, each of which has a certain level of acidity or alkalinity to it.
If water were to pass through a mountain spring, for instance, it would absorb various minerals such as calcium that would help to make it more alkaline. This is natural alkaline water.
Alternatively, there is also ionised alkaline water, which is where water is passed through an electrical current that forcibly splits it into its component molecules before being reconstituted to the desired pH level.
The main differences between the two waters are mineral content and pH level.
Natural alkaline water tends to at its most alkaline have a pH of around 8.5, around the standard pH of salty seawater, whilst water ionisers can create alkaline water with a pH of up to 12, between ammonia and bleach.
There are other ways to create more alkaline water as well, such as adding baking soda or lemon to tap water.
How Our Body Regulates Acidity
Different organs in our body required different pH levels to function. A pH level, or potential of hydrogen, is a scale of how acidic or alkaline a solution is, on a scale from 0 to 14.
For typical, healthy adults, our blood pH is slightly alkaline, at around 7.4. This figure is quite tightly regulated by the rest of our body, as acidosis or alkalosis can occur if the blood’s pH is over or under this amount, two conditions that can be life-threatening.
Different organs, however, have different pH level they need to stick to. Saliva in the mouth has a pH that ranges from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, whilst the stomach has two different pH values depending on the part that is measured.
The upper stomach has a pH between 4 and 6.5, whilst the lower part of the stomach cavity has a pH level of between 1.5 and 4.0. Both of these are acidic, which fits the purpose of the stomach producing acid to break down food.