How Does the pH Value of Drinking Water Affect Your Health?

An overly acidic body is the root of many common diseases, such as obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure and more…’

This is a common selling point for most of the water purifier companies selling their state-of-the-art water purifiers that change the pH of drinking water, claiming to cure numerous diseases.

But the question is – What’s the pH of the water and how does it affect your health?

Here’s what you need to know.

What Exactly is pH?

pH, the short for potential of hydrogen, measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.

Based on a scale of 1 to 14, 7 is considered neutral. Anything lower than 7 is acidic whereas solutions with a pH higher than 7 are called basic.
For instance, orange juice has a pH of 3.3 making it acidic. On the flip side, baking soda is a base with 9 pH.

What is the pH of Drinking Water?

Pure water is neutral with pH 7. Here, pure water refers to distilled water and distilled water is not for drinking purposes.

Usually, water from springs and artesian wells is naturally alkaline due to the presence of dissolved minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and bicarbonates.

Also, the filtration process called reverse osmosis oxidizes water, changing its pH to around  6.5.

Therefore, the pH of drinking water generally lies between 6.1 to 8.5.

Now that we know the number you want to shoot for most of the time, but water is usually not a perfect 7. It’s slightly acidic or basic. Don’t have a kit to test the ph of water? No worries, we got you covered with our article on how to test ph of water without a kit. Let’s find out the consequences of having acidic or basic water.

Acidic Water and Its Effects

Any water with a pH level below 7 is considered acidic.

The main culprits of acidic water are rainwater mixed with acids in the atmosphere, acidic mine drainage, and spillage, and chemical dumps in primary sources.

The sediments present in the soil and sedimentary rocks act as natural filters making deep underground water pure and drinkable.

The said type of water isn’t exactly potable for the following reasons.

  • Metals and minerals present in acidic water can include iron, copper, manganese, and zinc. Therefore, drinking acidic water may expose you to the risk of illness and acid poisoning.
  • Since the human mouth is filled with acids that break down bacteria, the acidic water might increase the potentiality of those acids and corrode the teeth.
  • Consumption of acidic water affects young children and hampers their growth and development.
  • The body’s ability to absorb calcium from acidic water is significantly low compared to that of basic water. This leads to more rapid bone loss over long periods of time.
  • The metallic residue found in acidic water can cause gastrointestinal illnesses.

Having said that, acidic water has some health benefits as well.

  • The acidic water is a better choice for washing hands for its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities.
  • Acidic water also promotes the healthy growth of plants.
  • Acidic water works wonders, killing most of the pathogens and pesticides while washing fruits and vegetables.
  • The natural astringent properties in acid water make it ideal for washing your face, relieving itchiness and dryness caused by skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and athlete’s foot.

Alkaline Water and Its Effects

Alkaline water, also known as basic water has a pH of above 7.

Alkaline water usually contains alkaline minerals and negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP). ORP is the ability of water to act as a pro- or antioxidant. The more negative the ORP value, the more anti-oxidizing it is.

Confused?

Alkaline ionized water is an anti-oxidizing agent, as it has a negative ORP value and it is able to donate extra electrons to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals in the body.  Most other types of water including acidic water are oxidizing agents as their ORP is positive.

Alkaline water is used for drinking purposes because of the presence of electrolytes.

A study by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition has found that electrolyzed alkaline water had a significant impact on blood viscosity, a marker of hydration over standard purified water.

However, the study doesn’t clarify whether the health benefits are because of the electrodes present or the alkalinity due to the minerals and the minerals it contained.
Some of the proposed health benefits of alkaline water are:

  • Alkaline water contains anti-aging properties.
  • The water with higher pH posses colon-cleansing properties.
  • Alkaline water resists cancer as cancer cells grow in an acidic environment.
  • The alkaline water has hydration, skin health, and other detoxifying properties.
  • It also provides immune system support and helps reduce weight.

However, there are a few studies that suggest alkaline water might be helpful for all of these conditions and some doctors and researchers say these claims aren’t backed by enough research.

Additionally, an excess of alkaline water might alter the body’s natural pH leading to alkalosis, a condition marked by the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Twitching muscles
  • Tingling in the extremities of face
  • Confusion

Natural or Artificial?

Now that we know alkaline water is the one to drink, should you go for natural or artificial alkaline water?

Natural water passes over rocks and other mineral deposits and mixes up with those minerals which increase the alkalinity of the water.

Drinking natural alkaline water is generally considered safe as it contains natural minerals.

However, most people who drink alkaline water buy it from the manufacturers that use electrolysis to increase the pH level.

The ionizers use electricity to separate molecules in the water that are acidic or basic and the acidic water is filtered out leaving basic water which is then packed in bottles for your use.

If water is properly filtered to remove contaminants, ionized and re-mineralized, or purchased from a quality source, there’s no evidence to suggest a limitation on how much alkaline water can be consumed daily.

Keep in mind that drinking too basic water for a long period may leave you deficient in minerals.

Our Verdict

The pH of water can indirectly affect your health.

If your water is too acidic or too basic — meaning it’s been contaminated with caustic cleaners or acids — your natural body pH can be thrown off, which could make you very sick, damage certain tissues, or even kill you.

Too acidic water or too basic water puts you at risk of chronic health conditions like cancer, stroke, liver diseases or nervous system problems. They are especially bad for children as their body absorbs these contaminants more quickly.

How to Treat Water?

For acidic water, we recommend using acid neutralizing filters.

For basic water, a water softening system will work.

Conclusion

The daily water recommendation for most people is 64 ounces. Keep yourself hydrated and always look for signs of dehydration. Also, make sure that the water you drink is pure and not too acidic or basic.

Additionally, when it comes to hydration, our best advice is to omit excessive fruit juices, soda or other acidic beverages and replace it with water. The water with pH 6-8 will do the trick!

Stay Hydrated!