By Shauna Jones
Wondering what all the fuss is about? Research shows that drinking high-pH water may extend your life.
Water is an essential for life since it makes up 50 percent to 65 percent of the human body. It works in organs, tissues, and cells to help regulate temperature and maintain bodily functions such as eliminating waste and helping distribute vitamins, minerals, and glucose to nourish your cells.
How much water should you consume daily?
The standard recommended intake of water is eight to ten eight-ounce glasses per day, which is equivalent to 64 to 80 ounces a day. However, the Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume an average of 125 ounces and women approximately 91 ounces each day. That consumption can include water from foods such as vegetables, fruit, and soups.
Is drinking unfiltered tap water okay?
Most public water systems collect water from the surface and ground for public consumption. Kelowna has five municipal water providers that collect it and disinfect it with chlorine, which is intended to kill water-borne bacteria. This process is meant to make the water safe for drinking but it is not completely free of contaminants such as pesticide runoff, industrial waste, and chemicals in rain. The water treatment process itself can deliver contaminants from water main line breaks.
Groundwater can also be exposed to pathogens that may produce disease in humans. After treatment, the water is stored until distribution and can become contaminated with protozoa parasites like giardia or cryptosporidium that can cause severe gastrointestinal problems.
Chlorine can interact with organic materials such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, creating dangerous byproducts. Drinking contaminated water can cause acute and chronic health effects. Even the City of Kelowna advises that newborns and people with compromised immune systems drink boiled water even when water quality is good.
How is tap water filtered?
One of the most effective systems on the market for purifying tap water is reverse osmosis (RO). Some people have concerns that RO systems remove most of the natural minerals from the water, making its pH more acidic. In the Mission area of Kelowna our water source has been tested at around 150ppm total dissolved solids of minerals. If people want a healthier alternative, they may want to consider adding minerals back into the water.
What is alkaline water?
Alkalinity and acidity are both measurements on the pH scale of 1 to 14. Neutral is considered 7.0, and anything below that point is considered acidic. Alkaline water has a pH between 7.0 and 10.0. Another common name for alkaline water is ionized water. It is thought that spring water is the best source of alkaline water, with a pH of around 8.0 to 9.0. Alkaline water occurs naturally when water washes over rocks, so spring water rises in alkalinity as it collects alkaline minerals.
What are the health benefits of alkaline water?
Most people in North America consume diets of processed foods, dairy, sugar, and red meat that increase acidity levels in the body. The body’s mineral stores get robbed to balance out this excess acidity, making organs like the kidneys work harder.
Research shows that drinking high-pH water may extend your life. The Japanese city of Okinawa has one of the longest life expectancies in the world. Centenarians are people who live to be over 100 years old and Okinawa has more centenarians than anyplace in the world. The pH of the drinking water in Okinawa is 10 and is considered a key reason for the residents’ long lives.
Evidence also suggests a few other alkaline water benefits:
Drinking alkaline water can help the body detoxify harmful toxins and heavy metals such as mercury. These toxins, if left untreated, can cause chronic fatigue, low energy, bloating, mental confusion, inflammation, and food sensitivities, to name a few. In a 2003 study published in the journal Ambio, researchers found that alkaline water had a protective effect against mercury in 43 women who lived in an alkaline-rich area in Sweden.
Acid reflux will typically create a burning feeling in the lower chest, typically after a person has eaten. It is a condition where stomach acid flows into the esophagus. It is also commonly known as acid indigestion and heartburn. People are often diagnosed with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), where acid reflux is experienced at least twice a week. Research shows that alkaline water can be a beneficial therapeutic treatment for patients with acid reflux disease. In a 2012 laboratory study published in the journal The Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, researchers discovered that drinking alkaline water with a pH of 8.8 results in beneficial acid-buffering activity. Alkaline water also inactivates pepsin, an enzyme that plays a role in acid reflux.
Drinking alkaline water can also reduce certain risk factors associated with heart disease. In a study published in the Shanghai Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers found that alkaline water consumption for three to six months could significantly reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. It was concluded that alkaline ionized water could improve the symptoms associated with diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Heart disease and hypertension are risk factors for diabetes. In a 2004 study published in the journal BMC Public Health, researchers suggested that alkalized mineral water could lower blood pressure in people with low calcium and magnesium levels.
Drinking alkaline water can help hydrate your body, improve mental clarity, and boost your overall immune system.
Alkalize your own water!
You can easily make alkaline water yourself. First, check your current filtered water pH level with a pH test paper kit which can be found at most health food stores. If your water is below 7.0, your water is currently acidic. One method to alkalize your water is to mix one-eighth of a tablespoon of aluminum-free baking soda with an eight-ounce glass of water, since baking soda is highly alkaline. A healthier option would be to add a blend of alkaline mineral drops to your filtered water. You can also purchase PHwatr or Santevia alkaline water sticks that can be added to your water bottle to alkalize your water on the go. There are also machines on the market called alkaline ionizers that alkalize the water during electrolysis, a process that separates water into more acidic or alkaline molecules.
Buy alkaline water.
Abaco Health in the Lower Mission now offers a water service with three choices:
- Reverse osmosis water goes though a water softener, sediment filter, carbon filter, reverse osmosis filter, and then a final polish with ultra-violet light, which disrupts the DNA of any micro-organisms. The result is the purest water with a pH of around 7.5. This water is available at one of their outdoor machines.
- They use the same filtered reverse osmosis water and run it through a bed of alkalizing minerals (calcium and magnesium) which raises the pH to between 8.5 and 9.0. This water is available on another of Abaco’s outdoor machines.
- Inside the store during business hours, Abaco Health also has a new machine from Water Canada of Kelowna, which takes the reverse osmosis water, adds alkalizing minerals, and additionally ionizes the water to produce an even higher pH of 10.0. This new machine can also wash the inside of water bottles and lids with ozonated water and is free to Abaco Health customers.
Give your body the well-deserved break it needs and drink healthy water!
Shauna Jones has studied and worked in the health industry for the past 14 years and is co-owner of Abaco Health food store in Kelowna. Abaco Health carries an extensive range of quality vitamins, supplements, sports nutrition, and natural remedies, as well as natural beauty products. Abaco Health’s knowledgeable staff offer exceptional customer service guiding people into health through nutrition and detoxification, using foods and supplements as natural medicines. Visit www.abacohealth.com.
*Reprint from our Winter 2017 Issue