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Water... or Alkaline Water. That is the question.

Changing things up this week. My Anatomy class had an interesting topic on Alkaline water. This is what I found.

3) A client tells you they have been drinking alkaline water for the last few years. They say, "cancer can only grow in an acidic environment, so I'm ensuring my pH is higher". Do you think this is true, support your answer with peer reviewed research. What are the potential problems that can arise from drinking alkaline water long term?

My client has done some research. Or maybe their doctor has suggested this to them. Regardless, I found some research that shows that drinking alkaline water does have benefits.

“This article reviews supporting evidence in the literature that has shown that consumption of abundant alkaline-forming foods can result in improvement in bone mineral density (BMD) and muscle mass, protection from chronic illnesses, reduced tumor-cell invasion and metastasis, and effective excretion of toxins from the body. In addition, a large number of studies showing the benefits of alkaline water (mineral water) have revealed that people consuming water with a high level of total dissolved solids (TDS) (ie, with a high mineral content) have shown a lower incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer and lower total mortality rates. Consumption of alkaline water also may prevent osteoporosis and protect pancreatic beta cells with its antioxidant effects.” (Mousa, 2016).

“consumption of mineral water has increased prominently in the developed world.36 Usually, the consumption of water with a high mineral component produces alkaline by-products in the blood. Concentrations of TDS from natural sources have been found to vary from fewer than 30 mg/L (TDS, 30) to as many as 6000 mg/L (TDS, 6000), depending on the solubility of minerals in different geological regions.37 According to WHO criteria, the optimum pH of drinking water is often in the range of 6.5 to 9.5. The principal constituents of TDS are usually cations— calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium; and anions— carbonate, hydrogencarbonate, chloride, sulfate, and nitrate.38 Natural mineral water differs from other bottled waters by its specific geological underground origin; it has a stable composition of minerals and original purity.39 Natural mineral water must be bottled at the source to avoid any alteration in its chemical properties. Alkalinizing mineral waters can influence the acid-base equilibrium of the body by which even small changes in pH can have significant effects on cellular function.40 In previous studies, higher TDS concentrations in drinking water were associated with a lower incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD),41 arteriosclerotic heart disease,42 cardiovascular disease (CVD),43,44 and cancer.45 Lower total-mortality rates have been reported with higher TDS levels in drinking water.44,46” (Mousa, 2016).

“In a study that included 30 female dieticians aged 26.3 years (SD, 7.3), it was also revealed that alkaline mineral water can significantly reduce bone resorption, whereas acid rich calcium water had no effect on bone resorption.62 Wynn et al63 concluded that the best waters for bone health are rich in both HCO3 - and Ca, and low in SO4 . Supplementation with electrolyzed, reduced water (ie, alkaline ionized water) might provide an antioxidant defense mechanism in pancreatic beta cells, a finding that was revealed in mice that were experimentally induced with diabetes64 and that showed an improved blood-glucose control. That result could have occurred due to enhanced insulin sensitivity as well as increased insulin release. Those results suggest that electrolyzed, reduced water may function as an orally effective, antidiabetic agent…..

…..Supporting evidence exists that an alkaline diet and alkaline water with sufficient protein intake can support bone mineralization, whereas consumption of excess fruits, vegetables, and alkaline water has shown a significant promotion of health, especially for people at an older age (Figure 1, Table 2). With advanced age and reduced renal capacity, the tendency for people to suffer from low-grade acidosis increases, which might explain the rapid, overall health deterioration that comes with greater age. With metabolic acidosis, the body’s ability to excrete toxins also declines. To overcome those defects, it is recommended that people consume foods that are higher in alkaline substances and alkaline water as well as avoid an acidic diet and acidic water (ie, water low in minerals) as they grow older…..

…..People in some countries have been collecting rainwater for drinking purposes, and, thereafter, the rainwater is stored in containers that are not tightly closed, which tends to cause it to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. That procedure results in a gradual lowering of the pH due to the formation of a weak carbonic acid. Through that process, the water can get as low as 5.5 on the pH scale, with no minerals, which could have harmful health effects. Through the natural water cycle after rain, water has to be mixed with soil to obtain essential minerals. It is recommended that people drink water from mineral-rich alkaline springs or rivers and avoid RO water. RO water contains an insufficient amount of essential minerals. Water containing high levels of calcium and magnesium is associated with a lower incidence of urinary-tract stone formation.” (Mousa, 2016).

This research seems to support my client showing that alkaline water can indeed have the benefits my client wants.

However, other research says something different.

“Despite the promotion of the alkaline diet and alkaline water by the media and salespeople, there is almost no actual research to either support or disprove them. A systematic review of the literature revealed a lack of evidence of an association between a diet acid load or alkaline water for cancer risk and no studies alkaline treatment for cancer. Promotion of alkaline diet and alkaline water to the public for cancer prevention or treatment is not justified.” (Fenton, & Huang, 2016.)

Maybe there are benefits with alkaline water. Will it help my client with their worry about cancer? Possibly. I would want to test their pH levels to be sure they were at a healthy level. Now if my client said she was drinking distilled water, that would certainly worry me!


Mousa, H. A.-L. (2016). Health Effects of Alkaline Diet and Water, Reduction of Digestive-tract Bacterial Load, and Earthing. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 22, 24–33.

Fenton, T. R., & Huang, T. (2016). Systematic review of the association between dietary acid load, alkaline water and cancer. BMJ Open, 6(6), e010438.

Thank you for reading.

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