For the health conscious or the health curious, alkaline bottled water is considered by many wellness experts to be superior to regular bottled water. It carries a higher pH, meaning it's less acidic -- and more alkaline -- than regular water. With a pH of 7.5 or higher, alkaline water is thought to provide a plethora of health benefits, partly due to its mineral content. Though scientific studies haven't concluded whether or not alkaline water is better for you, it certainly doesn't hurt and can taste sweeter and more refreshing than regular water.
Here's a short shopping guide to this latest health trend and products, including the best options for your budget and lifestyle. Our top pick, which is by Qure, boasts a pH of 9+, one of the highest levels we've found in bottled alkaline water.
What is alkaline water?
The pH of a substance, such as a food or a liquid, is determined by its concentration of hydrogen ions. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with the lower end of the spectrum being more acidic and levels higher than 7 considered alkaline. Purified water has a neutral pH of 7, and alkaline water raises this level with added natural minerals, such as silica, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Some of these "alkalizing compounds" also double as electrolytes.
Benefits of alkaline bottled water
Proponents of drinking alkaline water believe that high acidity in the body, which can be caused by diet, adversely affects the body, such as slowing down the metabolism, lowering oxygen levels, and decreasing energy. Some advocates even claim high acidity in the bloodstream can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer.
Here's a list of potential benefits of drinking alkaline water, though none have been scientifically proven:
Reduce acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD symptoms
Help bone health
Decrease muscle fatigue
Considerations when choosing alkaline bottled water
pH: Depending on the manufacturer, bottled alkaline water can vary in pH levels anywhere from 7.5 to 9.5. The higher the number, the more alkaline the water.
Source: Water can be naturally alkaline, like from a mountain spring or volcanic water, and some brands bottle from those natural sources. Other brands ionize municipal water to increase its pH. Most consumers can't taste the difference in sources.
Packaging: Alkaline bottled water typically comes in plastic bottles, typically 16- or 32-ounce sizes. Opt for BPA-free bottles if you're concerned about this potentially harmful chemical leaching into your water.
Alkaline bottled water prices
Alkaline bottled water can be purchased individually in stores or in more economical packs of six, 12, or 24 in store or with online retailers. Expect to pay between $15 to $45 a pack.
Q. Are there any adverse health effects to drinking alkaline water?
A. If you suffer from kidney issues, the minerals in alkaline water could interfere with your health problem. Check with your doctor before consuming. Also, your body is supposed to be in a 60/40 alkaline-to-acid balance. Overconsuming alkaline water potentially can throw off this ratio and lead to a serious condition called alkalosis that causes tremors, vomiting, confusion, and nausea.
Q. Can alkaline water help with acid-related conditions such as heartburn?
A. Though this hasn't been proven, many consumers find it to be true. Drinking more alkaline water can soothe and calm digestive issues related to acidity. Even if you don't have these conditions, many users like making coffee with bottled alkaline water to give their cup of joe a more balanced, less acidic taste.
Alkaline bottled water we recommend
Best of the best: Qure/16.9-Ounce Pack of 24
Our take: Highest pH levels around for bottled alkaline water.
What we like: 9+ pH levels. Packed with beneficial potassium and magnesium. Almost sweet flavor profile. Favorite of chemo patients.
What we dislike: Contains oyster shell extracts that are allergens for some consumers.
Best bang for your buck: AQUAhydrate/33.8-Ounce Pack of 12
Our take: Extra electrolytes for ultimate hydration post-workout.
What we like: Packed with minerals and electrolytes to replenish your body after strenuous exercise. Big bottle size is made from BPA-free, sturdy plastic.
What we dislike: pH can be variable, and even as low as tap water.
Choice 3: Essentia Water/1-Liter Pack of 12
Our take: From a brand synonymous with alkaline water, you can't go wrong with this smooth-tasting water.
What we like: Great for rehydration after workouts. Clears up digestive issues and even acne for some users. Taste rivals spring water.
What we dislike: On the expensive side.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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