What is alkaline water?
Alkaline water is characterized by a pH level that exceeds that of regular water. Typically, ordinary drinking water maintains a pH of 7, whereas alkaline water tends to possess a slightly elevated pH range of 8 or 9.
Benefits of Alkaline Water with Added Minerals
Bottled water commonly available for sale is typically alkaline water that contains additional minerals. The alkaline properties of the water help maintain a healthy pH balance by counteracting acidity within the body. Alongside alkalinity, the water also contains essential minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and salt. These minerals play vital roles in various bodily functions, including blood pressure regulation, the promotion of strong bones and muscles, aiding digestion, reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer, and maintaining proper blood pressure levels.
Decoding the Effectiveness of Alkaline Water
The efficacy of alkaline water is a subject of debate, with proponents and sceptics offering differing perspectives. To uncover the truth, let's explore the scientific evidence behind its claimed benefits.
Alkaline water has been linked to many promising health advantages, including:
- Improves hydration
- Neutralise acid
- Promote digestion
- Anti-ageing properties
- Enhanced energy and metabolism
- Support immune system
- Detoxifying properties
- Promote bone health
However, most medical experts emphasize the need for further research to accurately determine the true health benefits and potential risks associated with alkaline water.
Having extolled the virtues of alkaline water over our past few articles, let’s go deeper into the chemistry behind the synthesis of alkaline water. Just what is alkaline water in scientific terms and what chemical reactions produce it? That depends on the type of alkaline water at hand.
Alkaline and Acidic
To understand how alkaline water is produced, let’s have a look at the scientific understanding of the alkaline and acidic descriptors. The alkalinity or acidity of a substance is measured based on its pH on a scale from 0 to 14, which itself measures the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxyl ions (OH-).
This pH scale shows where common substances rank based on their acidity or alkalinity. (Image © WikiCommons)
At a neutral pH of 7, the concentrations of both ions are equal. Below a pH of 7, the concentration of H+ is higher and the substance is acidic. Above a pH of 7, the concentration of OH- is higher and the substance is alkaline. Alkaline water typically has a pH of between 8 and 9.
Distinguishing Natural and Synthetic Alkaline Water
Natural alkaline water is formed when water passes through alkalizing media such as rocks, picking up minerals and resulting in a higher pH. This process occurs in springs where the water naturally acquires its alkaline properties.
Conversely, synthetic alkaline water is produced using electrolysis and does not possess the same mineral composition as natural alkaline water.
Potential Effects of Alkaline Water
Alkaline water generally lacks significant negative impacts. However, excessive consumption can potentially lead to stomach discomfort, nausea, and digestive issues for some individuals. Moreover, elevated pH levels may result in skin irritation or dryness.
Types of Water Alkalisation Processes
There are two types of processes commonly used in consumer products like water dispensers.
Alkaline Water Filter
While this filter does physically remove particles over 5µm in size, its primary purpose is the treatment of water through a straightforward and reliable chemical reaction. The filter contains a reducing agent, commonly a finely-ground magnesium powder, that reacts with water to produce H+ ions. With a fixed water source and flow rate, the water produced is mildly alkaline with a fixed pH.
Despite having a name right out of a sci-fi movie, a water ioniser is simply a device that uses electrolysis to separate water into H+ and OH- ions. Electrolysis is a very common industrial process used in applications such as water purification, through which fresh water is produced from polluted water, or electroplating to produce chrome-plated accessories. While the exact process may differ between appliance models, producing alkaline water through electrolysis generally aims to leave you with water that has a higher concentration of OH- ions than the source water.
Is Alkaline Water Safe?
Alkaline water is generally considered safe for regular consumption as it does not pose significant health hazards.
Note: It is advisable to consult with a medical professional if you have an existing medical condition or are undergoing treatment before consuming alkaline water regularly.
What’s The Difference?
If these two processes were chairs, the alkaline water filter would be a sturdy and well-crafted oak chair, while the water ioniser would be a high-tech office chair with lumbar support and a dozen adjustable parts.
What the alkaline water filter lacks in sophistication, it makes up for in rugged reliability and ease of use. With no electronic components or complex moving parts, there are far fewer points of failure than in a water ioniser. And in the rare event that the filter malfunctions, a replacement is simple and economical. In contrast, a malfunction in a high-tech water ioniser would be nigh impossible for the average person to diagnose and fix, and could call for a potentially costly repair depending on your warranty’s terms and conditions.
The alkaline water filter is also more accessible, economically and technologically. Getting a dispenser with an alkaline water filter is far more affordable than one with a water ioniser, both in terms of upfront and running costs. Due to its sophisticated circuitry, a water ioniser costs a pretty sum to purchase and racks up utility bills any time its running. With its myriad settings, the water ioniser also has a learning curve that the busy or technologically disinclined consumer will not appreciate. In contrast, the alkaline water filter only incurs costs during replacements, and needs no training to use.
Alkaline water filters are also small and portable, allowing their implementation in portable jugs or bottles that you can bring on holidays or picnics for a constant supply of alkaline water. While the alkaline water filter appears to be the practical choice, the water ioniser should not be dismissed outright. Besides offering a variable pH level where the alkaline filter’s is fixed, the water ioniser does not need filter replacements. This means that as you scale up your water consumption – in a particularly big household, perhaps – the initially large investment in a water ioniser gradually pays for itself by doing away with the constant need for filter replacements. As technology advances, water ionisers will only become more affordable and may give alkaline water filters a run for their money someday.
Where to Get Alkaline Water?
If you're considering switching to alkaline water but are unsure of where to find it, buying it in plastic bottles from superstores may not be the ideal option. Consuming water that has been exposed to toxins from plastic bottles can be unsafe. Moreover, continuously purchasing plastic bottles can be costly. To ensure the best access to alkaline water, it is recommended to invest in a water dispenser equipped with alkaline water production technology.
At Hydroflux, we provide premium water dispensers designed to fulfil your daily alkaline water needs and keep you well-hydrated. Our advanced technology and sleek design make it a practical and convenient choice for both homes and workplaces.
Which Process Is Right For Me?
Thankfully, in some cases, the choice is already made for you. Portable alternatives for alkaline water most commonly employ an alkaline water filter thanks to its small size and independence of a power source. However, for home or office usage, you would most certainly have to do some personal cost-benefit analysis. Would the huge upfront cost of a water ioniser be offset by your savings in filter replacements? Can your household or office comfortably use a new digital interface for getting water? Do you need the additional functions of a water ioniser?