With over 80 brands of bottled water to choose from in the United States, you may be wondering what’s the big difference between waters. Each manufacturer claims to offer something different. Some tout high mineral content, some brag about their filtration process, and yet others claim to offer water with perfect alkalinity or pH. We recently tested twenty different bottled waters and one of the tests with the most variability was for alkalinity.
What Is Alkalinity?
One of the most recent additions to specialty bottled waters is alkaline water. The alkalinity of a bottled water refers to its ability to neutralize acids. The alkalinity of a water source is impacted by the surrounding soil and bedrock. Manufacturers can also alter the alkalinity of water through ionization, special filtration systems, and treatment processes.
Alkalinity is actually a reference to the pH of the bottled water. The pH level indicates the acidity and alkalinity of the water. The scale for pH has a range from 0 to 14. Low pH readings indicate an acid, while 7 is neutral and higher numbers are considered to be alkaline.
Water naturally has a neutral pH of 7, but depending on the source or how a bottled water has been treated, the pH of can vary. Reverse osmosis is a treatment process that creates a more acidic bottled water. Some companies will add minerals back into the water to increase the pH. The goal for alkaline bottled water is to achieve a high pH. The alkalinity of a bottled water may indicate a high concentration of minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, silica, and bicarbonate. These all help to make water less acidic with a pH between 8 and 9.
What are the Benefits of Alkaline Water?
Some proponents claim that the higher the alkalinity of a bottled water, the more hydrating power it has. This may be helpful for people who exercise and sweat more and therefore need to rehydrate quickly. The science behind this claim is that the alkaline water molecules are smaller, making them easier for cells to absorb. Because of this, the body can absorb more water molecules in a shorter amount of time, improving rehydration.
Another claim is that alkalinity can boost your immunity. The immune system works to neutralize the acid levels in your body. These can be increased by stress, by poor diet, and certain toxins. By drinking bottled water that has increased alkalinity it can help the immune system combat the acid brought on by these stressors.
One of the most common benefits cited for drinking alkaline water is that is can help with heartburn. Foods and beverages that have high alkaline levels work to neutralize acidity in the body. It is possible that the alkalinity in bottled water can lower the acid levels in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract.
Side Effects of Alkaline Water
High levels of alkaline can alter the body’s pH which can cause stomach pain, confusion, and muscle tremors. People with kidney disease and other health issues may want to avoid alkaline water. Drinking too much alkaline water can interfere with the body’s ability to digest food and prevent food poisoning. It can lead to alkalosis which is a condition that causes vomiting, nausea, tremors, and confusion.
The Alkalinity of Bottled Water
In our recent test of twenty different bottled waters, one of the tests we completed measured the alkalinity of the water. We used the alkalinity test that is included in the Complete Water Testing Kit by TestAssured. The alkalinity test can be performed at home on a variety of waters without having to mix messy solutions or mail away samples.
The range of alkalinity for all twenty bottled waters that we tested went from zero to 240. We were surprised to find that there were actually eight brands of water that scored 0 ppm for alkalinity. The average alkalinity was 80 ppm. The most common alkalinity was 40 ppm, which was the level for four different brands. Here are the alkalinity scores, from highest to lowest:
|Brand||Alkalinity in PPM|
|The Mountain Valley||180|
Which Bottled Water Is the Best for Alkalinity?
The best advice when it comes to alkaline water is to drink it in moderation. You can experiment with making your own alkaline water by adding baking soda or lemon to change the pH.
If you prefer a bottled water with high alkalinity, Evian was the clear winner. Evian bottled water was 60 ppm higher than the next highest ranking bottled waters. And if you want a water with no alkalinity there are quite a few of the highly filter waters to choose from including, Dasani and Aquafina.