If you go into any section of a grocery or other type of health food store that carries water, you are almost guaranteed to come across water for sale that has a high pH.
That’s because more and more people are seeking out the benefits that many say come from drinking alkaline water.
One of those is its ability to help control the uncomfortable impact of having acid reflux.
Does alkaline water really help with this? It makes sense because it’s proven that by adding alkaline leaning substances to acid, it makes that acid more neutral.
It certainly is a topic worth discussing further if you suffer from acid reflux and that’s exactly what I am about to do.
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What is Acid Reflux?
Your stomach is a complex body organ that is needed to break down the foods that you eat so your body can use them as an energy source. It does this by utilizing stomach acid and enzymes (called pepsins).
When your stomach builds up too much acid and enzymes it can cause them to impact your esophagus in a negative way. Mainly this causes a condition known as acid reflux.
Acid reflux symptoms include:
- A burning sensation that’s normally felt in the chest and throat
- The appearance of a sour taste in your mouth
- Feeling like food is stuck in the back of your throat
The most severe cases include several reflux symptoms and can even lead to acid reflux disease.
It’s estimated that 20% of Americans feel the negative effects of acid reflux at least once a week and over 22 million people experience daily bouts of it.
You should also be aware that heartburn and acid reflux are not one in the same.
That’s because heartburn is a side effect from having acid reflux that results when acidic gastric juices flow out of the stomach and into the esophagus and irritate it.
What is Alkaline Water?
All liquids can have a test done on them, including water, that gives them a pH rating. Once a pH test has been performed on water it will give a reading that will fall somewhere on the pH scales shown below.
As you can see on that scale, water that has a low pH is said to be acidic and water that has a high pH reading is said to be alkaline (also known as basic).
Of course, nobody wants to ingest water into their body that falls toward the extreme ends of the pH scale. That would severely harm you or may even kill you.
Think muriatic acid (pH of 1 or 2) that is used for cleaning and other purposes and ammonia (pH of 11), another common household cleaner.
But what if a substance such as water that tests to be only slightly alkaline, can it be good for you.
That’s the assumption of proponents of drinking alkaline water. Alkaline water falls in the 7.5 to 10 pH range and is generally considered to be safe to drink at that alkalinity level.
Alkaline water is also called ionized water because of the minerals and salts that are added to it to increase its alkalinity level.
Can Alkaline Water Help Acid Reflux?
I can write all day about people that claim their acid reflux condition has improved or gone away because they drink alkaline water regularly. But there is a possibility this may be due to other factors too.
Maybe they also stopped eating foods that typically lead to acid reflux, took antacid tablets, or even used a stronger medicine that blocks the production of pepsin in their stomachs.
All of which can also explain an improvement in their acid reflux condition.
But what about hard evidence that drinking alkaline water does help with acid reflux and heartburn? There actually is one study out there done in 2012 that suggests the claim that drinking alkaline water to lessen your acid reflux has merit.
This study was conducted by a group of researchers who filed the results with the National Library of Medicine.
The study noted that tap and bottled water usually do not impact pepsin because it remains stable in the body at pH levels that are as high 7.4. Most bottled and tap water has a pH range of 6.7 to 7.4.
So, the researchers wanted to introduce water with a higher alkalinity level (pH of 8.8) into the equation to see if it affected the stability of pepsin in the stomach.
The study concluded, “Unlike conventional drinking water, pH 8.8 alkaline water instantly denatures pepsin, rendering it permanently inactive. In addition, it has good acid-buffering capacity. Thus, the consumption of alkaline water may have therapeutic benefits for patients with reflux disease.”
Based on how alkaline substances (think Tums, Rolaids, and others) have been successfully used for years to help control excess stomach acid and acid reflux, the consensus is that drinking alkaline water should have a similar effect.
Where To Get Alkaline Water
As the popularity of drinking alkaline water increases, so do the number of places where you can purchase it. Here are the most popular of those and some will probably even surprise you.
- Online (many choices available)
- At a health food store
- At the supermarket
- At a specialty water store (yes, they exist)
- At a liquor store (seems unusual but it’s true)
You can also better and more easily control the alkalinity level of the water that you drink by purchasing and using a high quality water ionizer.
These are highly automated and compact devices that can quickly produce water at a set pH level.
Some Final Thoughts on Drinking Alkaline Water to Help with Acid Reflux
I will start by saying that whenever you consume something that’s intended to help treat an unhealthy condition in your body, you should first consult with your doctor before doing so.
It’s just a good idea to help keep you safe and based on the study that we pointed out above and the millions of people that consume alkaline water safely, I don’t think you will find too many health professionals opposed to it.
Once your doctor gives you the ok, I also see no reason why you would not want to at least give drinking alkaline water a try to improve or eliminate an acid reflux condition in your body.
If you try it and it does not help, then you can simply stop drinking it so there is little risk to that. It may even give you some of the other benefits that some say you might get from regularly drinking alkaline water.
You should also consider making some lifestyle changes to help control your acid reflux condition. Once again, your doctor can help you with some suggestions here.