What is the best pH for daily water consumption?


pH is the ‘potential of Hydrogen.’ pH determines the acidity or basicity of a solution, i.e., the hydrogen ion concentration. The standard pH of water is 6.5 to 8.5. It indicates whether water is soft or hard. The pH of the groundwater system varies from 6 to 8.5. The pH alteration of water can be natural or induced. The trend of alkaline water continues all around the world. Is the alkaline water best for daily consumption?

What is TDS?

TDS is ‘total dissolved salts.’ The United States EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) considers TDS as a second standard to test the quality of water. Water with low TDS is deemed excellent, whereas water with low TDS has effects. However, low TDS water tastes flat and is undesirable.

How can you test the pH of water?

The pH of water at home can be tested using 

  • pH meter: pH meter is available in the market. When it is dipped into a solution, the pH is determined digitally on the display of the meter.
  • Litmus papers: Litmus papers only indicate whether it is acidic or basic but cannot determine the strength. It is usually available in the market as a blue strip and a red strip. The red consists of acid and on reaction with base(test solution) change its color to blue. The blue one consists of a base and on reaction with acid(test solution) turns red.
  • pH test color reagent: A pH test color reagent also determines the pH of a solution. The color of the solution changes indicating the pH. It can range from green(acidic) to purple(alkaline). The color determines the pH of the solution on the chart.

What happens if pH is less than 6.5?

If the pH is less than 6.5, it means the water is more acidic and softer. Acidic water has adverse effects on our body systems. Water is acidic when the hydrogen ion concentration is more.

Adverse effects

  • Heavy Metal exposure: The acidic water comprises heavy metals like Iron, Copper, and Zinc. These metals cause corrosion in the water piping systems leading to poisoning and other illnesses. The water tastes more metallic.
  • Teeth damage: Mouth consists of numerous microbes. These microbes produce acid as a part of their metabolism. Acidic water increases the acidity causing pores in teeth, i.e., cavities. It also makes the food we eat more bitter.
  • Calcium assimilation: Our bones need Calcium for their activities. Our body is not capable of absorbing Calcium from acidic water, leading to bone weakness.
  • More harmful for children: The absorbing ability for a child is more for growth. The child’s system absorbs the essential nutrients along with contaminants like metals making it more harmful.
  • Intestinal problems: Exposure to heavy metals can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach upset. 

Beneficial effects

Though drinking acidic water is harmful, its local application can have positive results. The acidity makes the water suitable for face wash. It also helps get rid of dryness, itching, and other skin problems. It helps remove dandruff. Any pH of less than 3 makes it perfect for cleaning vegetables and fruits, killing pathogenic organisms.

What happens if pH is more than 8.5?

If the pH is more than 8.5, it makes the water alkaline. The alkalinity is due to the presence of minerals. One can increase the alkalinity using baking soda, lemon juice, water ionizer, and water filtration systems.

Adverse effects

  • Damage to teeth: In a study, alkaline water indicated damage to teeth by dissolving the organic content. The action of alkalinity is not clear yet, but it is different than acidic water. It further makes the teeth vulnerable.
  • Alkalosis: Intake of more alkaline water can result in alkalosis. It is a condition of high concentrations of bicarbonate in blood and a considerable decrease in acid contents.
  • Growth: Alkaline water reduces weight and delays growth and development as per the experimental studies in rats. 
  • pH interruptions: More pH supply to the body neutralizes the natural pH in the stomach. As a result, the digestion disrupts to a small extent.

Benefits

  • Alkaline water reduces the viscosity by a considerable percent resulting in better and smoother blood flow throughout the body. It also reduces cardiovascular strain. 
  • Cancer: There are claims around the Internet stating Alkaline water can prevent the risk of cancer, especially urinary bladder cancer. The allegations are not proved yet. However, an alkaline diet enhances the activity of certain chemotherapy drugs (alkaline water is not alone responsible). 
  • Acid reflux: The enzyme pepsin is responsible for increasing the acidity. High pH water washes out pepsin, reducing the risk for acid reflux. The result is based on an in-vitro experiment on mice, concluding no proven positive effect in human systems. 
  • Increases bone strength: The high mineral content of Alkaline water increases bone strength and decreases its need for bone resorption. Bicarbonate and Calcium-rich alkaline water is more beneficial than Calcium-rich acidic water. However, there is no concrete evidence to prove Alkaline water decreases the risk of osteoporosis. 

Moreover, the Anti-aging claim is also based on in-vitro mice experiments. Besides, there is no concrete proof that Alkaline water promotes weight loss. 

However, the water that is naturally alkaline by picking up minerals near the rocks, streams, and rivers is helpful. The packaged alkaline drinking water is processed with chemical treatment using an ionizer. This process contaminates the water further, increasing its negative effects.

What is best for everyday consumption-Alkaline or acidic?

The best water you could prioritize is neutral and well-balanced water. By the end of the day, it is essential to notice that any water you drink, keeps you hydrated and gives you the energy to get through the day. The human body is well-designed to balance things. Let’s not disturb the balance by the influence of marketing hype on alkaline water. 

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