Water is an essential nutrient for life, and hydration plays a critical role in human physical performance as well as in the prevention of chronic diseases. Of late we have been hearing a lot about alkaline water and the various health and immunity boosting benefits it is supposed to offer, especially with the current COVID-19 crisis going on.
By its very definition, alkaline water neutralises acid levels in the body. An acidic body may cause chronic illnesses, even cancers, and early aging etc. According to a study published recently, alkaline water (pH level of about 8.8) may help soothe acid reflux because the higher pH level kills pepsin, an enzyme involved in breaking down food proteins and a main cause of acid reflux. In fact, acid wastes collected in the body can lead to more serious health conditions than just acid reflux.
Even our ancient medicine system of Ayurveda says that a body is healthy if the 3 ‘doshas’ i.e. Vata, Kapha and Pitta are in balance. ‘Pitta’ dosha, which controls the body’s metabolic systems increases with acidity thereby causing an imbalance among the doshas. If not controlled, this imbalance may lead to serious health problems in the long run.
Recent medical studies have also revealed that consumption of alkaline foods can improve bone mineral density (BMD) and muscle mass, protect from chronic illnesses as well as infections, reduce tumor-cell invasion (cancer) and metastasis, and effectively excrete toxins from the body. Likewise, alkaline water also may help prevent osteoporosis and protect pancreatic cells with its antioxidant effects.
Additionally, an overall excess of alkalinity in the body may cause gastrointestinal issues and skin irritations. Too much alkalinity may also agitate the body’s normal pH, leading to metabolic alkalosis, that can also cause a decrease in free calcium in the body, which can affect bone health
Role of alkaline water in boosting immunity
Alkaline water provides greater hydration than regular water since it contains larger amounts of hydrogen. Ionization causes water to be formed into micro clusters that are more easily absorbed by cells thereby hydrating the body better than normal water.
Alkaline water also acts as an anti-oxidant and helps neutralize harmful free radicals. Ionized alkaline water seeks out free radicals and converts them into oxygen which the body can use for energy production and tissue oxygenation.
When ingested into the body, alkaline water is able to neutralise or reduce the acids present therein. The extra amount of acid present in the body weakens the immune system; these acidic compounds are usually toxic, and the body has to work hard to detoxify; this can lead to lethargy and overall weakness.
Alkaline water is more easily absorbed by body-cells andflushes out acidic waste from the body. Many degenerative diseases like gout, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure as well as heart diseaseare supposed to thrive in acidic environments, so a decline in acidic levels automatically reduces the possibility of falling prey to them.
Regularly drinking alkaline water can improve blood circulation. A recent study on about 100 people found that those who consumed high-pH water reduced blood viscosity or thickness by more than 6 per cent as compared to over 3 per cent with standard purified drinking water. This means blood flowed more efficiently with alkaline water. This allows better oxygen delivery across the body.
These factors, i.e., higher anti-oxidant levels, reducing acidic waste and better blood circulation aid in preparing the immune system to battle foreign pathogens and keep infections at bay.
All these studies and research that show that alkaline water boosts the body’s immunity and helps it fight illness perhaps reaffirm what a Slovakian proverb says – ‘Water is the world’s first and foremost medicine’!
Naveen Mathur, Chief Executive Officer, Maitri Aquatech, Hyderabad