Beyonce, Tom Brady and Miranda Kerr all have one thing in common (besides celebrity and high incomes): alkaline water.
The music icon, football star and super model all swear by the bottled water.
They and the controversial doctors who back alkaline water claim that our diets are too acidic, causing inflammation that raises risks of disease and generally contributing to poorer health.
But there is no proven link between pH and inflammation – and even if there were, drinking alkaline water wouldn’t change your balance, scientists say.
An expert explains why it would take gallons to of basic water to move the needle on acidity and why trying to drink your anti-inflammatory is misguided.
Beyonce believes in special alkaline water’s health benefits, but experts say it sipping expensive bottles from brands like Essentia will do nothing for her blood pH
The various organs and systems of our bodies require several kinds of balances to function properly.
One of these is its pH, the relative measure of how acidic or alkaline (also termed ‘basic’).
A perfectly neutral environment has a pH of seven, exactly between very acidic, at zero,and very basic, at 14.
Not all parts of the body have the same optimal pH.
Our blood should be nearly neutral, and its pH can only fluctuate within a tight range of 7.35 and 7.45.
If pH moves out of this range, the blood starts to cannibalize nutrients we need for other purposes.
Most importantly, when the blood’s pH becomes overly-acidic, it isn’t because someone’s diet is imperfect but because carbon dioxide is building in the blood, and the conditioning is life-threatening.
‘Metabolic acidosis only occurs when people are extremely ill,’ says Dr Tanis Fenton, an epidemiologist and registered dietitian at the University of Calgary in Canada and Nutrition Research Lead for Alberta Health Services, told Daily Mail Online.
A 12- pack of one-liter bottles of Essentia alkaline water bottles goes for about $20
‘Only the sickest patients are unable to keep their blood pH in the normal range.’
She says you might see this condition, metabolic acidosis, in the intensive care unit, but infrequently outside of that dire setting.
These patients are struggling to breath and need oxygen in order to be able to rid their bloodstreams of carbon dioxide.
‘Otherwise, they will die. They need a ventilator. The solution is not alkaline water … it would not make any difference at all to get them onto a different diet or drinking alkaline water,’ explains Dr Fenton.
‘Our bodies maintain pH within a very narrow range, which is where our enzymes and organs function, and diets and beverages do not change that.
The pH measure that alkaline water buffs are referring to is measured in the urine.
Urine’s acidity or alkalinity can fluctuate far more wildly, between about 4.5 and 8, and diet can affect it, as a small cadre of studies has shown.
‘But that’s pretty simple work and it’s not very important,’ says Dr Fenton.
The most important function of urine pH is the diagnosis of kidney stones.
Tom Brady is infamous for his bizarre health regimens. He swears that his strict alkaline diet reduces inflammation, but experts say that the water he drinks, his blood pH and inflammation have little to do with one another
Kidney stones are composed of minerals that are not properly dissolved in the urine. Some deposits clump together more easily in acidic environments, while others are more likely to form in alkaline environments.
So changes to diet could be helpful, depending on which kind of kidney stones Brady, Beyonce or Kerr might theoretically have developed, but even so, Dr Fenton says that medication would work better and faster.
‘To change diet in order to change pH to prevent kidney stones would be a huge effort and medication would do it more simply, said Dr Fenton.
Besides being a hassle, changing to an alkaline water regimen or diet is, however, largely safe.
‘The only risk is to your pocket book,’ quips Dr Fenton.
A 12-pack of one-liter bottles of Essentia, the popular ‘ionized alkaline’ water, will set you back about $20.
Another such company, The Alkaline Water Company, made $12.7 million in revenue in 2017 – a 2,100 percent increases from its 2014 earnings, according to Equities.com.
‘It’s all marketing and promotion and the beverage industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US and across the world, and I’m not surprised that people use fads to make more sales, and, right now, they’re using this alkaline water concept to sell,’ says Dr Fenton.
So for investors, the hype might be real, but Dr Fenton has seen no evidence that Bey, Brady, Kerr, or anyone else is getting any anti-inflammatory effects from drinking alkaline water – nor that they should.
‘There’s no truth to [the claim that alkaline water reduces inflammation] at all,’ says Dr Fenton.
‘It’s really trendy right now to talk about inflammation, but it’s part of the healing process, so you don’t want to stop inflammation and I haven’t seen anything that associates [pH and inflammation] in any causal fashion.’