When we think about living a healthy life, we all know drinking water is essential. With so many healthy hydration options out there today, how do we know what is actually helping us? Here’s the low-down.
Let’s start with alkaline pH water. pH refers to the level of acidity and ranges from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (least acidic), with 7 being neutral. Most bottle and tap waters have a pH between 6.7 to 7.4.1 The alkaline water you see in stores usually has a pH of around 8.8. Studies have shown that alkaline water is more hydrating than regular water due to its effect on blood viscosity.2 Furthermore, drinking alkaline water irreversibly inactivates the digestive enzyme in our stomach called pepsin by lowering hydrochloric acid levels.3 Pepsin, although essential for digesting proteins, is also known as a contributing factor in acid reflux disease (i.e., GERD). Many foods in our daily diet are acidic; these include coffee, cheese and carbonated beverages. Research shows that consuming alkaline water away from meals may also be beneficial in helping to alleviate reflux disease.3
Are beverages like Gatorade, Pedialyte, Liquid IV and Nuun actually good for us?
The answer is yes and no. While out in the sun or being active, drinking fluids with electrolytes is crucial for maintaining our body’s balance. If we lack adequate fluid consumption, dehydration symptoms such as muscle cramps can begin. When looking for electrolytes to support hydration, opt for one that does not contain any food color additives and be aware of added B vitamins, caffeine and sugar. Try making a healthy electrolyte beverage at home with water, Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, a little lemon or grapefruit juice and a bit of local honey or agave.
What about getting our hydration through an IV (intravenous) or non-oral route?
IV fluids allow for a steady, controlled flow of electrolytes and fluids to the body without the recipient actually drinking any fluids. This type of hydration can be beneficial since the cells in our body require a constant flow of ions 24/7 – allowing for balance known as hemodynamics. IV therapy today is not only used in hospital settings but can also be part of a healthy, active lifestyle with 100 percent absorption of nutrients. It can also allow for quicker repletion of low nutrients such as B vitamins, electrolytes, vitamin C, amino acids and many more.
Prior to starting any new supplementation, please speak with a health care practitioner about safety and which is right for you.
Now that we know how to stay hydrated, it’s time to get out there and take on those summer days!
Dr. Rodriguez is a naturopathic doctor with Pure Health in Palm Springs and can be reached at (760) 322.2520. For more information, visit www.purehealthmedicine.com.
1) Wright KF. Is Your Drinking Water Acidic? A Comparison of the Varied pH of Popular Bottled Waters. J Dent Hyg. 2015 Jun;89 Suppl 2:6-12. PMID: 26338903;
3) Koufman JA, Johnston N. Potential benefits of pH 8.8 alkaline drinking water as an adjunct in the treatment of reflux disease. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2012 Jul;121(7):431-4. doi: 10.1177/000348941212100702. PMID: 22844861.