Everyone knows that drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Water helps to keep your body’s fluids balanced, which helps various bodily systems, such as digestion, absorption, and circulation. What many people don’t realize is that not all water is the same. You’ve probably heard of soft and hard water - you may even have a water filter that removes hard solids from your drinking water. However, most people are unaware of the importance of water’s pH level.
This article will outline all of the reasons why water’s pH is an important factor to consider and delve into the alkaline water phenomenon. We’ll also offer some suggestions of convenient, simple ways to alter your water’s pH level.
What is a PH level?
Let’s start with the scientific explanation of pH levels. PH refers to the measurement of acidity or basicity in water or in other liquid solutions. Pure water is neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline. Pure solutions are given a pH of 7. When a solution has a pH of less than 7, it is acidic. When the solution has a pH higher than 7, it is considered basic or alkaline.
Why do pH levels affect the quality of drinking water?
pH levels are not regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which provides guidelines for healthy drinking water. However, the organization does recommend that water suppliers aim to keep water between pH levels of 6.5 and 8.5.
pH levels outside of this range may be indicative of chemical or heavy metal pollution. Highly alkaline water is not necessarily unsafe, however it can have a strange smell and taste. With high acidic pH levels, water is likely contaminated by pollutants meaning it is likely unsafe to drink. Extreme pH levels in tap water can also be damaging to your home’s pipes.
Most municipal water suppliers perform pH tests on water to keep it relatively neutral.
What are the typical pH levels of different types of water?
Depending on the source of your water, it will likely have a slightly different pH level. Here are some examples of the various pH levels you will likely encounter.
- Tap water - 7.5
- Bottled water - 6.5 to 7.5
- Bottled waters labelled as alkaline - 8-9
- Ocean water - 8
- Acid rain - 5-5.5
What is alkaline water?
In recent years, basic or alkaline water has slowly grown in popularity as an alternative to neutral water with a pH level of 7. The recent trend is based upon the idea that alkaline pH’s can help your overall health by normalizing acidity in the body. Some believe that a higher pH can even prevent chronic diseases like cancer.
What are the health benefits of altering your water’s pH level?
Alkaline Water Benefits
While there is little evidence to suggest these claims are true, there have been recent medical studies that suggest other health benefits of drinking alkaline water. Studies suggest that alkaline water benefits include relief from acid reflux by deactivating pepsin and normalized blood sugar levels. For this reason, some professionals recommend alkaline water for diabetic patients.
If you are interested in creating your own alkaline water at home, try using alkaline drops. These colorless and odorless drops add essential minerals to your water. Try your local health store, or have a look online. Our favorite alkaline drops are:
- Liph pH Balancing Drops
- Alka Greens Drops
- Alkalife Alkaline Water pH Drops
- Alkazone pH Booster Drops
Mineral Water Benefits
Mineral water is sourced from natural underground springs and reservoirs. Usually, it has plenty of essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Because it’s a natural source of these minerals, many people believe it offers a range of health benefits.
Benefits may include:
- Improved bone health as a result of the calcium intake
- Lower blood pressure as a result of both calcium and magnesium
- Relief from constipation as a result of magnesium drawing water into the intestines
It’s important to note that mineral water is not outside of the safe pH range. In fact, in most cases the additional minerals do not alter the water’s neutral state. Most bottled mineral waters rest somewhere between 7.1 and 7.5 pH.
Is it ever safe to use acidic water?
While we’ve already established that drinking water is best when it rests somewhere between the pH levels of 6.5 and 8.5, you may wish to try drinking slightly more basic water for specific health complaints.
Acid water is usually chemically contaminated, however naturally sourced water with low pH levels of around 3.5 can be used for other purposes:
- Skin care: Some people swear by acidic water as a natural astringent that naturally removes dirt and oil from the skin. Others use naturally acidic water to relieve dry skin and treat acne.
- Remove bacteria: Many swear by acidic water for removing bacteria. This includes the bacteria on food, the bacteria in the mouth, or the bacteria on an open cut.
- Plant care: If your houseplants have any fungal problems, using slightly acidic water can help get rid of the problem. Cut plants also last longer in acidic water.
How do I test the pH level of my drinking water at home?
Most water suppliers are reliable for testing the municipality’s water supply for unusually high or low pH levels, so you should not have to worry about testing the levels of your water at home. However, if you notice rust or strange colors forming on your faucets or your pipes, this may be a sign of acidity in your water supply.
You will need a simple home test kit for at-home testing. These kits will include indicator paper which, when dipped in the water, will change color to indicate your water’s pH level. If your water happens to fall outside of the recommended range of 6.5-8.5, you won’t need to take further action to alter your water’s pH.
If your water appears to be outside of the safety range, get in touch with your local water supplier and enquire about the reason for this.
How do I change the pH level in my water?
If you are still concerned about the acidity of your water supply after contacting your local water supply company, there are ways you can increase your water’s pH at home.
Alkaline water tablets or drops are a simple and easy method that will rebalance overly acidic water. These drops usually contain essential minerals and will provide instructions of how many drops to add.
You can also try adding a simple slice of lemon to your water, as this will combine with the water and neutralize any acidity as your body digests.
Most tap water is already a safe pH level. Water suppliers check pH levels and treat the water so that it arrives at your home between 6.5-8.5 pH. If you are interested in trying alkaline water for its various health benefits, trying buying alkaline drops or adding some lemon to your water. You can also try using acidic water for a range of uses, including skin care and plant care. You can always test your water’s pH levels at home using an indicator strip.
In most cases, water pH levels aren't something you should be worrying about. Unless you are worried about drinking acidic water, slightly basic waters can actually have a few health benefits.