PH water health claims not supported by studies

PH water is a big seller right now with claims that it's better for you. 2News Mary Nickles looked into the science of that water to see if the health claims were true. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — People know they are supposed to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day to keep hydrated, but does it matter what kind of water you drink?

PH water is a big seller right now with claims that it's better for you. 2News' Mary Nickles looked into the science of that water to see if the health claims were true.

She learned that 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.

Stefanie Stevens is a breast cancer survivor who is dedicating to making healthy choices to reduce the risk of her cancer from coming back.

"Anything that would help. You know.. keep that cancer at bay is a real interest to me, and articles out there say it helps," Stevens said.

She read a sign at a grocery store that read:

Alkaline water can neutralize the acid in your bloodstream and help your body metabolize nutrients more effectively leading to better health and performance.

However, Dr. Katherin Beals said there is little to no research done on these waters, and the few studies that have been done were very poorly conducted.

She added that in two main studies, one didn't use a control group and the other was based on a petri dish experiment. She said those results leads her to believe there are really no significant benefits to drinking pH balanced water.

Beals said:

We have a number of different physiological systems in place in order to maintain body pH. So consuming something like a water that’s slightly more alkaline than regular water is likely going to have little to no effect on your total body pH.

What she said does make a positive difference in a person's health is eating a plant-based diet.

There are many studies that show a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lower in red meats does reduce disease risks. She continued:

It turns out that plant based diets tend to be more alkaline, so then they make the 'leap' to saying, well, it must be the alkaline diet that’s causing the health benefits when, in fact, it’s probably the multitude of things that are in fruits and vegetables and whole grains maybe in addition to the greater alkalinity but not the focus of alkalinity.

Additionally, she said drinking too much pH water can actually cause stomach problems and an unnecessary dent in your bank account with some water selling at $4.99 per bottle. She said:

Once they get into the stomach, the hydrochloric acid is going to drive the pH down any way so it's really a waste of money.

What was her advice to Stefanie and anyone trying to be smart about their health? Eat right - exercise and read labels.

As for pH water? "It's supposed to make you healthier but it's water. It's water," she said.

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