What does ‘alkaline’ mean, anyway?

An unfiltered look at alkalinity.

Posted on: September 20, 2018

Alkalinity is a hot topic in the wellness community. And while some health experts, fitness gurus, and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Elle Macpherson credit going alkaline for looking and feeling their best, many of us are still murky about what alkaline really means.

So what exactly is alkalinity? And why is it so important for your health? Here, we break down alkalinity to give you an unfiltered look at all its possible benefits.

What’s a pH?

Here’s a quick science lesson. The pH level measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is on a scale of 0 to 14. For example, something with a pH of 1 would be very acidic, and something with a pH of 13 would be very alkaline. Flow alkaline spring water (pH 8.1) has a higher pH level than tap water, which typically has a neutral pH of 7. Alkalinity helps buffer acidity and may even lead to better health and fitness. More on that later…

What makes Flow alkaline?

Flow alkaline spring water is naturally alkaline, which means it has a high pH level at its source. That’s because Flow is filtered through a limestone-encased aquifer, which enhances the water with its unique mineral content. These essential minerals, like Magnesium, Potassium and Bicarbonate, change the water’s pH level, making it naturally alkaline, while giving Flow electrolytes and a soft, smooth taste.

Soothe acid reflux and heartburn.

Since alkaline water has a higher pH (and lower acidity) than other waters, including tap water, it may help neutralize stomach acid and relieve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, a.k.a, heartburn. A study in the July 2012 issue ofAnnals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology suggested that “the consumption of alkaline water may have therapeutic benefits for patients with reflux disease.”

Another study, which looked at sufferers of laryngopharyngeal reflux or LPR, found that consuming a healthy diet and alkaline water was just as effective as anti-reflux medication. “If you take all patients with LPR and put them on a plant-based diet with alkaline water, the majority do get better,” said Dr. Craig Zalvan, medical director of the institute for voice and swallowing disorders at Phelps Hospital of Northwell Health in New York and the study’s lead author. “And they stop their drugs, which overall leads to much better health.”

What about fitness recovery?

Alkalinity neutralizes acid in the bloodstream, which leads to increased oxygen levels — and possibly improved energy and metabolism. One recent study of 100 people measured the difference in whole blood viscosity (the measurement of how blood flows through the vessels) after consuming high pH water compared to normal-pH water after a strenuous workout. The results? Those who consumed high pH water had a reduced viscosity of 6.3 percent compared to 3.36 percent with standard purified drinking water, which means blood flowed more efficiently with alkaline water. Basically (pH pun intended), increased blood flow means greater oxygen delivery throughout out the body, which is thought to help with fitness recovery.

Can help you get that glow.

We know that clear, beautiful skin comes from the inside out (we write all about this here). Science says that staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water is a sure-fire way to get that glow, but some experts suggest that if your pH level is out of whack or too acidic, it can lead to skin woes like dryness, rosacea and acne. Don’t worry about washing your face with Flow, though; you’ll have to drink up to reap the benefits. “Alkaline water is best saved for drinking for optimal health on the inside,” says nutritionist Keren Gilbert, MS., RD. “There’s no research to suggest that washing your hair or skin with alkaline water isn’t effective, but the best way to get the benefits of alkalinity in cells (be they hair, skin, or other organs) is to ingest it through high pH waters or other alkaline-rich foods.”

Might increase longevity.

A three-year study published in 2016 in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that mice who consumed alkaline water had a longer lifespan than their furry friends who drank water from the tap. Researchers concluded “alkaline water provides higher longevity in terms of ‘deceleration aging factor,’ as it increases the survival functions.” While more research needs to be done on the subject — it has yet to be studied on humans, for example — it’s nonetheless compelling evidence that drinking alkaline water could have powerful effects on longevity.

A body in balance.

Maybe it helps to look at the bigger picture. After all, water is the single-most important nutrient that you put in your body every day — and you’ll consume more than 30,000 gallons of it in your lifetime. To keep your body performing at its best, choose high-quality, naturally alkaline water that promotes optimal hydration and a balanced pH. Know the effects that alkalinity can have, listen to your body and strive to drink more alkaline water each day.