Can you drink too much alkaline water? All the conflicting information about alkaline water makes this question a very tricky one. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer or sufficient scientific evidence to provide a clear answer. This question is ambiguous and requires a multi-part answer.
I’ll tell you upfront that I’ve put in many hours and late nights researching alkaline water and its benefits. Along the way, I’ve noticed common misconceptions surrounding alkaline water and its benefits.
There are skeptics, opportunists, sincere people, misinformed people, health nuts, doctors, and a load of other people all clamoring to have their voices heard in the alkaline water debate.
I feel as though my objective, keen eye for observation makes me qualified to answer the question: Can you drink too much alkaline water?
Let’s start by addressing what happens if you drink too much of any type of water.
Water Intoxication (Hyponatremia)
Drinking too much of any water in a short period can lead to water intoxication or hyponatremia.
This is a perfect example of why too much of anything is not good. Remember, our bodies are made of about 60% water, and drinking too much water can be fatal. Crazy, right?
When a person drinks too much water too fast, the sodium level in his or her blood can drop too low. This leads to serious and sometimes fatal complications.
I remember back in 2007 when I first heard of this happening to someone. A woman in Sacramento died after taking part in a competition to see how much water she could drink without going to the bathroom.
The radio station named the contest “Hold Your Wee for a Wii.” That story shocked the nation because most people, including myself, had no clue that people could die from drinking too much water.
How does this relate to drinking too much alkaline water? Well, I thought this was the most important point to make first. You can drink too much of any type of water, not just alkaline water.
That completes the first part of the answer.
Can too much alkaline water cause alkalosis?
Alkalosis is a condition in which major bodily systems become too alkaline.
The highest pH bottled water is 10, however, home water ionizers can make water with a higher pH.
There are several types of alkalosis including respiratory, metabolic, hypochloremic, and hypokalemic.
Of those types, the most likely type to occur due to drinking alkaline water is metabolic, and even then, the chances are almost nonexistent.
Metabolic alkalosis occurs if you lose too much acid or consume too much base.
One of the bases that can cause alkalosis is bicarbonate, which is the exact reason why you shouldn’t try to alkalize your body by mixing baking soda with your drinking water.
Alkaline ionized water (from a water ionizer or bottled water company) may have a high pH, but it’s still just water, not a strong alkaline substance.
For this reason, our bodies do a great of neutralizing alkaline water. Alkaline water can only temporarily affect the pH in the human stomach. This is why it’s recommended to avoid drinking alkaline water while eating.
Alkalosis occurs due to excessive sweating or mineral loss. Hypokalemic alkalosis occurs when there’s a low level of potassium in the body.
Most alkaline water brands contain potassium since potassium is an alkaline mineral.
I think this is one of the more important points to consider.
Have you thought about what the EPA considers an ideal pH range for drinking water?
That means even the EPA is okay with alkaline water since water with a pH of 8.5 is alkaline water.
The Ideal pH Range for Alkaline Water
Here’s where the misconception I mentioned in the introduction comes into play.
People are being fed the belief that the higher the pH of the water the more health benefits. This is 100% untrue.
There’s no scientific research showing that water with a pH of 10 is any healthier than water with a pH of 9.5. In fact, most of the studies I’ve read that ended with positive results used water with a maximum pH of 8.8.
For example, this study found that participants who drank water with a pH of 8.8 experienced acid reflux relief that participants who drank conventional water did not.
This goes back to too much of anything is a bad thing.
The point of drinking alkaline water is to find balance, not to boost the body’s pH to an unhealthy level.
There’s misinformation on both sides of the coin. People who are telling you to eat 80% alkaline and 20% acidic, then the people who tell you alkaline water does nothing to help your health.
A lot of people get flooded with this information and begin following protocols with no real idea why. Even I was once guilty of reading the benefits of something, then starting it right away because someone persuaded me that this, and only this, will help me.
The Standard American Diet and Water pH Connection
A diet high in animal proteins and salts and low in fruits and vegetables can lead to low-grade metabolic acidosis.
Considering the American diet is very high in salt, meat, processed foods, soda, and other acidic treats, health problems are commonplace.
Everyone knows someone with diabetes. My father had diabetes, and I remember watching his hand tremble while he scarfed down a processed apple pie.
Do you think adding acidic water to that already acidic diet is a good thing? Probably not, and a lot of tap water is slightly acidic.
Reverse osmosis water, bottled water, and even Brita water can be acidic.
The video below is a good representation:
The main point is that the last thing most people need in their diets is more acidity.
Can you drink too much alkaline water?
If you’re drinking bottled alkaline water or alkaline ionized water from a home ionizer, you’re more likely to experience water intoxication than alkalosis.
If you’re drinking homemade alkaline water that you made with baking soda, you run the risk of alkalosis since too much bicarbonate can cause alkalosis.
Here are the most important points to consider:
- The EPA recommends an upper pH limit of 8.5. If the pH of your water could hurt you, don’t you think the EPA would make pH range an enforceable regulation instead of a non-enforceable one?
- The highest bottled alkaline water brands have a pH of 10.
- It’s just water. Water ionizers add nothing to your water. Your water undergoes a natural process called electrolysis which uses the minerals that are already in your water to make alkaline water. Nothing is added during the process.
- Water with a pH higher than 8.8 is unnecessary in most cases. I found relief for my heartburn by drinking water with a pH of 9.5. The alkaline ionized water I drink every day has a pH between 8 and 9.5.
- A lot of the benefits of drinking alkaline water come from the water’s negative ORP (oxidation-reduction potential) and molecular hydrogen content, not the water’s pH.
- TEN spring water with a pH of 10 is natural water sourced from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. There are many artesian aquifers that naturally produce water with a pH of 9 or higher.
These are only a handful of points to consider.
How much alkaline water should you drink daily?
If you want to err on the side of caution, stick with alkaline water that has a maximum pH of 8.5. However, I have yet to come across a report written by someone who experienced negative effects from drinking water with a higher pH.
Trying to find a definitive answer to how much water you should drink daily is nearly impossible.
Some say that your thirst should guide you while others say that if you experience thirst that means you’re already dehydrated.
Personally, I let my urine do the talking. I start every day with at least two 12oz glasses of alkaline ionized water. This practice has treated me quite well and helped me achieve a clear urine color earlier in the day.
Since everyone is different, there’s no exact answer to this question.
The National Academy of Medicine shared “general recommendations” as follows:
- Men – 3.7 liters (125 ounces) per day from food and water
- Women – 2.7 liters (91 ounces) per day from food and water
The key takeaway is that you shouldn’t be concerned about drinking too much alkaline water with a maximum pH of 8.5.
If you’re truly concerned about what may happen if you drink too much water with a pH above the EPA-recommended upper limit, you should talk to your doctor or another medical professional.
Scouring the internet for clear answers will only lead you in circles.
Please keep in mind, I’m not a doctor, and no information on this site should be construed as medical advice, nor should it replace sound medical advice.
I provided you with all the tools to answer this question for yourself. As I recommended in the previous section, it’s best to consult a physician who possesses the proper expertise if you’re overly concerned about drinking too much alkaline water.
If you ask me: “Can you drink too much alkaline water?” The first words out of my mouth are: “It depends.”
There’s a very slim chance of bottled alkaline water or alkaline water from a quality home ionizer giving you problems.
It’s just water. The day purified water becomes poisonous is the same day pigs fly.