Alkaline Water Benefits: Three Surprising Research Findings

Alkaline Water Benefits: Three Surprising Research Findings

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Alkaline water is a growing wellness product category, and in the past few years it's transformed from an extremely niche interest to a mainstream product that you can find in grocery stores and gas stations.

But is alkaline water actually proven in research studies to have any health benefits beyond regular tap water? What does "alkaline" water even mean? How do real users describe the effects of alkaline water? And what's the best alkaline water brand?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we review clinical studies on alkaline water and highlight three surprising findings. We'll explain what alkaline water is, how it compares to tap and filtered water, and give our take on the best alkaline water brand. 

Is Alkaline Water Healthier Than Regular Water?

There have actually been a number of clinical trials published in legitimate scientific and medical journals testing the health effects of alkaline water.

A 2020 clinical trial found that alkaline water consumption (pH of 9) for 10 months in mice had an anti-aging effect by increasing telomere length (which regulates cellular aging) and significantly reducing reactive oxygen species in blood.

A clinical trial published in the Biology of Sport journal found that athletes who consumed alkaline water had “favourable changes” to hydration status compared with athletes who drank tap water. The group drinking alkaline water also had much more efficient lactate utilization, which suggests that alkaline water use during exercise may potentially improve endurance.

A 2019 research study found that daily ingestion of alkaline electrolyzed water containing hydrogen caused significantly positive overall health effects. Study participants drinking alkaline water slept better and experienced reduced gastrointestinal symptoms compared to the control group.

The pH of the alkalized water was 9.2. It’s worth noting that this study was funded by an electrical appliance manufacturer (that presumably makes alkalizing appliances), so this study may be biased.

A fourth study on high-mineral alkaline water found that its consumption improved anaerobic exercise performance, supporting the potential performance benefits shown in the previously-linked study. 

These research studies seem to suggest three main potential benefits from alkaline water consumption: anti-aging effect, improved hydration status, and improved exercise performance.

There does not appear to be any evidence that alkaline water cures cancer, even though many alkaline water brands suggest such with their marketing.

An extensive meta-study published in the BMJ Open journal surveyed clinical trials on alkaline water and cancer and concluded the following: “Despite the promotion of the alkaline diet and alkaline water by the media and salespeople, there is almost no actual research to either support or disprove these ideas.”

Overall we consider the research to be too early-stage to conclusively state that alkaline water is better than tap water for any specific health outcome. However, we hope that more research studies emerge on this topic. If future studies confirm some of the findings cited in this section, we will consider changing our stance.

We Tried Alkaline Water for a Week

alkaline water UGC

As one of the authors of this article (Calloway), I wanted to purchase and try alkaline water myself for the first time in my life.

I bought a 12-pack of Essentia water (which has a pH level of 9.5) and drank it throughout the week in different settings, from during workouts to with meals to while working.

I didn't notice any benefits from drinking alkaline water. My sleep quality, exercise performance and mood did not change whatsoever.

I personally feel like the negative health effects of drinking from single-use plastic outweigh and potential health benefits from alkaline water, so if I were to commit to this lifestyle change full-time (which I don't plan to), I'd purchase some sort of water system to create alkaline water at home.

Alkaline water did not taste better than regular water, in fact this particular brand tasted worse to me than my Brita-filtered water. It was entirely devoid of flavor, much like distilled water.

I do not plan to purchase alkaline water again and would not recommend it to anyone I know.

Real, Unsponsored Alkaline Water User Review

One of the most popular YouTube videos on alkaline water is published by a health and fitness channel called "ListedFit." The creator tries alkaline water for two weeks while keeping his training and diet regimen constant, and explains if he notices any improvement in performance and health:

What is Alkaline Water?

The acidity of water is measured on a scale from 1-14 called the pH scale, with lower numbers being more acidic and higher numbers being more alkaline. Many people aren’t aware of this but pH is actually measured on a logarithmic scale, according to the USGS, which means that water with a pH of 6 is ten times more acidic than water with a pH of 7.

Regular tap water ranges in pH level but generally has a pH level around 7, which is neutral (neither acidic nor basic). Alkaline water typically has a pH level of 8 or higher.

Our Clean Water Picks

Brita Water Filter is our top countertop water filter pick, because it's been shown in studies conducted by ConsumerLab (an independent research firm) to significantly reduce heavy metal levels and entirely eliminate microplastics.

Pique Daily Radiance is our top flavor enhancing packet that can be added to water.

These packets are naturally flavored with nutritious ingredients like organic elderberry juice concentrate (which is clinically shown to support the immune system) and organic lemon juice concentrate.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


There is some interesting preliminary research on alkaline water, suggesting that it may have an anti-aging effect, improve hydration status and optimize athletic performance.

These results have not been replicated, and we believe it's too early to conclusively state that alkaline water has any benefits over tap or filtered water.

For consumers intent on purchasing alkaline water, we consider JUST Water to be the best brand because it contains little single-use plastic. The negative health effects of single-use plastic almost certainly negate any potential health benefits from alkaline water otherwise, so we recommend avoiding any alkaline water brands sold in single-use plastic.

We consider tap water filtered with either countertop or whole-house water filters to be the most logical, economical and healthy water choice because filtration is the only way to ensure water quality.