Discover the truth behind alkaline water myths

Nina Ross
Certified Naturopathic Doctor
November 15, 2023


You may be surprised to hear it, but alkaline water, which has gained popularity in recent years, may not be as beneficial for your digestive health as you might think. While alkaline water is often touted as a way to promote a healthy pH balance in the body, it can actually disrupt the digestive process. In this article, we will debunk the myths surrounding alkaline water and delve into the scientific evidence that highlights its potential impact on digestion. So, before you take another sip, let's explore the facts.

The Digestive Process and pH Balance:

To understand why alkaline water may disrupt digestion, let's briefly examine the digestive process and the role of pH balance. The digestive system naturally maintains a delicate balance of acids and enzymes to break down food and extract nutrients. This balance ensures optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients.

The Role of Stomach Acid:

One key component of the digestive process is stomach acid, also known as gastric acid. Stomach acid plays a crucial role in breaking down food, particularly proteins. It helps to activate enzymes and creates an acidic environment necessary for proper digestion.

The pH Scale:

The pH scale is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. It ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 considered neutral. Values below 7 are acidic, while values above 7 are alkaline. The stomach typically maintains a pH level between 1.5 and 3.5, which is highly acidic.

Alkaline Water and Digestion:

Now, let's dive into why alkaline water may disrupt the digestive process. The main issue lies in its potential to neutralize stomach acid. Alkaline water typically has a pH level higher than 7, which can significantly increase the pH of the stomach when consumed.

1. Impaired Protein Digestion:

Stomach acid is crucial for the breakdown of proteins. When alkaline water neutralizes stomach acid, it can hinder the enzymatic activity necessary for effective protein digestion. This may lead to incomplete protein breakdown and inadequate absorption of essential amino acids.

2. Altered Enzyme Function:

Enzymes responsible for digestion and nutrient absorption are highly sensitive to pH levels. A shift towards alkalinity may interfere with the optimal functioning of these enzymes, compromising the overall digestive process.

3. Reduced Nutrient Absorption:

Inadequate digestion due to alkaline water's impact on stomach acid can hinder the absorption of vital nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and vitamin B12. This can potentially lead to nutrient deficiencies and related health issues.

Scientific Evidence and Research:

While anecdotal claims about the benefits of alkaline water abound, the scientific evidence supporting its positive effects on digestion is limited. A study published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology found that alkaline water had no significant impact on gastric acid secretion.

Another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition examined the effects of alkaline water on markers of digestion and found no substantial differences in digestion and nutrient absorption compared to regular water.

Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis emphasized the importance of stomach acid in the absorption of certain drugs, further highlighting the potential negative impact of alkaline water on digestive processes.

Maintaining Digestive Health Holistically:

It is important to prioritize overall digestive health rather than relying solely on the pH of the water we consume. Here are some holistic approaches to promote optimal digestion:

1. Balanced Diet:

Focus on a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats to support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.

2. Hydration:

Regular water consumption throughout the day helps maintain proper hydration levels and supports overall digestive health. Opt for filtered water or spring water as your primary source of hydration.

3. Mindful Eating:

Practice mindful eating by chewing your food thoroughly and eating at a relaxed pace. This aids in the mechanical breakdown of food and promotes optimal digestion.

4. Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes:

Consider incorporating probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt or fermented vegetables, into your diet. Probiotics support a healthy gut microbiome, which plays a vital role in digestion. Additionally, digestive enzyme supplements can help enhance the breakdown of food and nutrient absorption.

5. Stress Management:

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on digestion. Engage in stress-reducing practices, such as exercise, meditation, or yoga, to support a healthy digestive system.


While alkaline water may be marketed as a health-promoting beverage, the scientific evidence suggests that it may disrupt the digestive process by neutralizing stomach acid. It is essential to maintain a balanced approach to digestive health, considering factors beyond the pH of the water we consume.

By focusing on a well-rounded approach to digestion, including mindful eating, a balanced diet, hydration, and stress management, you can support your body's natural digestive processes and overall wellbeing.

Remember, if you have specific concerns about your digestion or wish to explore holistic approaches to optimize your digestive health, consult with a healthcare professional or functional medicine practitioner who can provide personalized guidance based on your unique needs.

Nina Ross
Certified Naturopathic Doctor

What can Nina Ross Functional Medicine do for you?

Nina Ross Functional Medicine is here to give you holistic solutions that will lead to a new healthy you!

Featured Posts

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get more about health, tips & exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.