“What is alkaline spring water?” is a question best answered by understanding what alkaline water is and what spring water is. Alkaline spring water is high pH groundwater that comes from a natural spring. A spring is the point at which groundwater reaches the land’s surface from an aquifer – an underground layer of water-saturated permeable rock, sand or silt. There are many different types of springs, each classified by the volume of water they discharge – a measure called “magnitude”. There are 8 levels of magnitude. 1st magnitude springs flow at a rate of 2800 litres per second, while 8th magnitude springs yield less than 8 millilitres of water per second. “0 magnitude” is used to classify historic springs with no current water flow.
WHAT MAKES WATER ALKALINE?
Alkalinity is a measure of water’s resistance to acidity. The more alkaline water is, the less acidic. pH (potential of hydrogen) is a measure of how acidic a solution is. The pH scale range is from 0 to 14. Water with a pH below 7 is said to be acidic, while water with a pH above 7 is referred to as “alkaline”. 7 on the scale denotes neutral water. pH measures the amount of free hydrogen or hydroxyl ions in water. If water has more free hydrogen ions, it is acidic. If it has more free hydroxyl ions, it is more alkaline. Most municipal tap water is neutral, or about 7 pH.
Water may become naturally alkaline as it flows over rock, silt, sand and gravel, many of which contain trace minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium, potassium, and bicarbonate). Most of us have heard of or used “sodium bicarbonate” in the form of baking soda or as an antacid taken to neutralize stomach acid. Sodium bicarbonate is a salt which is mined. Sodium bicarbonate is also present in many mineral springs, appearing as a fine, white chalky powder.
While natural spring water may be cleaner and more alkaline than some water, water producers often filter the source water further to remove impurities and increase alkalinity. Alkalinity is increased by a process called ionization. Ionization separates water into acid and alkaline constituents.
WHAT IS “NATURAL” ALKALINE SPRING WATER?
In natural alkaline spring water “natural” means that the spring water rises from underground because of natural pressure in an aquifer and not by drilling a well or Pumping. The pressure required to form a natural spring may arise when the porous, water-bearing, aquifer material (rock, silt, sand, shale, gravel) is confined by impermeable material. This is known as a “confined aquifer”.
An aquifer may also be tapped by drilling a well, as is the case with an “Artesian well”. While the underground source of the water may be much the same as that of a spring, how the water is brought to the surface is not natural but mechanical. By boring into an aquifer that is under pressure, water rises into the well.
IS ALKALINE SPRING WATER GOOD FOR YOU?Okay, so now you know what alkaline spring water is, but is it good for you? Alkaline spring water is safe to drink and may have additional health benefits that may not be provided by tap water or other bottled waters. Proponents of alkaline water and several research studies, suggest that it may:
- Increase hydration by allowing the body to retain and use more water.
- Improve bone health.
- Result in healthier skin.
- Facilitate weight loss.
- Decrease gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn, bloating, stomach aches, diarrhea, and constipation, as was found in the Japanese study “Daily ingestion of alkaline electrolyzed water containing hydrogen influences human health, including gastrointestinal symptoms”.
- Improve acid reflux disease as reported in the study “Potential Benefits of pH 8.8 Alkaline Drinking Water as an Adjunct in the Treatment of Reflux Disease”
- Combat high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol as reported by researchers in the study “Effect of electrolyzed high-pH alkaline water on blood viscosity in healthy adults”.