ATLANTA — When you grab a bottled water, are you checking to see if its alkaline?
The health trend is getting hype online and in the grocery aisles with claims alkaline water can help fight disease and more.
So we wanted to verify, the truth behind the trend.
pH stands for potential hydrogen, the scale for measuring acidic versus alkaline with pH 7 being neutral.
"Anything in the range of 6.5 to 8.5 is considered normal," said Dr. Uttam Saha, program coordinator of University of Georgia’s Feed and Environmental Water Lab.
The 'normal' range is set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates public drinking water. The EPA considers pH level a 'secondary standard,' meaning it’s a guideline for an aesthetic effect. According to the secondary standards listed by the EPA, aesthetic differences include taste or color but are guidelines rather than enforced by the agency.
"These contaminants are not health threatening at the SMCL. Public water systems only need to test for them on a voluntary basis," the EPA posted.
Taste aside, supporters of alkaline water say the higher pH can neutralize acid in the bloodstream, even prevent disease. So is alkaline water better for you?
"As a scientist, I can say that's a hypothesis that has not been substantiated," Dr. Saha said.
While there have been a few small studies on alkaline water’s impact on health, more research is still needed. Experts at the Mayo Clinic indicate plain water is better for most people.
Despite EPA standards on pH level, bottled water regulation falls under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to an FDA spokesperson, “Companies are required by law to sell food that is safe and truthfully labeled.”
So with that statement, the pH level on your bottle should reflect what's inside. That’s verified under FDA rules while the EPA confirms varying pH may impact taste. But those health benefits? They remain up for debate.