The Hype: Tom Brady drinks it. Beyoncé is reportedly hooked. Cycling studios on each coast can’t maintain sufficient of it on the cabinets. In our endless quest for the last word type of hydration, alkaline water has emerged because the eau du jour, touted as “energizing,” “detoxifying” and a cure-all for illnesses that appear to afflict individuals who congregate at yoga studios and juice bars.
Elevator Pitch: We ingest a lot of high-acid meals, together with processed grains, corn, meat, fish, sodas, espresso and alcohol. Water that has been “alkalized” (both naturally or with an ionizer) with a pH of eight to 10 can neutralize that. Purported advantages embody superior hydration, detoxing, decreased irritation and elevated power. It’s a pretty thought, particularly in an period when every part — politics, gender relations, you identify it — feels corrosive. Wash away your troubles with one thing as easy and plentiful as water.
Adopters: Pretty a lot anybody who shares Gwyneth Paltrow’s style for apitherapy, soup cleanses and vaginal steaming. It additionally helps to be wealthy sufficient to afford a $four,000 dwelling ionizer, or a 12-pack of Flow Alkaline Spring Water for $17.99. That isn’t any situation for basketball stars like Kawhi Leonard, who instructed GQ final yr: “Stick to alkaline waters with a higher pH. Trust me.”
Hotbed: What higher place to hawk a expensive, scientifically questionable water enhancement than that desert oasis Los Angeles? After all, that is the city that gave us the “water sommelier.” No wonder every pressed-juice bar and yoga studio within Tesla range of the C.A.A. headquarters seems to be jumping on board. The trend is spreading. Earlier this year, Hydration Station opened in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, with four water ionizing stations; a gallon costs $5, while an unlimited monthly supply is $34.89.
Half-Life: Alkalized water isn’t new (ionizers were sold in Japan in the 1960s), but it made a pop cultural splash in 2013 when it was reported that Beyoncé’s concert rider, possibly apocryphal, specified titanium straws so she could sip alkaline water. In a sign of its growing popularity, Smartwater (a division of Coca-Cola) released an alkaline version last year.
Just the Facts: Do the health claims hold any water? “It’s all about marketing,” Tanis Fenton, a registered dietitian and epidemiologist at Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, told The New York Times in April. “There is no science to back it up.”
Some studies suggest that alkaline water may be helpful in treating acid reflux or high blood pressure, but a number of scientists remain skeptical. Joe Schwarcz, the director of the Office for Science and Society at McGill University in Montreal, called the craze “mind numbing nonsense” in a newsletter last year. “Our body maintains the pH of the blood between 7 to 7.4, which is already alkaline,” Dr. Schwarcz said. “If you were to alkalize it further, you would not have to worry about illness because you would be dead.”
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