Drinking alkaline water has been shown to improve digestive health by reducing harmful oxidation in the gut to promote beneficial probiotics. Alkaline water’s main digestive benefit may be from its antioxidant potential. The antioxidant potential of alkaline ionized water was shown to have the potential to stimulate the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gut, and to reduce the growth of harmful microbes.
Improved Digestive Health in 2 – 4 Weeks
Clinical testing in Japan showed that people with digestive upset found gradual relief of their symptoms in about 2 – 4 weeks after starting to drink alkaline water. That testing led to the Japanese Ministry of Health certifying water ionizers as medical devices for the treatment of digestive upset. So if you have poor digestive health, and want to try alkaline water, you should look for results in about 2 – 4 weeks.
How to Drink Alkaline Water for Digestive Health
Make sure to drink antioxidant alkaline water Most bottled alkaline water doesn’t have antioxidant potential. Your best bet is to use a water ionizer and make it yourself. The antioxidant potential of alkaline water doesn’t keep, so it’s best to drink it within hours from the time it is generated from the ionizer. The benefit to probiotic microbes in the gut from alkaline water comes from its antioxidant potential, so you must make sure you’re drinking antioxidant alkaline water.
Drink alkaline water on an empty stomach between meals. To raise antioxidant levels in your gut before meals drink a glass of alkaline water about a half hour before your meal. Wait an hour after your meal before you start drinking alkaline water again. It’s important to not drink alkaline water with meals because it can dilute your stomach acid.
Start your day with a glass of ionized alkaline water. This encourages peristalsis – the movement of food wastes through your intestines.
Better Digestive Health Begins with Probiotics
In the intestines probiotic microbes are known as strict anaerobes because they hate oxygen, they prefer an oxygen-free environment. These beneficial microbes are destroyed by oxidation. On the other hand the harmful microbes in the gut are strict aerobes, they thrive in an oxygen-rich gut. Better digestive health begins with creating an antioxidant environment in the gut which favors beneficial probiotics.
Alkaline water has a “sparing effect” on antioxidant enzymes in the body, which can help provide essential enzymes that probiotic microbes need to survive. Probiotic microbes need two important antioxidant enzymes to survive in the gut: Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) and Catalase. Both of these are enzymes that your body produces naturally.
Probiotic microbes need those two antioxidant enzymes because a dangerous free radical called superoxide builds up inside of them while they are breaking down food for absorption in the intestines. Those two enzymes protect probiotic microbes by breaking down superoxide into hydrogen peroxide and water. Hydrogen peroxide, which is also harmful to the body, can then broken down by catalase (or alkaline water) into harmless water and oxygen.
How Alkaline Water Stimulates the growth of Probiotic Microflora
A Russian study published in 2004 demonstrated how the antioxidant potential of alkaline water stimulates beneficial microbes in the gut. The study used ionized alkaline water with a slightly alkaline pH (~7.5) and a moderate –ORP (Range: 0 to -300mV). The study showed that beneficial anaerobic microflora grew in at an antioxidant –ORP level of -300 to -400 mV. Harmful aerobic microflora grows in a positive ORP between 0 to +400 mV.
The theory was tested on human subjects. They were given alkaline ionized water with a pH of 7.5 and a –ORP of -150 mV. The study subjects drank .6 liters per day of alkaline ionized water. People who had poor digestive health saw increased levels of two probiotics:
- Lactobacilli – Breaks down lactose and sugars.
- Bifidobacteria – Converts many nutrients into bioavailable form
The test subjects also saw reduced levels of harmful microflora. Based on these results, researchers concluded that drinking alkaline ionized water stimulates the growth of probiotics, and can reduce the growth of harmful microflora. Healthy test subjects maintained the levels of probiotics they had in their digestive tract before drinking alkaline ionized water.
Control subjects in the study drank plain water that had not been ionized. They saw no change in levels of microflora in their gut.
Conclusion: Drinking alkaline ionized water improves levels of probiotics in the gut, plain water doesn’t.
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Vorobjeva NV. Selective stimulation of the growth of anaerobic microflora in the human intestinal tract by electrolyzed reducing water. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15617863 PMID: 15617863 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Abraham, Guy, and Jorge Flebas. “The effect of daily consumption of 2 liters of
electrolyzed water for 2 months on body composition and several physiological parameters in four obese subjects: a preliminary report.” Highbeam Research. Original Internist, 01 Sep 2011. Web. 2 Jul 2013. <http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-269433201.html>.