Kangen water is a type of alkaline water, and some people swear the flavor and texture is superior to regular water. Sometimes yoga studios or other hip health joints will offer Kangen water as a solution for muscle soreness, recovery, fatigue, and restoration.
At its most fundamental level, Kangen water is hydrogen water, or water in which the hydrogen and oxygen molecules have been separated via a process known as electrolysis. The result, according to production companies, is an alkaline, antioxidant, mineral-rich, pure, safe, and healthy drinking water.
“Kangen water” is a trademarked term, but really it’s just water that sports a more alkaline (rather than acidic) pH level. So is there any reason to spend extra on a specialty water? Is alkaline water healthier for you?
As some of you’ll remember, the natural pH of water is a neutral 7 on the 1-14 scale. The science here is spotty at best, but some modern health professionals are recommending more alkaline foods and beverages as a means of leveling out our acidity.
“The idea of drinking water that is considered more alkaline is that it can neutralize the acid in your body to regulate your pH levels and lead to a variety of health benefits,” says Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP. “This includes acting as an antioxidant to fight free radicals which damage cells and DNA.”
Richard Firshein, D.O., on the other hand, agrees that alkaline water may have its advantages: because it’s electrolytically-reduced, hydrogen-rich water, it could benefit us at a molecular level. However, he’s skeptical of alkaline water’s ability to actually alkalinize our bodies.
If you like the texture or flavor of Kangen water, then enjoy it. But it’s not a necessity by any means.
“It is difficult to determine if drinking alkaline water restores your body to an alkaline state,” Firshein says, “because there are many factors that produce an alkaline environment in the body.” He also explains that some small studies have produced evidence of alkalized water treating acid reflux, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
Many other experts, though, disagree: Steven Gundry, M.D., for example, thinks the alkaline water craze is overblown.
“There is a lot of hype surrounding alkaline water, but in reality, the alkalinity of water really does nothing to ‘alkalinize’ the body,” Gundry says. “Alkaline water has no ability to neutralize acids, unlike sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) which can actually neutralize acid.”
Cole said he tends to agree.
“While these benefits sound amazing, there isn’t enough research to really say for certain how effective this type of water is, and ultimately how it can improve health in the long-term,” Cole says. “There are some smaller studies claiming its ability to improve health, but there really needs to be more research before we all make the permanent switch to alkaline water.”
Also, all the experts tend to agree that most of the current craze is marketing-based.
“Any alkaline water sold in a plastic bottle will be devoid of H2, as hydrogen, being the smallest molecule, rapidly diffuses through plastic,” Gundry says. “So, buyer beware.”
So what is the best option for at-home drinking water? We recommend investing in a high-quality filter system like Clearly Filtered, filtering out as much as you can from your water, and then adding certain minerals back in based upon your own health goals. And then, drink your remineralized water in a glass bottle, not a plastic one. Happy sipping!