The basic pH scale runs from zero, which is acidic, to 14, which is basic or alkaline, with seven being neutral. Pure water is often well-balanced with a pH of 7.0, but the normal pH range for tap water is 6.5 to 8.5, meaning water can run slightly acidic or alkaline. While the pH of water is important for your body, there are some claims of health benefits associated with alkaline water to consider. The level of pH in water can also be used to lower pH in aquariums or to remedy signs of low pH in plants. The pH level in water can affect the acidity of soil and thereby the health and appearance of plants, though keeping tap water at the correct pH level is most important for your own health.
Why Lower the pH Levels in Water
Water with a neutral or almost neutral pH is best for most people because it does not alter the natural levels of the body. For example, the stomach is acidic because stomach bile must be acidic to kill off bad bacteria that is consumed. If the pH level of water is too high, or alkaline, then the stomach lining can lose some of its acidity. Another serious health consideration is viscosity, or the ease with which blood flows through the blood vessels. A 2016 study showed that those who drank high-pH water experienced reduced viscosity of their blood compared to those who drank purified tap water.
Benefits of Alkaline Water
Though there is little scientific evidence, there are positive health claims for drinking alkaline water. For example, some believe alkaline water can boost the immune system, cleanse the colon, detoxify, and promote healthy skin and hydration. More substantive claims include anti-aging properties, weight loss and building resistance to cancer. These claims are often justified by stating that alkaline water neutralizes harmful toxins in the body and flushes them out, but again, this has not been scientifically proven.
How to Lower pH in Water
If you have highly alkaline tap water that you wish to lower to a more neutral pH level, it is first important to purify your drinking water to remove any impurities that might affect the starting pH level. Next, measure the starting pH level of the purified water using pH test strips that can be bought online, in health food stores or at a garden center. Understanding the starting point will help you know how much the water's pH level needs to be adjusted.
The main ingredient that can be added to water to lower its pH level – making the water less alkaline and more neutral – is fresh lemon juice or lemon slices. Add a few drops or a slice of lemon to a glass of purified water and retest the pH level. If the water is still not as neutral as you would like, add more lemon.
To permanently neutralize your drinking water, install a water purifier or filtration system to the faucet that includes a sodium hydroxide injection system. Adding sodium hydroxide to your tap water as it is dispensed will automatically bring the pH level down to a more neutral level.
Molly is a freelance journalist and social media consultant. In addition to Leaf.tv, Molly has written for Teen Vogue and Paste magazine. She is the former assistant editor of the Design and Style section of Paste magazine. View her work at www.mmollyharris.com.