Question: I have a friend who was told at the local health food store that she needed to drink alkaline water for her chronic fatigue/Epstein Barr virus. What do you know about this? Is it of any benefit? — Anonymous
Answer: Rumors are circulating on the Internet and elsewhere that drinking alkaline water is beneficial to health and can miraculously cure everything from obesity and high blood pressure to breast cancer. Alkaline water purportedly “neutralizes” the “acidic wastes” in the body. These “wastes” are said to include malignant cells and acid “accumulations.”
This theory seems very well developed and may sound plausible to some, but it is absolutely untrue. I get a lot of questions about alkalinity and acidity and whether eating alkaline foods (or acidic ones) influences the body’s pH in a healthful direction. There is no scientific research supporting this line of thinking. Alkaline or “hard” water (due to high concentrations of calcium) is common throughout the west but to my knowledge a lifetime of drinking alkaline water hasn’t protected people in the western states from the diseases and disorders that occur elsewhere.
The body’s normal pH is 7, which is neutral. It is under very tight biological control and will remain neutral no matter what you eat or drink. It sounds to me as if your friend was sold a bill of goods by an uninformed health food store clerk. Chalk this one up as a scam, and tell your friend to save her money.
Source: This question was asked of Dr. Andrew Weil, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and teacher at the University of Arizona in Tucson, specializing in alternative medicine, mind/body interactions and medical botany, and appeared on his website, “Ask Dr. Weil” at http://cgi.pathfinder.com/drweil/.