The entirety of the alkaline water bottle craze is founded on bad science and half-baked ideas. The most recent products of the age-old “magic water” myths have come home to nest in the form of all sorts of “alkalizing” devices. We take water bottles pretty seriously here at Hydration Anywhere. Almost daily we find more and more requests for reviews and information on alkalizing water bottles and all we can do is sigh and scratch our heads. You don’t need an alkalizing water bottle, you don’t need an alkaline water system, you don’t need ionized water. It’s all snake oil.
Alkaline water bottles “work” by passing the water through one or several mediums which raise the pH of the water, causing it to become alkaline. There are a variety of different chemicals these bottles use to do this, and many of them also pack in a lot of psuedo-science mumbo-jumbo to go along with it. It might be true that they do, technically, alkalize the water, but that is about it. And as we’ll explore below, raising the pH of your water is nothing to celebrate.
These alkaline water bottles make all sorts of claims of the miraculous (but always disturbingly unscientific) transformative properties that go along with their bottle, both for your water and your life. Let’s see what’s behind them.
Why An Alkaline Water Bottle Won’t Help You At All
The purported health benefits of alkaline water have been debunked over and over again. Heck, we’ve even taken part in it ourselves, in our not-so-coyly titled feature, “Alkaline Ionized Water is a Huge Scam.” In that piece we rounded up all the quality science we could find and came to a simple conclusion: alkalizing your water is more or less a waste of time.
Despite claims that it is possible to alter your body’s pH through diet, medical science has demonstrated otherwise. Alkaline water, like anything else alkaline you put into your stomach, will only change the pH of your stomach itself. Your body is constantly involved in regulating its own pH through a process called Acid-base Homeostasis. You can’t change your body’s pH. It just doesn’t work like that. The premise of improving your health by alkalizing your body is flawed at its core.
But the charlatanry hardly stops with alkalizing the water, something which is at least rooted in some kind of reality. These alkaline water bottles are regularly filled with all sorts of “ionizing minerals,” worthless crystals or gemstones like tourmaline, and an endless array of exotic or vaguely scientific-sounding ingredients all packaged in their special alkaline bottle. Supposedly this mixture has been formulated with your health in mind, though a far more likely explanation is that they have been formulated with the goal of opening your wallet.
A Few Silly Alkaline Water Bottle Claims
Just for the fun of it, let’s take a look at one of these silly alkaline water bottles and what they claim to do. This BlueQQ Alkaline Water Bottle is available on Amazon. A fairly popular choice for an alkalizing water bottle, the BlueQQ costs a whopping $36 as of this writing for what appears to be essentially a cheap plastic 23 ounce bottle. (For reference, a high quality plastic 33oz Nalgene Bottle is only around $10.)
Of course, the BlueQQ’s supposed “value” comes from its 8-stage process of… uh, improving your water. The BlueQQ has a rod which runs down the middle of the bottle, filled with what looks like random rocks from a creek somewhere. These eight different chemicals are supposed to alkalize, ionize, enrich the water with minerals and antioxidants, kill bacteria, and even (somehow) impart some kind of magical body-fat reducing property onto your water.
For full disclosure, we have not tested the BlueQQ ourselves. We have selected it as an example of the trend in alkaline water bottles, ionizing water bottles, and similar scams. It is readily apparent based purely on their advertising that they are selling false hope and a product based on discredited ideas. It is likely that the bottle does truly alkalize water, as that is a fairly simple process. According to their advertising, the BlueQQ alkalizes water with the addition of calcium – simple chemistry. But as we mentioned above, there are no real health benefits to drinking alkaline water.
Is That All Alkaline Water Bottles Are Adding To Your Water?
In the case of the BlueQQ, the descriptions of exactly what their magic water-improving rods are made of are vague. It claims to be capable of removing chlorine with “silver-activated carbon,” which might be technically true but we are extremely skeptical of how effectively it removes chlorine due to its design. It also claims to have an additional stage of “silver antibacterial” for disinfecting the water with silver’s natural antimicrobial properties, some kind of antioxidants, a “Catalyst Mgo” (?), and finally a chemical known as sophoricoside.
Sophoricoside is chemical isolated from the ripened fruit of the Pagoda Tree (Styphnolobium japonicum.) The tree and fruit are known for their use in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and recently sophoricoside has been marketed as a weight loss supplement. As with most supposed weight loss supplements, these claims are dubious at best and not reinforced by any credible scientific data. Even more concerning is the relatively limited amount of information available on the effects of ingesting sophoricoside at all. Very little information is available about what this chemical does in the human body.
While these alkaline water bottles are usually evaluated by health authorities before being sold, the reality is that they do not disclose precisely what they are adding to your water and this will always present a risk. If not to your health then certainly to your peace of mind. We prefer to know what we are adding to our water!
Hilariously Fake Alkaline Water Bottle Claims
Let’s take a look at some of the stranger claims made in BlueQQ’s advertising for their alkaline water bottle. Notice how vague and psuedo-scientific these ideas are, how they try to sound on the surface like something important and worthwhile while simultaneously revealing next to nothing about what is actually being offered.
All of these quotes are taken verbatim from the advertising found on the BlueQQ Alkaline Water Bottle Amazon listing.
- “Protects the liver from harmful effects of alcohol and nicotine”
- “Breaks down water molecules for better absorption of nutrients and minerals through reverse osmosis, oxygenating the body and increasing metabolic rate.”
- “Promoting human metabolism, and enhance human immunity.”
- “With its distinctive smooth and silky texture of the water, it also prevents bacteria with its disinfecting properties”
Excusing the fact that the author of these words likely was not a fluent English speaker, the claims vary from confusingly strange, to taking credit for things that simply drinking water would do anyway, to outright lies. They all fall in line with the sort of wishy-washy language used by these scams, and language common to alternative health trends like “flushing out toxins.”
As we explored in our article “What Is Detox Water? Debunking the Health Craze” ideas like toxins and detoxifying the body are rooted in some truth but use outdated thinking and overturned science to prop up sales of products such as alkaline water bottles. The importance of elements which might actually be beneficial is dramatically over stated – for example the usefulness of antioxidants, trace minerals, etc. – and the skepticism of the scientific and medical communities is omitted entirely.
Get A Real Water Bottle
If you’ve been riding the alkaline water bottle bandwagon hoping that these expensive alkaline water systems, alkalizing bottles, and all these other weird devices would improve your health, its time for you to do some research. The only benefit that can be achieved from drinking alkaline water is the benefits of proper hydration. Which are plentiful! You don’t need to add unknown or useless chemicals to your water to make drinking it healthy. Check out our article Why Proper Hydration is Essential Everyday to learn all about the everyday benefits you can get just from drinking enough water.
Instead of investing your hard earned money into one of these overpriced alkaline water bottles, get yourself a high quality water bottle from a reputable manufacturer. You can do your part for your health by staying properly hydrated, and do your part for the planet by reducing the amount of waste you create when you don’t have to rely on purchasing disposable bottled water or sugary drinks just in an effort to hydrate.
Need some guidance on a water bottle? Check out our Best Water Bottles 2017 Guide for all the top picks.
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We debunk the false advertising claims made by alkaline water bottle merchants and reveal why you don't need any kind of alkaline water system at all.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.