What Is An Alkali?


What Is An Alkali

What is an alkali in simple terms?

An alkali is any base substance that dissolves in water to produce OH (hydroxide) ions and neutralise acids. Alkalis have a pH of 7 or above, where 7 is neutral.

Is alkali a base or acid?

What is Alkali? –

Alkali is a base. It is a base that dissolves in water. This is very important to remember- Not all bases are alkali but all alkali is base. It is a basic salt alkali earth metal or, On adding alkali to acid the pH of the mixture increase. On adding acid to alkali the pH decreases due to the removal of alkali. Neutralization is a reaction in which removal of alkalinity or acidity occurs.

To make you understand how alkali and base are different from each other, here are some of the major differences between alkali and base:

Base Alkali
Bases do not dissolve in water Bases that dissolve in water are alkali
All bases are not alkali All alkali are bases
It neutralizes acids It releases OH – ions, accepts a proton
Example: Zinc hydroxide, copper oxide Example:, sodium hydroxide

These were some of the important differences between Alkali and base,

What makes an alkali?

The definition of an alkali is: ‘ A substance with free hydroxide ions (OH – ) in solution ‘. The pH scale indirectly measures the concentration of H + ions in solution. Because alkalis have more OH – than H + ions, their relative concentration of H + is low and so the pH value will be high.

What is an alkali GCSE?

Acids, bases and salts – (CCEA) – Many chemicals are acidic, neutral or alkaline. We can distinguish one from another using indicators. Acidity and alkalinity are measured on the pH scale. A salt is formed when an acid is neutralised by an alkali.

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An acid is a substance that produces hydrogen ions, H + (aq), when dissolved in water. The higher the concentration of hydrogen ions in the solution, the lower the pH, (Higher tier) An alkali is a substance that produces hydroxide ions, OH – (aq), when dissolved in water.

  • hydrochloric acid
  • sulfuric acid
  • nitric acid

(Higher tier) Strong alkalis completely ionise in water, They break up completely to produce a high concentration of hydroxide ions in the solution. For example, sodium hydroxide ionises completely into sodium and hydroxide ions: NaOH(aq) → Na + (aq) + OH – (aq) Strong alkalis include:

  • sodium hydroxide
  • potassium hydroxide

(Higher tier) Weak acids only partially ionise in water, Only a small fraction of their molecules break into hydrogen ions when added to water. For example, ethanoic acid is a weak acid. CH 3 COOH(aq) ⇌ H + (aq) + CH 3 COO – (aq) The ‘reversible arrow’ (⇌) indicates a reversible reaction.

Is salt an alkaline?

Formation of salts In addition to water, a new compound is formed from the rest of the acid and alkali molecule. This is known as a salt. In chemistry, a salt is a compound formed by an acid and an alkali. In everyday English though, the word refers to only one particular type of salt: Sodium chloride or table salt.

Sodium chloride (NaCl) is formed when hydrochloric acid is neutralised by sodium hydroxide.If the water is evaporated away then only the salt remains.As mentioned earlier, heartburn arises when tissue (protein) lining the oesophagus is denatured by a reflux of stomach acid.Remedies for heartburn are called antacids and they work by neutralising the stomach acid and so soothing the oesophagus.A common ingredient in antacids is the alkali magnesium hydroxide, MgOH 2,

: Formation of salts

Is alkali harmful to humans?

Introduction – Alkali toxicity, though rare, can lead to significant medical problems. In developed nations, alkaline ingestions are more predominant when compared to acidic ingestions. Worldwide caustic ingestions occurring amongst children are usually accidental and therefore benign given the small amounts ingested.

Does alkali mean acidic?

Detailed Description – pH is a measure of how acidic/basic water is. The range goes from 0 – 14, with 7 being neutral. pHs of less than 7 indicate acidity, whereas a pH of greater than 7 indicates a base. pH is really a measure of the relative amount of free hydrogen and hydroxyl ions in the water.

  • Water that has more free hydrogen ions is acidic, whereas water that has more free hydroxyl ions is basic.
  • Since pH can be affected by chemicals in the water, pH is an important indicator of water that is changing chemically.
  • PH is reported in “logarithmic units”.
  • Each number represents a 10-fold change in the acidity/basicness of the water.

Water with a pH of five is ten times more acidic than water having a pH of six. As this diagram shows, pH ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. pHs less than 7 are acidic while pHs greater than 7 are alkaline (basic). ► Learn more about pH

Why is alkaline water good?

For most people, alkaline water is not better than plain water. Bottled water sold as alkaline water, which is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, might have nutrients added to it to achieve an alkaline pH. Alkaline water has a higher pH level than that of plain tap water.

Is vinegar an acid?

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission Here’s our process, Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind. Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:

Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm? Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence? Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?

We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness. Vinegar’s pH is low, meaning it’s acidic, but it can change if additional ingredients are added. If you dilute vinegar with water, its acidity lessens, making its pH level rise.

  1. The pH level of a substance lets you know how acidic or basic it is.
  2. PH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14.
  3. Substances over 7 are categorized as basic, with 7 being the neutral point.
  4. Water has a pH level of 7.
  5. Substances with pH levels under 7 are categorized as acidic.
  6. Vinegar is acidic.
  7. Vinegar’s pH level varies based upon the type of vinegar it is.

White distilled vinegar, the kind best suited for household cleaning, typically has a pH of around 2.5. Vinegar, which means “sour wine” in French, can be made from anything containing sugar, such as fruit. Through a two-part fermentation process, yeast and bacteria are used to turn the sugar into ethanol (ethyl alcohol), which is then processed into acetic acid.

It is the acetic acid content in vinegar that makes it acidic. Vinegar’s pH can easily be tested by using pH strips. pH strips are inexpensive to use and widely available for purchase, They’re designed to change color in response to a liquid’s pH level and come with a color chart you can use to compare the tested strip against.

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Vinegar’s pH can change if additional ingredients are added to it. For example, if you dilute vinegar with water, its acidity lessens, making its pH level rise. Distilled white vinegar is an effective and chemical-free household cleaner. The acetic acid in vinegar kills many strains of bacteria on household surfaces and inhibits the growth of new bacteria and mold.

isn’t dangerous if it gets on your skinis safe for use around children and petsleaves behind no residueleaves no telltale odor behind

Household vinegar is an effective natural cleaner that can be used on many surfaces. If you’re concerned about the pH of the vinegar in your house, use a pH testing kit. This helps prevent damaging surfaces with vinegar that is too acidic.

How do you identify an alkali?

Step 1: Check Group 1A in the periodic table. Group 1A is the first (leftmost) column in the periodic table. Except for hydrogen, the elements in Group 1A are the alkali metals. They are Lithium (Li), Sodium(Na), Potassium(K), Rubidium(Rb), Cesium(Cs) and Francium(Fr).

What is difference between acidic and alkaline?

What is pH? – When discussing acidic versus alkalizing foods, it’s important to understand the concept of pH. Put simply, pH is a rating of how acidic or alkaline a solution is on a scale from 0–14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral. Any pH value below 7 is considered acidic, and any pH value over 7 is considered alkaline ( 1, 2 ).

  • On the pH scale, the difference between adjacent numbers represents a tenfold difference in acidity.
  • For instance, a pH of 5 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 6 and 100 times more acidic than a pH of 7.
  • Because they contain a high amount of citric acid, lemons have an acidic pH.
  • Lemon juice has a pH between 2 and 3, which means it’s 10,000–100,000 times more acidic than water ( 1, 2, 3 ).

Summary A food’s pH is a measure of its acidity. The pH of lemon juice falls between 2 and 3, meaning it is acidic.

Is Lemon acid or alkaline?

What Is pH & Why Does It Matter? – Drinking lemon juice (usually diluted in a glass of water or added to a cup of tea) is a beloved health tonic among fans of natural medicine. Potential benefits include lower cholesterol, lower inflammation in the body, and increased metabolism and energy.

Lemon also contains high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C that boost your immune system. On a scale of 0-14, a pH of 7 is neutral (pure water) while numbers below 7 are acidic (unhealthy), while numbers above 7 are basic or alkaline (healthy). Believers in holistic health blame many ailments on the body’s pH being too low or too acidic.

Increasing your body’s pH is called “alkalizing.” Lemon juice in its natural state is acidic with a pH of about 2, but once metabolized it actually becomes alkaline with a pH well above 7. So, outside the body, anyone can see that lemon juice is very acidic.

What’s difference between base and alkali?

A base is a something that react with an acid to form water and a salt. An alkali is any base that is soluble in water. An acid in solution will form H+ ions as the acid splits. For example HCl in solution becomes H+ and Cl-.

Are all bases alkalis?

But all bases are not alkalis, as many bases do not dissolve in water. ​ Bases like ferric hydroxide and cupric hydroxide are not soluble in water; hence, they are not alkalis. Thus, we can say that all alkalis are bases, but all bases are not alkalis.

What is difference between base and alkali?

Conclusion – The substances are used to neutralise acid to base. All bases can be alkali, but vice versa is not true, as all the alkali cannot be the basis. The bases generally taste bitter and are slippery to touch. On reacting with acids, bases produce salt.

Is milk an alkaline?

Why is milk a supposed remedy for heartburn? – Why is milk considered to be a useful remedy for heartburn ? In the presence of supposed excess stomach acid (this isn’t always the case as I will go on to discuss later) milk is assumed to have a neutralising effect.

See, hydrochloric acid combines with other substances to make up your stomach acid. Stomach acid has a pH which ranges from 1-3, so we can safely say it is strongly acidic. Milk is presumed to be alkaline, although it actually comes in at between pH 6.5 and 6.7 which makes it slightly acidic Therefore, it can neutralize stomach acid to some degree but not as much as you might assume.

What must be taken into consideration though is that although milk may be more alkaline than stomach acid, the composition of the milk itself actually makes it acid-producing. Milk is rich in both saturated fat and protein which stimulate the release of hydrochloric acid from parietal cells in the gastric glands of the stomach.

Foods or drinks disproportionally high in fat also risk delaying stomach emptying and cause the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) to relax prematurely; a combination of which can result in indigestion and heartburn. Then, it’s important to remember that your stomach has a protective mucous layer which acts as a barrier against the erosive effects of your stomach acid; however, your oesophagus isn’t so lucky – if stomach acid splashes back up into your gullet – known as acid reflux – you are likely to feel the intense, burning sensation you know as heartburn.

Heartburn can be so painful many people do actually mistake it for a problem with their heart! This can be distressing, so effective home remedies are in high demand. So, in summary, what are my thoughts on milk for soothing heartburn? Yes, perhaps it is possible that milk could offer some sort of short-lived relief of heartburn, but, realistically in the long-term, consuming too much of certain types of foods or drinks could actually be making your problem worse.

Is Sugar an alkaline?

The alkaline diet may support health by limiting processed foods and promoting more whole foods. But it does not help fight disease by affecting your body’s pH levels. The alkaline diet is based on the idea that replacing acid-forming foods with alkaline foods can improve your health.

Overall score: 2.13 Weight loss: 2.5 Healthy eating: 1.75 Sustainability: 2.5 Whole body health: 0.5 Nutrition quality: 3.5 Evidence based: 2

BOTTOM LINE: The Alkaline Diet is said to fight disease and cancer, but its claims aren’t backed by science. Although it may aid your health by restricting junk foods and promoting more plant foods, this has nothing to do with your body’s pH levels. The alkaline diet is also known as the acid-alkaline diet or alkaline ash diet.

  1. Its premise is that your diet can alter the pH value — the measurement of acidity or alkalinity — of your body.
  2. Your metabolism — the conversion of food into energy — is sometimes compared to fire.
  3. Both involve a chemical reaction that breaks down a solid mass.
  4. However, the chemical reactions in your body happen in a slow and controlled manner.

When things burn, an ash residue is left behind. Similarly, the foods you eat leave an “ash” residue known as metabolic waste. This metabolic waste can be alkaline, neutral, or acidic. Proponents of this diet claim that metabolic waste can directly affect your body’s acidity.

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In other words, if you eat foods that leave acidic ash, it makes your blood more acidic. If you eat foods that leave alkaline ash, it makes your blood more alkaline. According to the acid-ash hypothesis, acidic ash is thought to make you vulnerable to illness and disease, whereas alkaline ash is considered protective.

By choosing more alkaline foods, you should be able to “alkalize” your body and improve your health. Food components that leave an acidic ash include protein, phosphate, and sulfur, while alkaline components include calcium, magnesium, and potassium ( 1, 2 ).

Acidic: meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, alcohol Neutral: natural fats, starches, and sugars Alkaline: fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables

Summary According to proponents of the alkaline diet, the metabolic waste — or ash — left from the burning of foods can directly affect the acidity or alkalinity of your body. When discussing the alkaline diet, it’s important to understand pH. Put simply, pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline something is. The pH value ranges from 0–14:

Acidic: 0.0–6.9 Neutral: 7.0 Alkaline (or basic): 7.1–14.0

Many proponents of this diet suggest that people monitor the pH of their urine to ensure that it is alkaline (over 7) and not acidic (below 7). However, it’s important to note that pH varies greatly within your body. While some parts are acidic, others are alkaline — there is no set level.

Your stomach is loaded with hydrochloric acid, giving it a pH of 2–3.5, which is highly acidic. This acidity is necessary to break down food. On the other hand, human blood is always slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.36–7.44 ( 3 ). When your blood pH falls out of the normal range, it can be fatal if left untreated ( 4 ).

However, this only happens during certain disease states, such as ketoacidosis caused by diabetes, starvation, or alcohol intake ( 5, 6, 7 ). Summary The pH value measures a substance’s acidity or alkalinity. For example, stomach acid is highly acidic, while blood is slightly alkaline.

It’s critical for your health that the pH of your blood remains constant. If it were to fall outside of the normal range, your cells would stop working and you would die very quickly if untreated. For this reason, your body has many effective ways to closely regulate its pH balance. This is known as acid-base homeostasis.

In fact, it’s nearly impossible for food to change the pH value of blood in healthy people, although tiny fluctuations can occur within the normal range. However, food can change the pH value of your urine — though the effect is somewhat variable ( 1, 8 ).

  • Excreting acids in your urine is one of the main ways your body regulates its blood pH.
  • If you eat a large steak, your urine will be more acidic several hours later as your body removes the metabolic waste from your system.
  • Therefore, urine pH is a poor indicator of overall body pH and general health.

It can also be influenced by factors other than your diet. Summary Your body tightly regulates blood pH levels. In healthy people, diet doesn’t significantly affect blood pH, but it can change urine pH. Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease characterized by a decrease in bone mineral content.

  1. It’s particularly common among postmenopausal women and can drastically increase your risk of fractures.
  2. Many alkaline-diet proponents believe that to maintain a constant blood pH, your body takes alkaline minerals, such as calcium from your bones, to buffer the acids from the acid-forming foods you eat.

According to this theory, acid-forming diets, such as the standard Western diet, will cause a loss in bone mineral density. This theory is known as the “acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis.” However, this theory ignores the function of your kidneys, which are fundamental to removing acids and regulating body pH.

The kidneys produce bicarbonate ions that neutralize acids in your blood, enabling your body to closely manage blood pH ( 9 ). Your respiratory system is also involved in controlling blood pH. When bicarbonate ions from your kidneys bind to acids in your blood, they form carbon dioxide, which you breathe out, and water, which you pee out.

The acid-ash hypothesis also ignores one of the main drivers of osteoporosis — a loss in the protein collagen from bone ( 10, 11 ). Ironically, this loss of collagen is strongly linked to low levels of two acids — orthosilicic acid and ascorbic acid, or vitamin C — in your diet ( 12 ).

  • Eep in mind that scientific evidence linking dietary acid to bone density or fracture risk is mixed.
  • While many observational studies have found no association, others have detected a significant link ( 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 ).
  • Clinical trials, which tend to be more accurate, have concluded that acid-forming diets have no impact on calcium levels in your body ( 9, 18, 19 ).

If anything, these diets improve bone health by increasing calcium retention and activating the IGF-1 hormone, which stimulates the repair of muscle and bone ( 20, 21 ). As such, a high-protein, acid-forming diet is likely linked to better bone health — not worse.

  1. Summary Although evidence is mixed, most research does not support the theory that acid-forming diets harm your bones.
  2. Protein, an acidic nutrient, even seems to be beneficial.
  3. Many people argue that cancer only grows in an acidic environment and can be treated or even cured with an alkaline diet.
  4. However, comprehensive reviews on the relationship between diet-induced acidosis — or increased blood acidity caused by diet — and cancer concluded that there is no direct link ( 22, 23 ).

First, food doesn’t significantly influence blood pH ( 8, 24 ). Second, even if you assume that food could dramatically alter the pH value of blood or other tissues, cancer cells are not restricted to acidic environments. In fact, cancer grows in normal body tissue, which has a slightly alkaline pH of 7.4.

  1. Many experiments have successfully grown cancer cells in an alkaline environment ( 25 ).
  2. And while tumors grow faster in acidic environments, tumors create this acidity themselves.
  3. It is not the acidic environment that creates cancer cells, but cancer cells that create the acidic environment ( 26 ).
  4. Summary There is no link between an acid-forming diet and cancer.

Cancer cells also grow in alkaline environments. Examining the acid-alkaline theory from both an evolutionary and scientific perspective reveals discrepancies. One study estimated that 87% of pre-agricultural humans ate alkaline diets and formed the central argument behind the modern alkaline diet ( 27 ).

  1. More recent research approximates that half of pre-agricultural humans ate net alkaline-forming diets, while the other half ate net acid-forming diets ( 28 ).
  2. Eep in mind that our remote ancestors lived in vastly different climates with access to diverse foods.
  3. In fact, acid-forming diets were more common as people moved further north of the equator, away from the tropics ( 29 ).

Although around half of hunter-gatherers were eating a net acid-forming diet, modern diseases are believed to have been much less common ( 30 ). Summary Current studies suggest that about half of ancestral diets were acid-forming, especially among people who lived far from the equator.

  1. The alkaline diet is quite healthy, encouraging a high intake of fruits, vegetables, and healthy plant foods while restricting processed junk foods.
  2. However, the notion that the diet boosts health because of its alkalizing effects is suspect.
  3. These claims haven’t been proven by any reliable human studies.

Some studies suggest positive effects in a very small subset of the population. Specifically, a low-protein alkalizing diet may benefit people with chronic kidney disease ( 31 ). In general, the alkaline diet is healthy because it’s based on whole and unprocessed foods,

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Is Garlic an acid?

Is Garlic Acidic? – When it comes to measuring the acidity of a food, the pH scale is commonly used. This scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic, 7 being neutral, and 14 being the most alkaline. Foods with a pH of less than 7 are considered acidic, while those with a pH greater than 7 are alkaline.

So where does garlic fit on this scale? Raw garlic typically ranges from 5.3 to 6.3, which means it is slightly acidic. However, this pH level only refers to the raw garlic before it is eaten. Once garlic is metabolized in the body, it becomes alkaline-forming due to its high content of sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin.

These compounds help to neutralize acid in the stomach and promote a healthy pH balance in the body. It’s worth noting that the pH of garlic can vary depending on several factors, including the type of garlic, how it’s prepared, and the conditions it’s stored in.

Is Lemon water alkaline?

Ice water with lemon! Ah, lemon water. The tonic used by so many to “cure” what ails you. In fact, there are reports of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans using lemons for medicinal purposes. Lemons contain a good amount of Vitamin C as well as trace amounts of folate and potassium. Lemon water (water with a bit of lemon juice) is not alkaline, but rather, it has an alkaline effect on your body. Whether food has an acidic or alkaline effect on the body has little to do with the food’s pH before it is digested. Something called the PRAL (Potential Renal Acid Load) Score calculates the amount of acid expected to reach your kidneys after your body metabolizes that food. Other foods that have a negative PRAL score include: – Asparagus – Broccoli – Zucchini – Spinach – Carrots – Celery – Tomatoes – Potatoes – Apricots – Pears – Pineapple – and more Bottom line? Lemon water, in itself, is not alkaline. However, it has an alkalizing effect on the body once it’s metabolized.

Be careful with the type of water you mix lemon juice with. You should be using water that’s free of contaminants. The best way to get clean, alkaline water is from a water ionizer, right at your countertop. That being said, pH in drinking water is in the ideal range of 9 – 9.5 on the pH scale, something that lemon water alone cannot achieve.

A water ionizer (ideally with a footprint the size of a toaster) is an electronic water filter that can create alkaline water with the desired pH range. Connect it to your kitchen water supply to perform controlled low voltage electrolysis on tap water before you drink it or use it in the kitchen for cooking or cleaning.

A special attachment redirects tap water out of the faucet through a plastic hose into the water ionizer unit. Inside the unit, the water is first filtered. which helps to remove common pollutants found in city water. Then this filtered water passes into a chamber equipped with platinum-coated titanium electrodes.

Here is where the electrolysis takes place. Cations, positive ions, gather at the negative electrodes creating cathodic or reduced water (alkaline water). Anions, negatively charged ions, gather at the positive electrode to make anodic or oxidized water (acidic water).

  • The reduced alkaline ionized water comes out of the water ionizer faucet, and the oxidized water comes out of a separate hose leading into the sink.
  • You can use alkaline water for drinking or cooking.
  • The oxidation potential of the acidic water makes it a good sterilizing agent, helpful for washing your hands, cleaning food or kitchen utensils, and treating minor wounds and eczema.

There are many uses for acidic water as well. AlkaViva water ionizers ionize the water and add health-giving hydrogen (or H2) to the water. The process of ionization makes the water more bio-available and you’ll notice the water is light, great-tasting and easily absorbed.

Can you touch alkalis?

We should not touch or taste Alkali because they are corrosive in nature. So it can burn skin or toungue. Alakalis are kept in separate containers with hazard warning sign to show that they are corrosive.

Is 9.5 pH water bad for you?

Dear Doctor: We’ve lived in our house for years – and raised three boys on well water. All have been reasonably healthy. But I recently learned that the well water’s pH is 8.5 plus. Any concerns with the high pH? The pH of water can range from acidic to basic on the pH scale of 1 to 14, with the pH of pure water at about 7.

A pH less than 7 makes the water more acidic, while a PH greater than 7 makes water more alkaline (basic). The danger of more acidic water – when the pH is less than 6.5 – is that it can leach metals from the well and from the pipes that bring you water. These metals include lead, manganese, copper and iron, and they can be toxic in large amounts.

So acidic water obviously poses a health risk. Fortunately, the same is not true of more alkaline water. There has been no evidence of harm found in drinking water with a pH of between 7 and 8.5. (Interesting to note: The pH of human blood is a little on the basic side, 7.365.) When the PH of water becomes greater than 8.5, water taste can become more bitter.

  • This elevated pH can also lead to calcium and magnesium carbonate building up in your pipes.
  • While this higher pH doesn’t pose any health risks, it can cause skin to become dry, itchy and irritated.
  • So, if you or your children are having any skin issues, the pH of your well water could be a reason.
  • Many companies have advertised the benefits of alkaline water, that is, waters with pH levels greater than 8.5.

People who sell such products say that alkaline water has benefits in lowering blood sugar, improving gut health and improving the hydration of extreme athletes. None of this has been well-studied in humans. In addition, our kidneys are the best filtration system in maintaining the acid-base status within our bodies.

  1. Because I can be somewhat obsessive about things, I support knowing the pH of one’s well water, more to protect against excessive acidity than high alkalinity.
  2. For people with water pH less than 6.5, I would look at ways to make the water more basic.
  3. Those with water pH between 6.5 and 8.5 can rest more easily.

Even if the PH is greater than 8.5, the water is still probably safe, but you may want to acidify the water if you are noticing skin problems. Lastly, whether bottled or from your own well, continue to drink water. We live in a society where the consumption of water is intertwined with the use of sweeteners.

  1. This is seen not only in the plethora of sodas that we consume, but also in the number of juices, energy drinks, flavored waters and other drinks with chemical sweeteners.
  2. A slightly high pH or not, water is the healthiest drink you can choose.
  3. Robert Ashley, MD, is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ask the Doctors is a syndicated column first published by UExpress syndicate.