1) Alkaline water
This is created to have a higher pH than that of normal water. PH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. It ranges from 0 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline) and normally water is a neutral 7. Alkaline waters either come from sources naturally high in alkalising minerals or go through a process called ionizing, which removes acidic particles taking them to a pH of 8+.
‘The theory behind this is that the body doesn’t thrive in an acidic state, yet much of our diet and elements of life, including stress, put us into one,’ explains nutritionist and health coach Fran McElwaine (franmac.com). ‘There’s a belief from some experts that consuming more alkaline food and drinks might rebalance things.’
Devotees swear by it but many scientists say it isn’t possible – that the body won’t deviate from its balanced pH of 7.4 no matter what you put in it. Fran steers a middle ground. ‘I don’t completely disagree with the idea of the alkaline diet. But is simply drinking alkaline water going to make any difference to your health if you’re also glugging down coffee or eating a diet high in meat (both acid forming)? Probably not.’
People who might benefit from alkaline water are those with acid reflux, as drinking alkaline water has been shown to deactivate an enzyme in the stomach called pepsin. It causes much of the damage associated with reflux, leading researchers in New York to suggest alkaline water might work for these people.
Try out alkalising water at home
You can buy an alkalising water jug that ionizes your water at home. The PH Replenish Alkaline Water Pitcher (amazon.co.uk) is as pretty as it is functional. Or try, Flow (drinksupermarket.com), a ready-to-drink naturally alkaline water in recyclable packaging. There’s also Actiph (ocado.com), which has a pH of 9+.
2) Hydrogen water
Remember school chemistry lessons when you learned that water was made up of two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen one? Well, hydrogen water has three hydrogen molecules. It’s made by infusing extra hydrogen gas through normal water before it’s then bottled.
‘The idea is that adding the extra hydrogen atom increases the water’s anti-inflammatory potential and also acts as an antioxidant,’ explains Daniel O’Shaughnessy aka The Naked Nutritionist (thenaked nutritionist.co.uk).
Hydrogen water has been a big health trend in Japan for a long time and, during that time, has attracted the attention of scientists who’ve done a few studies on it – what they’ve discovered is that there’s some truth to the theory.
One study showed evidence of reduced damage by oxidation in 49 people having radiation treatment. This doesn’t mean it has any effect on the cancer itself, but it might make the treatment a bit kinder to the body.
Other studies have linked drinking hydrogen water to healthy gut bacteria and reductions in cholesterol and inflammation.
Lastly, football players drinking it experienced less lactic acid build-up and decreased muscle fatigue after exercise. As promising as that sounds though, the trials did involve people drinking as much as two litres of water a day in some cases, which is a lot of liquid. Whether you get the same results from a smaller intake isn’t known.
Try hydrogen water at home:
The most affordable solution is bottles that create hydrogen water, such as the Osmio Hydrogen Water Bottle (£79.99, osmiowater.co.uk). It works a bit like a soda stream. Put the water in, press the button and five minutes later you have hydrogen water! They also do counter-top units that dispense hydrogen water at room temperature, 65 degrees, 85 degrees and even 100 degrees C, meaning you can make a quick hydrogen-filled cuppa without boiling the kettle!
“We’ve got one of these at home and it’s fantastic! You can even use the 65-degree setting to make up a bottle of formula (it’s designed for that). I can definitely taste a diffecence between water that’s been filtered by this machine and our tap water. Our regular tap water is filtered anyway to take out bad smells and tastes, but when it’s gone through the Osmio filter it has a different taste to it so I can tell something has happened to it. It’s too soon to tell whether it’s going to rejuvenate me from the inside out but it’s such an easy device to use, I’ll keep on drinking and report back…” Katy, Top Santé’s Editor.
3) EZ Water
This type of water is a bit different from the others in that it’s a term used to describe a type of water found in your body. The initials EZ stand for “extrinsic zone”, which is an area surrounding your cells.
Exposure to infrared and UV rays, which go through your skin, alters the structure of water molecules in this layer, bringing them closer together than in normal water. This creates water with more viscosity than normal; some describe it as being like honey. One researcher in this field, Dr Gerald Pollack from the University of Washington in the US, has named EZ water the “fourth phase of water” (ice, liquid and gas being the other three).
Although EZ water forms naturally in your body, there are now companies creating water for drinking that mimics this natural fluid. This water has been altered by spinning or the use of magnets to give it a negative charge. It’s claimed that this creates a form of water that’s purer and more readily able to deliver energy to your body. It’s sold under a lot of different names including EZ water, renatured water, structured water and vortex water.
‘I haven’t seen any concrete evidence for its claims, but you don’t need to drink EZ water to get the good effects,’ says Daniel.
‘You can simply create more EZ water in your cells by drinking raw vegetable juices, using an infrared sauna or sitting in the sun for a few minutes.’
Try EZ water at home:
Try Divinia Water (£70 for 12, aggressivehealthshop.com). You can also buy vortex filters online, which claim to create EZ water.
More plus waters to try…
While the waters we’ve mentioned all have something different about their structure, a second class of plus water has things added to enhance the health effects. These include…
PROTEIN WATER: Upbeat (sainsburys.co.uk) is enhanced with B vitamins for energy and a shot of whey protein providing the equivalent protein of two eggs.
CAFFEINE WATER: As it says on the tin, it’s got a shot of caffeine in it. Virtue Energy Water (hollandandbarrett.com) uses caffeine from guarana, yerba mate and ginseng to give a dose of 80mg – the same as you’d get in
a cup of coffee.
CBD WATER: Love Hemp Water (hollandandbarrett.com) contains 1mg of CBD oil. This is known to have a relaxing effect but without the THC in cannabis that causes you to get high.