Functional waters are any brand of H2O “enhanced” with special ingredients, like herbs or antioxidants, that supposedly bring health benefits. Some types make sense to drink: Water with added electrolytes may be useful if you exercise a lot and sweat heavily and need to replenish sodium and other electrolytes quickly, or if you have a diarrheal illness and areÂ potentially losing electrolytes that way. And waters with added vitamins can give you a nutritional boost (though you absorb vitamins better when you get them through food).
RELATED:Â 15 Big Benefits of Water
Be more skeptical of any brandsÂ that claimÂ to alterÂ the bodyâ€™s pH, as well as onesÂ that have added hydrogenÂ to purportedlyÂ load youÂ upÂ with extra antioxidant power. Thereâ€™s no credible scienceÂ to back these claims. OneÂ 2012 lab study found that alkaline water with a pH ofÂ 8.8 neutralized pepsin, a stomach enzyme involved in breaking down food proteins and producing stomach acid, which suggests it might help soothe acid refluxâ€”but it hasnâ€™t been studied in people yet.Â For the most part, your body is designed to maintain its own pH balance naturally, and what you eat or drink doesnâ€™t change that.
Healthâ€™s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.
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