PH is a categorical value for water quality. It refers to the concentration of hydrogen in water or another element. Its value always ranges from 1 to 14. When this is 7, the substance is considered neutral. If it’s older, it tends to be alkaline. Instead, when it’s lower, it tends to acid. The body’s natural pH is 7.4. The pH of healthy water is between 7.2 and 7.8. Do you know what the pH of the water you drink is? Here’s what we explain.
Healthy water values
Our organism naturally has a pH of 7.4, very close to the neutral value. Consumption of foods or beverages that are too acidic or too alkaline alters the natural pH, facilitating the development of bacteria and other microorganisms. The water removed and not replenished also alters the pH, making it more acidic.
In the face of these alterations, the body tends to restore its natural pH through homeostasis. When it comes to stabilizing pH, water plays a key role. That’s why we should always stay well hydrated.
However, not any water helps stabilization. In fact, if the pH of the water is altered and is less than 7, it will only help to acidify the body more.
The consequences are known: acidosis, body stress, fatigue and lack of energy. Also, premature aging due to oxidative stress, digestive and circulatory problems, and not least, tooth decay due to acids.
Drinking water should have a pH between 7.2 and 7.8, i.e. slightly alkaline. But the pH of the water may vary depending on the use to which it is intended. For example, pool water should be closer to neutral, between 7.2 and 7.4. And irrigation water should be slightly acidic, from 6.5 to 7.5.
In Paraguay, the permissible limits of water pH are between 5 and 10. ESSAP reports that it delivers water with a pH of 7.1.
Consequences of high water pH
According to what we have just learned, a pH of high water, i.e. closer to 14, indicates that the water is alkaline. This is a feature of hard water. It’s because they have a lot of dissolved calcium.
In fact, alkaline water is very beneficial for health. It helps restore balance, reducing the degree of internal acidity. However, if it is greater than 7.8, it can cause several problems in the facility and also on health.
Discuss these consequences:
- About the body: digestive difficulties since stomach fluids have a very acidic pH. Pancreatic problems. Destruction of intestinal flora. Eye irritation. Alteration of the immune response to food.
- Facilities: accumulation of tartar. Surface alteration. Decreased capacity of cleaning products. Affectation of the system of household filters or purifiers.
- In water: increases the chances of contamination, sour taste, turbidity.
Alkaline water is considered healthy water, but its pH increases not by containing a higher proportion of dissolved minerals but by a process called ionization. Alkaline water has a pH of 8 to 9.
However, it is not recommended to drink alkaline water for a long time. For example, it can be used for a point cure for 8 to 10 days.
Finding out the pH in a homemade way
The pH of drinking water provided by concessionaires is controlled, and its maintenance is ensured.
However, if you stock up on water from a domestic well, the pH of the water will vary depending on the region you are in. For example, in the area of the San Lorenzo stream, the pH varies between 4.59 and 6.83, i.e. they have an acidic pH. However, they are within the established limits.
To know this value of drinking water in your home, you can acquire test strips. If the pH is acid, the strip will turn to blue; is the basic will tend to read.
You can also create your own pH detector and take advantage of these confinement times to learn something new with kids.
It’s effortless: all you need is purple cabbage leaves or Lombard cabbage. This vegetable contains substances called anthocyanins, which give it its characteristic purple colour, React to acidic or basic elements.
I followed this procedure:
- Boil leaves of purple or Lombard cabbage until intensely coloured.
- Reserve some of the water as a sample to compare the colour.
- Combine a little of the coloured liquid with different substances that, we know, are acidic or alkaline: lemon juice, lavender, baking soda and a glass of filter or canilla water.
- If the substances are acidic, the coloured liquid will turn to blue, green or yellow. The basic ones, they’ll make it reddish. If your home’s water is neutral, it shouldn’t change the colour.
Did you like this experiment to find out the pH of home water? Could you share it?