Alkaline Water and Stomach Acid

Alkaline water and it’s relation to stomach acid is the biggest question we get asked about alkaline water.

Dr. Jerry Tennant, MD, MD(H),PScD

Our ability to understand the body’s ability to switch pH begins with an understanding of digestion. Some critics say that eating food and drinking alkaline water that contains electrons has no effect on total body voltage (pH). They simply don’t understand gastrointestinal physiology. When food or water is placed into the stomach, the stomach must go to a pH of 2.0 (+280 millivolts). It does this by inserting HCL (hydrochloric acid). It accomplishes this with the chemical reaction NaCL + H2O + CO2 = HCL + NaHCO3. This reaction requires iodine and zinc as well as vitamin B1 and salt. It also requires the voltage for it to occur. Note that when the stomach acid, it inserts sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), an electron donor, into the bloodstream. The amount of bicarbonate injected into the blood is dictated by the amount of HCl needed to achieve a pH of 2.0 (+280 millivolts). The bicarbonate is a buffer-it doesn’t change the voltage of the blood but does change its ability to absorb electron stealers.

If the food/water that is consumed is alkaline, it will require more HCL to bring the pH of the stomach down to 2.0, and thus there will be more bicarbonate injected into the blood. This explains why eating food and drinking alkaline water that contains electrons affects the blood. The fact that the stomach acid neutralized alkaline water does not invalidate alkaline water’s benefits-it just means that more HCL will be required to bring the stomach to pH 2.0, and thus the blood contains more buffers.

Not having or making stomach acid has consequences. Let’s say you drink a carbonated beverage. Coca-Cola has a pH of 2.5. Thus, very little HCL is manufactured to bring the stomach to 2.0. Now it arrives at the small intestine. It must be alkalized since the small intestine is not able to cope with this acid. The pancreas makes sodium bicarbonate and bile to neutralize the stomach acid. It does it by the same formula as the stomach uses, only in reverse. As it puts bicarbonate into the small intestine, it puts HCL into the blood. If the stomach was stimulated to put bicarbonate into the blood when it made HCL, it can now be used to neutralize this HCL inserted by the pancreas. But in the Cola example, little bicarbonate was injected into the blood by the stomach so there is less buffer available to deal with the HCL injected into the blood by the pancreas’s need to neutralize the stomach acid it receives. Thus, the total body voltage is decreased by drinking the Cola.

It is important to note that the amount of electron donors (amylase and sodium bicarbonate) that the pancreas makes during normal digestion is adequate to reverse the +280 millivolts of normal stomach acid to -57 millivolts in the small intestine.