Water is vital for life. And as you think about that, your brain is in fact 75% water. Check out some random water facts from the EPA. Or check out this link for some more fun facts. For instance, 80% of an infant’s bodyweight is water. To get to the point though…
I recently wrote an article on the importance of hydration while training in the heat. Water is vital for the survival of life. If you are lucky enough to live in a state with quality municipal water sources or well water, then when thirst hits you grab a glass and open the tap. Many cities in the south west however have less than quality municipal tap water thus they buy bottled water. The crazy part is if you get in your time machine and go back to the 80s or beyond the idea of bottled water was laughable. From the years 2000-2015 the bottled water industry grew an astonishing 120%, and there is even an International Bottled Water Association. Yeah, that last fact blew my mind too.
Go to any convenience, grocery, or supplement/health food store and you will not only find regular bottled drinking water and spring water, but now enhanced water. That’s right, science has found a way to beef up the most organic and plentiful substance on our planet.
So as you stand at the cooler deciding what water to buy, have some knowledge to go with your purchase and hydrating.
DRINKING WATER– It is just that, the most basic of water. It usually comes from a municipal source. Keep in mind though that the source may not be your local neighborhood or even your state. Most of this water goes through any variation of filters to remove impurities and improve taste. They might also add things like minimal amounts of sodium and magnesium to improve taste as they claim.
You can buy anywhere from 20 ounces to up to 5 gallons for as little as $1.00.
SPRING WATER– While this may invoke thoughts of crystal clear water running through a lush meadow with deer grazing and birds chirping, the truth is its pretty much on par with your regular drinking water. According to the FDA, Spring Water must be derived from an underground formation of water. It doesn’t say that water can’t be pumped and trucked. Spring water often tastes different due to the natural mineral content that isn’t present or as plentiful in tap water.
Spring water tends to equal in price to Drinking Water, or a few cents more per container.
Now here is where the enhanced hydration comes in….
ELECTROLYTE/VITAMIN WATER– While water on its own is important, it is still usually void of electrolytes. In fact, drinking a lot of water can actually flush electrolytes from your body. This is rather counterproductive as one of the jobs of electrolytes is to maintain fluid balance in the body.
One of if not the earliest electrolyte enhanced water can be traced back to 1996, the brain child of J. Darius Bikoff. He created a vapor distilled (water is heated to steam to remove impurities then condensed back to liquid ) water fortified with calcium, magnesium and potassium. A few years later a vitamin enhanced water followed. These types of water are great choices as they replace electrolytes and vitamins that can be victims of sweating or lost in urination. It should be noted that the vitamin enhanced waters can have added sugars (fructose/fruit sugar) but have in recent years been sold with natural nonnutritive sweeteners.
Electrolyte waters and vitamin enhanced waters cost on average slightly more than regular drinking water. However, the added nutrients are worth the extra price point. You can even save money since most generic and store brands now offer electrolyte and vitamin enhanced water.
ALKALINE WATER– This relatively new comer to the enhanced hydration world has really caught on in the fitness and natural health community. While debated by some medical experts, the body needs to be slightly alkaline to be in balance and thus work properly. Many foods and beverages we consume are acidic and thus make our body acidic. High acidity in the body can cause fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, etc. So the belief is that by consuming more Alkaline foods and beverages we can reverse the effects of an acidic environment. Most Alkaline bottled water is said to be an 8.0 or 9.0 pH. Basically pH is a measure of hydrogen ion concentration and is measured on a scale of zero (acidic) to fourteen (most alkaline). Most regular bottled waters have an average pH of 7.
So as you sit here, very thirsty and possibly acidic, you’re saying to yourself, “what does all that crazy science talk mean?”
The simple version is that it resets the body so it can work the way it should, and most of all keeps you hydrated.
Now a lot of alkaline bottled water will also contain beneficial minerals, vitamins, and electrolytes.
Does Alkaline bottled water work? Or is it just a bunch of trendy celebrity filled hype? The truth is that there is much debate, even though the medical community is doing more and more studies about acidity in the body. Natural health practitioners and those in the fitness industry feel it is of benefit. Personally I am a fan of it myself and drink it. However, I drink it to supplement my regular water intake.
The choice here is up to the individual. There is a lot of question and a lot of emerging research to go with it.
Alkaline bottled water tends to be the most expensive of the bottled waters (except for imported waters from Italy and France). The expense is on average about fifty cents to a dollar more per bottle. It has become popular for most retailers to sell enhanced bottled water on an average cost of two liter bottles for $3.00-5.00 depending on your area.
Bottled water is here to stay. From regular drinking water from your local tap to glacial water collected drop for drop in ancient caves by monks. The best part is that everything from surplus drinking water to elite enhanced bottled water can have its place in your hydration.