Neutralising Acid: Is Alkaline Water Good for Gout?


As a type of inflammatory arthritis, gout can be an extremely painful and debilitating condition. It should not be surprising then that most people with gout will consider almost any potential aid to reduce symptoms, including diet changes, exercises, and supplements. For this reason, many people with gout will have heard of alkaline water - but what exactly is this? And more importantly, is alkaline water good for gout?

What is Alkaline Water?

"Alkali" is an ionic salt of an earth metal that dissolves in water. Alkalis have a pH greater than 7.0 - for those who remember their chemistry classes at school, alkalis sit at the opposite end of the pH scale to acids. For example, on the pH scale (which ranges from 0 to 14), substances with a pH of 1.0 would be very acidic while a substance with a pH of 13.0 would be very alkaline. In contrast to both acidic and alkaline water, normal water that we tend to get in bottles or from our taps at home is usually neutral; this means it has a pH level of around seven. 

Natural alkaline minerals such as such as calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium can all influence the pH level of water. However, water can also be made more alkaline through a process called electrolysis. This process works by sending an electric current to split water into acidic and alkaline components and the alkaline component is used for bottling. 

Alkaline water can be bought in some supermarkets and used as an alternative to normal drinking water. It has become increasingly popular in the UK and other countries in recent years due to its potential health benefits.

What are the Benefits of Alkaline Water?

Alkaline water is often purported to have several potential benefits for health, from helping to regulate pH levels by neutralising acid in the body,

preventing diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and even slowing the ageing process. Furthermore, some evidence suggests that drinking alkaline water helps to boost hydration and reduce the accumulation of lactic acid after exercise.

Alkaline water may also benefit bone health by neutralising acid in the body. Bones are extremely sensitive to pH changes with new bone being unable to form in acidic conditions. Some studies, including a 2009 study which assessed the effects of calcium-rich alkaline water on a sample of 30 participants, and a 2021 study which focused on 100 post-menopausal women, suggest that alkaline water consumption may be associated with fewer markers of bone resorption as well as enhanced bone density.

But you may be wondering, "What does any of this have to do with gout?".

Is Alkaline Water Good for Gout?

In recent years, as the popularity of alkaline water has increased, so too has the number of people interested in its potential for helping with gout symptoms. This has become the topic of many debates across the internet as some argue that switching to alkaline water could help with some of the symptoms of this painful condition. 

Gout is a relatively common arthritic condition caused by excess uric acid in the body. High levels of uric acid can lead to the formation of sharp crystals in and around the joints which can cause severe pain and swelling in the affected area during a gout flare-up. Given the apparent acid-neutralising potential of alkaline water, it is understandable why so many people are interested in these products for relieving their symptoms. But what does the evidence say?

Boosting Hydration

While several options can help with the burden of gout, one of the most significant things patients can do is stay hydrated. In fact, this remains one of the primary recommendations from healthcare professionals. The hydration-boosting potential and elevated alkili content of alkaline water may help to promote uric acid excretion, but more research is needed to confirm this.

Alkaline Water, Uric Acid, and Urinary Stones 

A high proportion of people with gout may also have a history of urinary stones that can also be linked to a build-up of uric acid in the body. Increasing urinary pH is a key strategy in preventing the formation of certain types of urinary stones, including uric acid and cystine stones. Patients with recurrent urinary stones may be prescribed potassium citrate tablets to raise pH levels in the urine; however, there is evidence that a growing number of people are showing interest in alkaline water as a potential alternative. 

A recent study assessed whether commercially available alkaline water products could be helpful in preventing urinary stones. The researchers tested five brands of alkaline water, all of which had a pH level of around 10. However, they found that, despite having a higher pH than regular water, they concluded that "commercially available alkaline water has negligible alkali content and thus provides no added benefits over tap water for patients with uric acid and cystine [stones]."


Despite some promising preliminary findings, more rigorous studies are needed to recommend the potential of alkaline water in any of these settings - including in the management of gout symptoms. Furthermore, while high-alkali products may be beneficial for reducing uric acid levels in the body, evidence suggests that commercial alkaline water products do not contain enough alkili may make them effective for the treatment of gout and other symptoms of elevated uric acid levels.

To conclude, while drinking alkaline water is extremely unlikely to negatively affect your health or make gout symptoms worse, evidence for the benefit is extremely limited. Always speak to your doctor or a qualified dietitian before trying any holistic remedies for gout or other conditions.


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