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Q&A with alk’s in-house nutritionist - Yagmur Meryem Acar


Q&A  

with alk’s in-house nutritionist

Yagmur Meryem Acar

07/10/22

As a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr), Yagmur is passionate about all aspects of health and nutrition. Having received her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Istanbul University, Yagmur has gone on to practice nutrition in London, working on Harley Street. 


Yagmur believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. She comments, “making a lifestyle change is not always so simple, which is why I am dedicated to understanding individual lifestyles - so I can provide practical and tailored advice to each individual using an evidence based approach”. Yagmur works with her clients to understand their psychology and habitual behaviours, so she can help empower them to make that shift to a more healthy life. 


We sat down with Yagmur to understand her take, from a nutritionist perspective, on why alkaline water has power to benefit the body. 

The Q&A

Alk: Why does alkaline water have a reputation as being so good for you? 

Yagmur: Good quality hydration is necessary for nearly every bodily function and alkaline water is reported to have a smoother taste whilst delivering this vital hydration. In the U.S. where drinking alkaline water is widely practised, consumers have stated they have experienced improved overall health.


There are a few studies that suggest drinking alkaline water deactivates pepsin, the enzyme responsible for acid reflux; pepsin survives in an environment with a pH of 7.4, most tap water and bottled water brands don't have a pH above 7.4 (typically they are between pH 6.7 - 7.4). Water with a pH above 8.8 deactivates human pepsin. There is another study published in the National Library of Medicine (2018) showing that evidence has been found to suggest that the daily consumption of alkaline water can bring a range of benefits to the body, from an improvement in sleep and relief from gastrointestinal pain, to improved athletic performance.

Alk: What makes alk water different from other waters and regular tap water?

Yagmur: There are many water options now available in today’s marketplace, but it’s important to consider the taste, minerals, chemical microbial contaminants and heavy metals, all of which contribute to the overall quality. This is what makes alk water stand out. Personally, I like to drink alk water not just for its potential health benefits, but also because of its smooth taste. It’s also a great drink of choice following a sweaty workout rather than drinking regular tap water. 

Alk : What does it mean “to have a higher pH”?

Yagmur: Alkaline refers to part of the pH (potential of hydrogen, since pH is effectively a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions) scale. This scale is from 0-14, the lower numbers are more acidic while the higher numbers are more alkaline with 7 being neutral. Most alkaline waters have a pH of 8 or 9 while ‘regular’ water has a neutral pH of 7. The idea is that drinking alkaline water can help counteract extra acidity in the body. 

Alk: What ingredients are in alkaline water and how is it made?

Yagmur: Alkaline waters are higher in alkalising agents than tap waters, such as Pink Himalayan Rock Salt, Calcium Carbonate and Potassium Chloride. Alkaline water, created by the process of ionisation removes acidic ions, therefore leaving it more alkaline.

Alk: How important is it to have a healthy diet while drinking alk water?

Yagmur: As a Nutritionist, I always encourage people to follow a balanced, nourishing and sustainable diet. We are all unique and this means that conventional one-size-fits-all dietary guidelines aren’t always appropriate at an individual level.

A healthy lifestyle can not only help you feel better, but it can also prevent disease, improve your mood, improve longevity, save you money, rejuvenate your skin and hair but also improve your overall well-being. It will help you to feel better physically and mentally and benefit the environment.


So strive to find a way of eating that works for you. Focus as much as possible on eating whole foods - look to incorporate protein, carbohydrates, non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats in your meals. Make sure to get vitamins and minerals through your diet. Unless you have a specific deficiency, a balanced diet should provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs. 

Alk: How can drinking alkaline water help performance and recovery during and after sport? Do professional athletes drink alkaline water? 

Yagmur: Hydration is the main key when it comes to performance in sports and yes, so many professional athletes drink alkaline water, for example, the two time Super Bowl quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He holds the second largest contract in sporting history! 


Some research suggests that people drinking alkalised mineral water may have improved hydration status after intense exercise. A study published in Biology of Sport (ref 1 & ref 2) suggests alkaline water can also improve athletic performance and post-exercise recovery. 


A recent study also published by the National Library of Medicine (2018), recommended that due to energy demands and the intense sweat rate of combat sports, athletes should consume alkaline mineralised water to improve hydration and anaerobic performance during training and competition.

Alk: How does alk water impact or benefit mental health and clarity? 

Yagmur: Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells and keep organs functioning. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition and mood - even slight dehydration may affect your mood. Since we know that a healthy brain contains up to 78 percent water, it makes sense to drink plenty of good quality water. Aim to reach your daily need (your weight in kg x 0.035) of water to keep hydrated and allow your brain to work as best as it can.

Alk: Can drinking alkaline water help minimise acid reflux? 

Yagmur: As above, it is believed that alkaline water can benefit people who suffer from acid reflux. Some research shows that alkaline water may have benefits for patients with reflux disease. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22844861/)

Alk: Does drinking alkaline water alter the body’s natural pH?

Yagmur: No, simply drinking alkaline water doesn't change the body's pH. The human body—in particular the lungs, liver, and kidneys control and maintain a normal and neutral pH of 7.4 in the blood.

Alk: Interest and study in alkaline water is growing and there are a lot of questions about its health benefits - what are your thoughts?

Yagmur: The key message always is to stay as hydrated as possible and alkaline water can help with this. Staying hydrated is important for your overall health and well-being. It's essential for our body to function properly - organ health, regulating body temperature, maintaining good digestion and more. 

Water also, of course, prevents dehydration and there’s still further ongoing research to better understand the health benefits of drinking alkaline water. My personal belief is it’s best to hydrate with clean, good quality water and one you like the taste of; I personally choose to drink alk water.

Alk: Is there a best time to drink alkaline water?

Yagmur: The best time to drink alkaline water is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, it can help you kickstart your day. Drinking alkaline water before meals can help increase feelings of fullness and may promote weight loss in older adults (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17228036/), but I would recommend not to drink alkaline water whilst you are eating as nutrient digestion and absorption is best achieved in the acidic environment created within the stomach. Drinking alkaline water before, during and after exercise can replenish any lost fluids to optimise performance and recovery. However, the most important thing is to drink water consistently throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Alk: What would you say is the recipe for maintaining a well balanced lifestyle?

Yagmur: I believe that the key to a balanced lifestyle is exactly that, balance. By ensuring that our mind, body and spirit are all exercised, fed and nurtured we empower ourselves to live our best life. I have listed some of my habits and routines below in order to achieve this.

  • A balanced diet, making your health a priority.
  • Regular physical activity, reduce sitting and screen time.
  • Maintaining a regular sleep pattern, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • Stress management, walking in nature, writing, meditation, reading and yoga.
  • Drinking more water and reducing added sugar intake.
  • Make sure to get rest and listen to your body, your body knows best!


As a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr), Yagmur is passionate about all aspects of health and nutrition. Having received her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Istanbul University, Yagmur has gone on to practice nutrition in London, working on Harley Street. 


Yagmur believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. She comments, “making a lifestyle change is not always so simple, which is why I am dedicated to understanding individual lifestyles - so I can provide practical and tailored advice to each individual using an evidence based approach”.  Yagmur works with her clients to understand their psychology and habitual behaviours, so she can help empower them to make that shift to a more healthy life. 


We sat down with Yagmur to understand her take, from a nutritionist perspective, on why alkaline water has power to benefit the body. 

The Q&A

Alk: Why does alkaline water have a reputation as being so good for you? 

Yagmur: Good quality hydration is necessary for nearly every bodily function and alkaline water is reported to have a smoother taste whilst delivering this vital hydration. In the U.S. where drinking alkaline water is widely practised, consumers have stated they have experienced improved overall health.


There are a few studies that suggest drinking alkaline water deactivates pepsin, the enzyme responsible for acid reflux; pepsin survives in an environment with a pH of 7.4, most tap water and bottled water brands don't have a pH above 7.4 (typically they are between pH 6.7 - 7.4). Water with a pH above 8.8 deactivates human pepsin. There is another study published in the National Library of Medicine  (2018) showing that evidence has been found to suggest that the daily consumption of alkaline water can bring a range of benefits to the body, from an improvement in sleep and relief from gastrointestinal pain, to improved athletic performance.

Alk: What makes alk water different from other waters and regular tap water?

Yagmur: There are many water options now available in today’s marketplace, but it’s important to consider the taste, minerals, chemical microbial contaminants and heavy metals, all of which contribute to the overall quality. This is what makes alk water stand out. Personally, I like to drink alk water not just for its potential health benefits, but also because of its smooth taste. It’s also a great drink of choice following a sweaty workout rather than drinking regular tap water. 

Alk : What does it mean “to have a higher pH”?

Yagmur: Alkaline refers to part of the pH (potential of hydrogen, since pH is effectively a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions) scale. This scale is from 0-14, the lower numbers are more acidic while the higher numbers are more alkaline with 7 being neutral. Most alkaline waters have a pH of 8 or 9 while ‘regular’ water has a neutral pH of 7. The idea is that drinking alkaline water can help counteract extra acidity in the body. 

Alk: What ingredients are in alkaline water and how is it made?

Yagmur: Alkaline waters are higher in alkalising agents than tap waters, such as Pink Himalayan Rock Salt, Calcium Carbonate and  Potassium Chloride. Alkaline water, created by the process of ionisation removes acidic ions, therefore leaving it more alkaline.

Alk: How important is it to have a healthy diet while drinking alk water?

Yagmur: As a Nutritionist, I always encourage people to follow a balanced, nourishing and sustainable diet. We are all unique and this means that conventional one-size-fits-all dietary guidelines aren’t always appropriate at an individual level.

A healthy lifestyle can not only help you feel better, but it can also prevent disease, improve your mood, improve longevity, save you money, rejuvenate your skin and hair but also improve your overall well-being. It will help you to feel better physically and mentally and benefit the environment.


So strive to find a way of eating that works for you. Focus as much as possible on eating whole foods - look to incorporate protein, carbohydrates, non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats in your meals. Make sure to get vitamins and minerals through your diet. Unless you have a specific deficiency, a balanced diet should provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs. 

Alk: How can drinking alkaline water help performance and recovery during and after sport? Do professional athletes drink alkaline water? 

Yagmur: Hydration is the main key when it comes to performance in sports and yes, so many professional athletes drink alkaline water, for example, the two time Super Bowl quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He holds the second largest contract in sporting history! 


Some research suggests that people drinking alkalised mineral water may have improved hydration status after intense exercise. A study published in Biology of Sport (ref 1 & ref 2) suggests alkaline water can also improve athletic performance and post-exercise recovery. 


A recent study also published by the National Library of Medicine (2018), recommended that due to energy demands and the intense sweat rate of combat sports, athletes should consume alkaline mineralised water to improve hydration and anaerobic performance during training and competition.

Alk: How does alk water impact or benefit mental health and clarity? 

Yagmur: Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells and keep organs functioning. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition and mood - even slight dehydration may affect your mood. Since we know that a healthy brain contains up to 78 percent water, it makes sense to drink plenty of good quality water. Aim to reach your daily need (your weight in kg x 0.035) of water to  keep hydrated and allow your brain to work as best as it can.


Alk: Can drinking alkaline water help minimise acid reflux?

Yagmur: As above, it is believed that alkaline water can benefit people who suffer from acid reflux. Some research shows that alkaline water may have benefits for patients with reflux disease. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22844861/)

Alk: Does drinking alkaline water alter the body’s natural pH?

Yagmur: No, simply drinking alkaline water doesn't change the body's pH. The human body—in particular the lungs, liver, and kidneys control and maintain a normal and neutral pH of 7.4 in the blood.

Alk: Interest and study in alkaline water is growing and there are a lot of questions about its health benefits - what are your thoughts?

Yagmur: The key message always is to stay as hydrated as possible and alkaline water can help with this. Staying hydrated is important for your overall health and well-being. It's essential for our body to function properly - organ health, regulating body temperature, maintaining good digestion and more. 

Water also, of course, prevents dehydration and there’s still further ongoing research to better understand the health benefits of drinking alkaline water. My personal belief is it’s best to hydrate with clean, good quality water and one you like the taste of; I personally choose to drink alk water.

Alk: Is there a best time to drink alkaline water?

Yagmur: The best time to drink alkaline water is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, it can help you kickstart your day. Drinking alkaline water before meals can help increase feelings of fullness and may promote weight loss in older adults (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17228036/), but I would recommend not to drink alkaline water whilst you are eating as nutrient digestion and absorption is best achieved in the acidic environment created within the stomach. Drinking alkaline water before, during and after exercise can replenish any lost fluids to optimise performance and recovery. However, the most important thing is to drink water consistently throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Alk: What would you say is the recipe for maintaining a well balanced lifestyle?

Yagmur: I believe that the key to a balanced lifestyle is exactly that, balance. By ensuring that our mind, body and spirit are all exercised, fed and nurtured we empower ourselves to live our best life. I have listed some of my habits and routines below in order to achieve this.

  • A balanced diet, making your health a priority.
  • Regular physical activity, reduce sitting and screen time.
  • Maintaining a regular sleep pattern, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • Stress management, walking in nature, writing, meditation, reading and yoga.
  • Drinking more water and reducing added sugar intake.
  • Make sure to get rest and listen to your body, your body knows best!

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