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March 29, 2015

By L. Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Doing all those miles and pumping all that iron in the gym
is worthless if you fill your tank with the wrong water.
More than any other thing you eat, the quality of the water
you drink will determine your health and fitness level.

Just ordering a glass of water in a restaurant is a thing of
the past. Now we get bottles of still and sparkling mineral
water from far-flung locations like France, Fiji, and the
Scottish Highlands.

What's the best kind of water to drink for optimal health?
One water that’s making a particular health splash is high
bicarbonate water. Mineral water high in bicarbonates is
said to improve urinary health, improve hydration and
even prevent dental cavities. What is this mysteriously
healthy water, and are the claims true?

What’s in the Water?

All water, even the water you drink from the faucet,
contains some minerals. But water from certain locations in
the world is higher in levels of bicarbonates and other
beneficial minerals. The water from the Vichy region in
Auvergne in eastern France, including water from Saint
Yorre, is said to contain hugely beneficial levels of
bicarbonates and other minerals because it comes from
natural springs.

As the water filters through the rocks, it picks up the
properties of the rocks’ minerals. St. Yorre mineral water
has a high bicarbonate content – 4,774 mg per liter. This is
compared to the levels in other mineral waters including
San Pellegrino(219.6 mg per liter) and Perrier (390 mg
per liter).

How Do Bicarbonates in Water Affect Your Health?

Bicarbonates are negatively charged ions that help to
regulate the acidity you have in your body. Bicarbonates
help to keep your PH levels in balance. St. Yorre water
with its high levels of bicarbonates is said to have a
positive effect on digestion, on hydration levels especially
after exercise, and on urinary health.

We looked at recent scientific studies to see if the rumor is
true about these healthy high-bicarbonate waters.

7 Health Benefits of High Bicarbonate Water

High Bicarbonate Water Helps to Prevent Urinary Problems

Drinking water that is high in minerals, particularly
bicarbonates, reduces the acidity in the body which results
in reduced levels of calcium excretion – and reduced risk of
renal stones.

A 2009 study from the University of Bologna, Italy shows
that intake of a high bicarbonate water is a useful
preventative treatment for urinary conditions including
urinary tract infection. The intake of this water increases
urinary volume as well as causing changes to the
composition of the urine which makes it beneficial for
preventing stone formation.

And a 2007 study from the Medical School of Hanover,
Germany demonstrates that drinking mineral waters
containing high bicarbonate levels decreases the risk of
urinary stone formation. The study looked at 34 people
with history of stone formation to arrive at the positive

High Bicarbonate Water Can Improve Hydration Status in

The results of a 2012 study from the University of Naples,
Italy show that supplementing with a high-bicarbonate
mineral water improves hydration status in athletes after
they take part in a short burst of exercise. The study
demonstrated that hydration with the high bicarbonate
water had a positive effect on PH and on hydration status
compared to regular water.

Bicarbonate Decreases Dental Acidity

Drinking water high in bicarbonates could help you to
avoid dental cavities, according to experts.

Bicarbonate decreases the acidity in the mouth which leads
to lesser risk of decay, and bicarbonate may also inhibit
plaque formation on teeth and increase calcium uptake. A
2006 study from the Central University of Venezuela,
Caracas, Venezuela shows that bicarbonate helps to
the incidence of dental cavities in schoolchildren over a
two-year period.

However, High Bicarbonate Water is Possibly Risky.....

If you have kidney disease the high levels of fluoride in
mineral water can cause bone damage. The relatively high
levels of fluoride in Vichy St. Yorre high bicarbonate water
may cause problems for people with renal failure,
according to a 1985 study by Boivin G, et al. The ingestion
of high bicarbonate water let to bone fluorosis in
vulnerable people.

If you want to supplement your diet with high bicarbonate
mineral water then go ahead – it seems this natural water
could be of benefit to your health. Plus, increasing your
hydration levels by drinking plenty of mineral water has
health benefits regardless of the mineral content.

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High bicarbonated water is the best type of water
for hydration after a workout, studies
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