Celebrities often share snippets of their new workout sessions or the healthy drinks they try as part of their wellness routines. As such, a trend that is slowly gaining popularity among them is black water. Of late, many B-Town stars including Malaika Arora and Shruti Haasan have been spotted having black water.
“I have been so excited about this black water, but it turns out it’s not black but its alkaline water…it tastes just like water”, she said in an Instagram video.
What exactly is black water?
Black alkaline water is becoming popular with fitness enthusiasts and even sportspersons. It is said to help one stay hydrated and have high pH levels, which helps balance acidity. It has been termed as an energy drink, sports drink, fulvic drink, natural alkaline water, and health drink, say experts.
“Black water is a term that describes water that contains fulvic acid (FvA) and sometimes other minerals or vitamin additives,” Dr Pooja Thacker, head of department dietetic, Bhatia Hospital Mumbai, told indianexpress.com.
Should you be having it?
According to Ravichandran, scientist and managing director, Pristine Water, New Delhi, regular water usually has pH of 6.5-7.5 depending on the season (summer or winter), place (surface or groundwater) and the treatments used to remove bacteria with the help of alum, chlorine, and lime.
Dr Parmeet Kaur, senior dietician, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram said that alkaline water is ionised water in its purest form. “Its pH level is higher than 7.5 which reduces the body’s dependence on medicines. It has natural antioxidant which help to reduce the excessive oxidative stress from our body. It is micro-clustered, and hence can be more easily absorbed into the cells and thereby provides superior hydration. It can be consumed by people as per their affordability and doctor’s suggestion,” he said.
To this, Dr Thacker added that since black water has higher pH and alkalinity, it is “less acidic than most bottled drinking water or tap water”.
What does it contain?
The active component of black water is fulvic acid which, as per experts, has many health benefits. It improves gut health, has antioxidant properties, reduces inflammation, aids absorption of electrolytes, safeguards against Alzheimer’s disease, helps in the prevention of allergic diseases, and lengthens the duration of the immune response.
“Fulvic acid alone, in moderate doses, appears to be safe according to several studies. It may take a little adjustment to get used to the dark tint of black water, but it is safe to drink,” said Dr Thacker.
However, Ravichandran who has been a part of the chlorination industry since 1980s, and is also a subject matter expert, told indianexpress.com that considering there is no data supporting the claims, it seems to be a “marketing gimmick”. “Alkaline water is claimed to be good for health. But in my opinion, it does not make any difference. It is more of a marketing gimmick. I don’t have data, but as far as my knowledge goes, three mechanisms in the body that are meant to be acidic are stools, urine, and bile juice. There is no need to neutralise their acidic nature,” he said, while mentioning that saliva is in itself a “neutralising agent”. “To neutralise the acids in the body, it is recommended to drink a cup of water right after waking up. This helps saliva do its job,” he added.
Refuting claims that black water can also make one look younger, he said, “there is no proof”.
While the price of regular water bottle is Rs 20-30, black water costs around Rs 90 for 500 ml on e-commerce sites.