Flight Attendant's Advice on Best Water to Drink During Flight Splits Views

Find yourself having to urinate frequently on a plane? A viral video on TikTok claims that drinking a certain type of water can potentially help prevent you from having to head to the bathroom as much while flying.

The viral clip with over 183,000 likes, posted by user @lauren.erro, was shared with a caption that reads: "Tiny bladder? Try this flying hack!"

The footage shows a hand grabbing a bottle of water from the Fiji water brand at a store. A message overlaid on the clip says: "A flight attendant told me to always buy Fiji or some sort of alkaline water for your flight. It prevents you from having to pee as much during flights because your body absorbs it."

But what do doctors say about the health tip?

Man drinking water on plane.
A stock image of a man drinking water from a plastic cup on a plane. A video of a flight hack claiming drinking alkaline water can help you urinate less on a plane has gone viral on TikTok. iStock / Getty Images Plus

Does Drinking Alkaline Water Help You Urinate Less on Planes?

Dr. Valerie Ulene, a specialist in general preventative medicine based in Los Angeles, told Newsweek: "There's absolutely no scientific evidence to support the claim that drinking alkaline water prevents you from urinating as much during plane flights."

The term alkaline refers to the water's pH level, which ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of above 7 is alkaline, while a pH below 7 is acidic. "Water typically has a neutral pH of 7, while alkaline water's pH is usually 8 or 9," Ulene said.

Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, a critical care and palliative care physician at The Ottawa Hospital in Canada, told Newsweek: "There is no clear evidence that drinking alkaline water will reduce urine output. The body has a complex system for regulating pH, and the impacts of alkaline water on this process would likely be insignificant."

Dr. Betsy Greenleaf, the first board-certified female urogynecologist based in the United States, told Newsweek that the claim made in the viral clip is true "only for those who already have leaky gut, overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis and other diagnosed and undiagnosed bladder symptoms. In the general population, it doesn't really matter if you drink regular or alkaline water for bladder health."

Kyeremanteng explained that the body "tightly regulates" its pH levels through various mechanisms, such as the respiratory and renal systems. This ensures that the blood pH stays within a narrow range of 7.35-7.45, which is important for normal physiological functioning.

"Drinking alkaline water may temporarily increase urine pH, but this is not likely to have a significant impact on overall pH balance in the body," he said.

Ulene, who is the co-founder of Boom Home Medical, added that regardless of the type of water you consume—non-alkaline or alkaline—your body works hard to keep its pH within a narrow range.

"It all starts in the stomach, which constantly produces acid to aid with digestion," she said. "Stomach acid keeps the stomach's pH very low, usually in the range of 1.5 to 3.5, and quickly reduces the pH of anything alkaline you eat or drink."

'This Is Not a Remedy for Everyone'

Greenleaf is also the CEO of The Pelvic Floor Store, an online store dedicated to finding reliable pelvic health products. According to Greenleaf, urology experts have "known for decades that acidic foods can worsen urinary symptoms causing urgency, frequency, bladder pain, and incontinence in susceptible individuals."

She said this is why patients with these conditions are advised to stay away from coffee, tomatoes, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, alcohol and chocolate. There are some home remedies, such as drinking 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water and over-the-counter products, "that work the same as the sodium bicarbonate to lower the acid in one's system," the urogynecologist noted.

"So, in theory, alkaline water could work in the same way," Greenleaf said. However, "this is not a remedy for everyone, only those who have a predisposition to urinating frequently."

Greenleaf noted you can easily become dehydrated when traveling on a plane, too.

"When one becomes dehydrated, this will concentrate the urine and in predisposed individuals, this will backfire and worsen urgency and frequency symptoms...Most people will purposely dehydrate to avoid urinating but this will make those with certain underlying conditions urinate more," she said.

Stay Hydrated on a Plane

Ulene said that while consuming alkaline water may not save you trips to the bathroom on a flight, staying hydrated when you fly is important, especially on longer flights.

"This is because the air that circulates through airplane cabins is quite low in humidity, which will cause your body to lose moisture more quickly than normal and increase the risk of dehydration," the doctor explained.

Ulene noted that there's "no hard and fast rule" for how much you should drink when you're traveling by plane.

"It's generally a good sign if you find yourself having to get up and use the restroom from time to time. Any non-alcoholic beverage will do the trick but, just as on the ground, water is always an ideal choice," she advised.

The plane hack has divided the internet, with several people on TikTok not buying the claim.

Jason966 said: "Alkaline water is a scam. There's acid in your stomach, it has absolutely no effect."

TikTok user Apepper agreed, saying: "It doesn't matter what tiny pH differences for your water. Your stomach acid is going to make it all the same."

Some were more open to the hack's validity, such as Jules, who wrote: "Bottled water is processed to the point it eliminates all electrolytes. Fiji probably doesn't do it as badly.

Rachel said: "I'm a background actor and swear by Fiji cause yup, I only pee maybe twice for a big bottle."

Newsweek reached out to the original poster via TikTok for comment. This video has not been independently verified.

Do you have any travel health tips or a dilemma to share? Let us know via [email protected]. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

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