What Are the Benefits of Lemon Water?

Proponents claim that drinking warm lemon water in the morning will detoxify and alkalinize your body, and rev your metabolism. Nutrition Diva takes a closer look at what lemon water can (and can't) do for your health.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #330

Want to detox, rev up your metabolism, and melt off the pounds more quickly? It’s easy: Just sip a glass of warm water and lemon juice first thing every morning.

Or at least that’s what countless websites, magazine articles, and health gurus are claiming.

Lately, I’ve heard from several of you asking whether these benefits are for real. Let’s take a closer look at what drinking warm lemon water can (and can’t) do for your health. Let’s start with what drinking lemon water doesn’t do:

False Claim #1: Lemon Water Detoxifies Your Body

Your liver, kidneys, skin, and lungs constantly work together to break down and eliminate chemicals—both natural and synthetic—that might otherwise harm your health. Drinking warm lemon water doesn’t speed up or enhance this process at all.

See also: How to Detoxify Your Body and How to Reduce Your Exposure to Pesticides


Lemons do contain a compound called limonene, which has been shown to enhance production of certain liver enzymes that are involved in detoxification (in lab rats). But the amount of limonene in lemon water is far too small to have any effect on your liver enzymes.

The very best way to enhance detoxification is to give your organs less to detoxify by reducing your optional exposures to harmful compounds.

False Claim #2: Lemon Water Makes Your Body More Alkaline

Your kidneys and lungs are in charge of maintaining your body’s pH at the ideal balance no matter what you eat or drink. Check out my episode Does a pH Balancing Diet Work?

False Claim #3: Lemon Water Increases Your Metabolism

Nope, sorry. 

Although some of the claims for drinking warm lemon water don’t hold up under scrutiny, that doesn’t mean that this practice has no benefits. Here are a few good things that might result from drinking warm water and lemon juice in the morning......


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.