The Importance of Water
I also started drinking lots of good water.
Your body is made up of mostly of water. Approximately 85% of your brain, 80% of your blood and 70% of your muscle is water. Every cell in your body needs water to live. Just as you wouldn’t drive a car without putting oil in its engine, your body and all its vital organs wouldn’t be able to function properly without proper hydration.
Water lubricates the joints and skin, and is the “principal constituent of all body fluids (blood, lymph, tissue fluid), secretions (salivary juice, gastric juice, bile, sweat) and excretory fluid (urine)”. Every cell contains water and is bathed in water. “Humans can survive only for a short time without water intake.”*
* Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Edition 17
What else does Water regulate in your body?
It helps regulate your body temperature, and keep your metabolism working properly. As mentioned before, water for your body is synonymous with oil for your car’s engine. Without adequate water, your blood pressure can fall to dangerously low levels, blood clots may form, and normal kidney function is impaired, and you may suffer from constipation, headaches, very dry skin, and increased urinary tract infections - these are only some examples of inadequate hydration.
So how much Water should you drink?
A general rule of thumb for staying well hydrated is… Divide your body weight in pounds by 2…and that would give you the approximate ounces of water you should be drinking every day.** So, according to this formula, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking approximately 100 ounces of water a day; that would come to ten 10 ounces glasses of water a day.
** Dr. Batmanghelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water
A Note About Water
Now, you might be more health conscious and drink lots of water — good for you. But keep in mind the kind of water you’re drinking.
You see, ordinary tap water typically contains chlorine. Lots of it.
Chlorinated water not only kills the beneficial bacteria in your gut, but it also contains carcinogens (cancer causers) called trihalomethanes.
Trihalomethanes accumulate in the tissues of your body and cause cell mutation (unusual changes) and hamper immune function.
And according to the U.S. Council Of Environmental Quality, “Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whose water does not contain chlorine.”
Per Dr. Mercola, on Distilled Water:
Why Dr. Mercola Does Not Recommend Drinking Distilled Water
Long before natural health enthusiasts began touting the benefits of alkaline water, there were similarly glowing claims for distilled water.
During distillation, water is boiled and evaporated away from its dissolved minerals, and then the vapor is condensed and the resulting water droplets collected. Distilled water is an active absorber, and when it makes contact with air, it quickly absorbs carbon dioxide and becomes acidic.
Since it is free of dissolved minerals and other particles, it has the ability to absorb toxic substances from your body and eliminate them.
However, although drinking distilled water may be helpful when detoxifying for a week or two, the longer you drink it, the more likely you’ll develop mineral deficiencies and an acidic state.
You can rapidly lose electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and trace minerals, which can cause cardiac irregularities, high blood pressure, and cognitive/emotional disturbances.
In a paper by F. Kozisek of the World Health Organization (WHO), [i] water low in calcium and magnesium, such as distilled water, is associated with the following health problems:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Higher risk of bone fracture in children
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Motor neuronal diseases
- Pre-term births, low birth weights, and preeclampsia
- Various types of cancer
- Increased risk of “sudden death”
- Acute magnesium and calcium deficiency, weakness, fatigue and muscle cramping
Clearly, changing the water you drink can have profound and potentially disastrous effects on your health, as this research shows.
For these reasons, Dr.Mercola has been discouraging people from drinking distilled water for well over a decade now, but there are other far more problematic issues with distilled water that make potential mineral deficiencies pale in comparison.
Distilled Water is Only as Pure as the Water You Begin With…
One of the primary benefits commonly attributed to distilled water is its lack of contaminants.
However, this usually turns out to be far from true…
There are two primary reasons why your distilled water may not be as pure as you’d like to think:
Any contaminant in the water that vaporizes at a lower temperature than the water, such as volatile organic compounds, such as disinfection byproducts that are thousands of times as toxic as chlorine, will be condensed and actually concentrated in the finished distilled water. So what you end up with is water that contains even more dangerous contaminants than what you started with.
Because the water is acidic and demineralized, it will pull contaminants out of whatever container you put it in.
Many distillers on the market are made of metal, which will actually add certain toxic metals like nickel back into the water. And if you use a distiller with a plastic bottle, you have a number of plastic chemicals to contend with – many of which we now know are extremely toxic.
The Most Shocking Fact About Distilled Water
In recent years we’ve learned a lot about the dangers of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) found in most treated water supplies, such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs).
These DBPs form when water treatment disinfectants such as chlorine, chloramines, and chlorine dioxide react with natural organic matter in the source water.
Researchers have now discovered that DBPs are over 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine, and out of all the other toxins and contaminations present in your water, such as fluoride and miscellaneous pharmaceutical drugs, DBPs may be the absolute worst.
Trihalomethanes (THMs), for example, are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they’ve been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. They’ve also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans, and human studies suggest that lifetime consumption of chlorine-treated water can more than double the risk of bladder and rectal cancers in certain individuals.
The process of distilling actually worsens the presence of these extremely toxic contaminants in your water because anything that vaporizes at a lower temperature than water, such as volatile organic compounds (VOC’s and trihalomethanes (THM’s), will also be boiled and condensed.
Sure, the heavy metals are left behind. Lead, for example, will not vaporize. But chlorine will change into chloroform during the distillation process, and will be present in your distilled water.
Distilled Water is Actually MORE Toxic than Municipal Tap Water
So, not only will distillation not remove one of the most significant toxins in water, which are the DBPs, it may actually deliver a more concentrated dose of them.
AND, you’re also drinking whatever chemical or metal contaminants the water has dissolved out of the container it’s stored in!
Talk about a double-whammy of toxic contamination!
This fact alone should be reason enough to ditch the idea that distilled water might be good for you, unless you start with entirely pure water to begin with, which defeats the whole purpose of distilling it.
Remember that every municipal water supply is treated with chlorine or chlorine like substance that will induce the formation of disinfection byproducts in your water supply. So unless you are using the distiller on well water, you need to be very concerned about this.
A volatile organic compound is a chemical that vaporizes at a lower temperature than water and has carbon in it. And there are hundreds of thousands of volatile organic compounds out there, including benzenes, trihalomethanes, and trichloroethylene. Exactly what and how much of these toxic compounds are in your source water will naturally vary from one location to another.
Many of these are industrial organic solvents that are very destructive to the human body. Many if not most of them are carcinogenic at extremely low levels.
DBPs, for example, are measured in parts per BILLION, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the goal for some of these byproducts at zero because they are so dangerous. Unfortunately the EPA goal is impossible to enforce.
Still, the maximum annual average of THMs in your local water supply cannot exceed 80 ppb (parts-per-billion), and the maximum annual average of HAAs permitted by EPA regulations is 60 ppb.
It goes without saying that if distilling were to concentrate these contaminants just a little bit, the consequences to your health could be quite severe.
The Drawbacks Clearly Outweigh Any Potential Benefits
So, in the end, distilled water:
- Is expensive
- Is energy intensive
- Doesn’t remove VOC’s and DBPs
- Is ineffective at removing toxic fluoride
- Draws out chemicals and metal contaminants from whatever container it’s stored in
- Leaches minerals from your body which can lead to health problems
On the positive side, it may help draw out toxins during a short-term detoxification program, but all in all, I believe the drawbacks are stacked quite high and clearly outweigh any perceived benefit.
Clearly, what we drink is of utmost importance.