Water, Water, Everywhere… Part Two
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As I continued my search to determine what the best form of drinking water would be, I eventually decided I wanted a better grade of water than tap water run through a carbon filter. So, I upgraded to home-delivered bottled water. This water was purified through the process known as reverse osmosis (RO), which uses fine membrane filters.
At the time, RO water was believed to remove chlorine, pesticides, and heavy metals, but was thought to leave behind trace minerals, important for good health. Years later a health professional convinced me that RO water is stripped of almost all minerals, good and bad, and so becomes slightly acidic, and is then more likely to leach plastic from the bottle.
There is considerable debate about the benefits of RO water but my research does seem to confirm that this process removes 92-99% of calcium and magnesium, along with the heavy metals and other toxic compounds. Unfortunately, it also removes other beneficial trace minerals as well, so much so that one website claimed that, “After analyzing hundreds of scientific studies concerning demineralized or reverse osmosis water, the World Health Organization released a report stating that such water “has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism”.” (Source)
The response of those who produce and sell RO machines is that water is not an important source of minerals anyways, and the benefit of removing carcinogenic toxins from water considerably outweighs the detriment of having a water lacking in minerals.
Certainly there is a measurable impact on health from removing the magnesium from water, since studies have confirmed that “there is significant protective effect of magnesium intake from drinking water on the risk of cerebrovascular disease”. (Source)
But, when it comes down to it, studies like these showing an important benefit to having at least magnesium in the water are based on water being a primary source of that mineral for the general population being studied. I agree with the RO people that it is more valuable to get the toxins out of our water, as we can easily acquire minerals from supplements.
Since the lack of minerals in RO water may cause some leaching of good minerals out of our bodies, I suggest that one use Concentrate Trace Mineral drops (or some similar product), to fortify ones RO drinking water. And it is a good idea to get extra minerals from supplements anyways, either from a mineral formula (Mineral Mix), or a multivitamin product (NutriPods).
Some people are fans of distilled water, more so in the past than now. This process of evaporating and re-condensing the water leaves nothing but pure H2O. However, it is believed that distilled water, because all minerals are absolutely absent, has a negative charge that draws minerals to it, in effect robbing your body of them.
This is considered good for short periods during detoxification processes, but not so good in the long run as it may pull good minerals, as well as bad ones, out of your body. On the other hand, some scientists believe that this is ridiculous, since in the slurry of stomach acid and intestinal fluids the nature of distilled water would be altered anyway, and thus neutralized.
Like with RO water there is much debate on the subject. Healthline.com, a conventional medical website, suggests that distilled water “may pull small amounts of minerals from your body, including from your teeth”. (Source)
Whereas, proponents of distilled water have an opposing viewpoint:
“If inorganic minerals (and other substances like chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, etc.) are removed from tapwater, by converting it into pure distilled water, the result is improved absorption of all nutrients, including minerals, and improved elimination of wastes at the cellular level.” (Source)
If one is going to use distilled water, it seems to make sense to follow the recommendation that the water be reconstituted with trace mineral drops. This will fulfill the negative charge in the distilled water so that there is no potential for leaching of good minerals out of your body. However, for short-term detoxification purposes, one does not reconstitute the distilled water, otherwise it will also not leach out bad minerals (heavy metals).
ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops, aside from forbidding the water from stealing minerals, also helps to alkalize distilled and RO waters. And, because so much illness is related to acidic compounds in modern life (sugars, chemicals, refined carbohydrates, tobacco, alcohol, coffee, etc), having our water be alkalizing is an important health attribute.
Waters naturally highest in minerals are those derived from springs or glaciers, so when purchasing bottled water at the store, those two forms of water are your better choice. (Most commercial bottled water is RO filtered, with a couple of minerals added back, but none of the trace minerals.)
After finding myself questioning RO water, I then switched over to having spring water delivered. This water tastes distinctively better, and I can see the minerals in the residue left in the pot which I regularly boil water in.
So, I was pretty happy with my new tasty spring water, conveniently delivered to my home. I use a ceramic dispenser so my water is at room temperature, rather than constantly chilled with the electric cooler systems. (Both Chinese and Ayurvedic health practitioners believe that cold beverages are unnatural and unhealthy.)
But my happiness was short-lived. A news story revealed that, apparently, Bisphenol A was being found in those high-density blue water bottles used for home-delivered water.
I wrote to my water company about this and they sent a reasonably satisfying response, based on new European standards and information from plastic scientists. But, within a few weeks, the Globe and Mail did a 2-page spread on the dangers of Bisphenol A, and demolished the arguments from the water company.
Evidently, those safety tests given to me by the water company were done on rats that are not estrogen sensitive. Even though it is a weak estrogen, humans, especially infants, are far more sensitive to xenoestrogens than the species of rat used in the studies.
So, where does this leave us?
It’s tricky. All of modern life seems to be based on risk vs benefit ratio. In other words, “pick your poison”. Clean water is critical to our health, chemical toxins and heavy metals are detrimental to our health, as are chemical estrogens which can leach from plastic.
Currently, I get artesian spring water, from a local company, delivered in those large blue plastic water bottles. I feel the benefit outweighs the risk, and that I have two factors going for me in this equation. One: that type of plastic is thick and of a high density. The softer and more malleable the plastic is (like with single serving commercial bottled water), the more the xenoestrogens can leach out of it and into the water.
Two: the more alkaline the water (spring water and glacial water being the most alkaline natural waters), the less likely leaching is to occur.
Alkaline Water and Hydrogen Water
I have avoided talking about the alkaline water machines for a couple of reasons. There is apparently little science supporting the claims made, and most of these machines lack proper filtration components. (Source)
I also personally feel that we should not drink water of a pH that is too high, for long periods of time, since this is an altered product that does not exist in nature. Spring, artesian, or glacial waters peak at a pH of about 8, so if you are using a water-alkalizing machine, I suggest that you do not consistently drink water of a pH higher than that. (For more on the pros and cons of alkaline water follow this link.)
Gabriel Cousens, MD, author of Spiritual Nutrition had an interesting observation to make about water consumption in that book. He discusses how natural water has a high electron charge due to the presence of hydrogen molecules. These hydrogen electrons serve an antioxidant function in the body, working to neutralize free radicals.
However, when we add any substance to the water, using it to make coffee, tea, or even herbal teas (as well as water in the form of juice, kombucha, beer, etc), the hydrogen molecules are displaced and we lose this essential benefit of water.
So, while the scientific community believes that all beverages containing water add to our necessary water intake, he disagrees, maintaining that we must also drink about 5 cups of only unadulterated water daily to acquire enough hydrogen for optimal health.
Currently, there are a variety of devices (and tablets that one adds to drinking water) which claim to increase the hydrogen content of water. But, the science on this is not clear and the value of this approach is subject to much debate, so I shall avoid the topic at this time.
Finally, don’t forget the work of Dr. Emoto, who proved that thoughts influence the structure of water. Thus putting the words “Love” or “Thank you” on your water bottle can restructure its molecules to a form more like un-denatured wild spring or glacial water. Sounds crazy but he’s got the electron-microscope pictures to prove it. And to quote Will: “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Still every bit as true today as it was when written.