Distilled water is a controversial subject for many health advocates. Many believe it is the only water you should drink. Others feel it should only be consumed for short periods to aid detoxification. Still others think it should not be touched, ever. These conflicting views make it hard to know for certain what any of us should think about the health benefits or risks of distilled water. Despite the conflict, distilled water probably has its place. It does provide some powerful detoxifying abilities and most of the much voiced risks are easy to counteract.
Distillation of water involves turning it into steam and then condensing it back to a liquid. This leaves behind solids, gases, and anything dissolved or suspended in the original water. This process removes toxins, fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can be found in tap water. This is one of the biggest benefits of distillation, water that is safe, pure, clean, and sanitized. For many parts of the world, the dangers of parasites and infection from drinking water are very real.
In more sanitary regions, distillation still removes what the water processing plants miss, including live protozoa and bacterial cysts. It also removes what they add, chlorine and fluoride. Chlorine is a poison that kills bacteria and prevents their growth. It burns and irritates skin, suffocates lung cells, and alters the acid levels of blood. Fluoride is also a poison, treated as hazardous waste up to the point when it is added to tap water. Naturally occurring fluoride and the fluoride added to drinking water are not the same compounds. This unnatural form of fluoride can damage teeth and bones while calcifying vital tissue.
The pure nature of distilled water makes it a great detoxifier, hydrating the body while clearing out waste, toxins, debris, and heavy metals. This is where many experts disagree. Some claim you should use this detoxification ability all the time while others argue that long-term use of distilled water will pull useful vitamins and minerals from the body, resulting in deficiency. No matter what, the short term use of distilled water seems to be a good way to aid the body’s natural waste removal process. You can decide if you want to use it longer.
The distillation of water removes harmful inorganic minerals and additives, but it also removes any naturally occurring minerals. Some argue this is another way distilled water leads to mineral deficiencies. The minerals we get from water make a very small percentage of the total minerals we consume. Most come to us from our food, especially plant foods. It is also very easy to add more minerals back to distilled water with a capful of a good liquid mineral complex or a sprinkle of quality mineral-rich sea salt.
Distilled water is slightly more acidic than tap water as it dissolves carbon dioxide from the air. The acidity of distilled water is neutral when it first forms, but it immediately begins dissolving carbon when it touches air. This is another argument against distilled water. But even at its most acidic, distilled water is far less so than coffee, orange juice, or soft drinks. A pinch of baking soda can easily neutralize the acidity without altering the flavor.
Distilled water is definitely worth looking into for short-term detox, but it may be something you want to occasionally supplement into your other water sources. The dissolved solids in tap water have been shown to have detrimental effects on cardiovascular health, lead to calcification of tissue, and help create kidney stones. Distilled water may or may not be a good long-term solution, but it should give your body a much needed break every once in a while.Learn more about Charlie PulsipherPhoto Credit: Alberto Ramirez