The Real Story Behind Reverse Osmosis and Distilled Water
Is drinking water safe to drink?
The answer unfortunately is no. There are over 2,000 contaminants in the water coming from our water taps, many of them are carcinogenic. The main ones are flouride and chlorine and heavy metals. This is the water you drink, cook with and shower in. Owning a filtration system for your home is the best way to ensure that the water you drink is clean and healthy. With this said, many of us struggle with what type of system to invest in. I would like to discuss which ones not to invest in and why, including the health implications of drinking demineralised water, the main being something called acidosis, and the negative environmental impact of using electricity to filter water. These systems I will discuss include reverse osmosis and distilled water.
100 % purified water
There are two major processes used to create 100% purified water. These are
- Reverse osmosis
- Distillation (distilled water)
Both systems were designed for industrial use and both create negative health effects.
Distillation is the process in which water is boiled, evaporated and the vapour condensed. It poses an environmental disaster. Can you imagine if every person in the globe used electricity to boil every galss of water they use?!
Health concerns of drinking distilled water
The drinking of distilled water is discouraged for many health reasons. The lack of naturally occurring minerals in distilled water has raised some concerns. The Journal of General Internal Medicine published a study on the mineral contents of different waters available in the US. The study concluded: Drinking water sources available to North Americans may contain high levels of Ca2+, Mg2+, and Na+ and may provide clinically important portions of the recommended dietary intake of these minerals. Physicians should encourage patients to check the mineral content of their drinking water, whether tap or bottled, and choose water most appropriate for their needs.
It is often observed that consumption of "hard" water, or water that has some minerals, is associated with beneficial cardiovascular effects. As noted in the American Journal of Epidemiology, consumption of hard drinking water is negatively correlated with atherosclerotic heart disease.
What is Reverse osmosis?
I have noticed that many people in Ireland have invested silly amounts of money on under the counter reverse osmosis systems. These may have been useful during the cryptosporidium outbreak but, as I would like to explain, this water is not fit for long-term human consumption.
Osmosis is described as the natural movement of solvent (in this case water) from an area of low solute concentration, through a membrane, to an area of high solute concentration when no external pressure is applied. The membrane here is semi-permeable, meaning it allows the passage of solvent but not of solute.
Reverse osmosis is a separation process whereby pressure is used to unnaturally force water through the semi-permeable membrane to retain contaminants on the one side of the membrane and allowing pure water to pass to the other side. Anything that is larger than a water molecule cannot pass through including some contaminants but also unfortunately, health giving minerals. This is the reverse of the normal osmosis process. There is huge waste because only 30 % of the contaminated water being forced through the semi-permeable membrane is filtered and 70% is wasted as runoff, an environmental catastrophe!
Why was reverse osmosis developed?
Reverse osmosis was developed over 40 years ago. This process is best known for its use in desalination (removing the salt from sea water to get fresh water), but has also purified naturally occurring freshwater for medical, industrial process and rinsing applications such as used in printing and photo processing companies since the early 1970s. These industries required mineral free water for processing purposes. Although this water continues to be used for these purposes today, it is not healthy for long-term human consumption.Health concerns with drinking reverse osmosis water
Exposing water under pressure to a semi-permeable membrane starts the process of creating reverse osmosis water. This membrane has a very fine pore structure, which tends to reject certain contaminants, minerals and a large part of the water during the process. This strips the water of its inorganic compounds and trace minerals, leaving behind water that can be damaging to your body over time.
Reverse osmosis water filtration systems do remove some of the harmful contaminants from your drinking water. However, many of the smaller toxins are not filtered out. In particular, reverse osmosis filtering takes out important trace minerals such as calcium and magnesium and potassium, minerals particularly necessary for a healthy nervous system and cardiovascular system.
As reverse osmosis water systems strip water of its natural minerals, this has a negative effect on our bodies. Water that lacks minerals is more acidic. Our diets are already generally far too acidic contributing to many inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and kidney stones and gout in a condition known as acidosis.Demineralised water and acidosis?
Acidosis, also known as autointoxication, is a condition of excess acidity in the body tissues and blood as opposed to stomach acid. It has to do with the mineral ash that is left after food is broken down. For example, meat breaks down to uric acid, which is acidic. Acidosis can be measured using urinary and salivary pH strips. Acidosis is common condition in our society due to the typical western diet, which is far too high in acid-forming animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, and far too low in alkaline-producing foods like fresh vegetables.
Acid forming foods are generally high in phosphorus, which causes calcium to be leached from our bones to counter the high phosphorus content. Interestingly, dairy is high in both phosphorus and calcium, which means that neither calcium nor phosphorus will reach the bones. Other acid forming foods include refined white flour, sugar and in particular high phosphorus and high sugar soft drinks.
Most people who suffer from unbalanced pH are acidic. This condition forces the body to borrow alkalising minerals—including calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium—from vital organs and bones to buffer (neutralise) the acid and safely remove it from the body. Because of this strain, the body can suffer severe and prolonged damage due to high acidity. Mild acidosis can cause such problems as:
- Cardiovascular damage, including the constriction of blood vessels and the reduction of oxygen
- Weight gain, obesity and diabetes
- Thyroid conditions
- Bladder and kidney conditions, including kidney stones
- Immune deficiency
- Acceleration of free radical damage, possibly contributing to cancerous mutations
- Premature aging
- Osteoporosis; weak, brittle bones, hip fractures and bone spurs
- Rheumatic disorders including joint pain, aching muscles caused by lactic acid build-up
- Low energy and chronic fatigue
A recent seven-year study conducted at the University of California, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, on 9,000 women showed that those who have chronic acidosis are at greater risk for bone loss than those who have normal pH levels. Scientists believe that many of the hip fractures prevalent among middle-aged women are connected to high acidity caused by a diet rich in animal foods and low in vegetables as the body takes calcium from the bones in order to balance pH. Therefore, our body will pull minerals from other areas of our body, such as our teeth and bones to neutralise excess acid. An overabundance of acid also leads to an increase in free radicals which essentially leads to all chronic degenerative diseases including cancer.What can we do to reduce acidosis?
Of course we need to include less meat, dairy and refined foods in the diet. However another equally important nutritional aspect includes drinking water naturally rich in minerals that is naturally alkaline. Therefore, that’s what we should be putting into our bodies.
Acid forming diets also go beyond just drinking water. Showering in contaminated water is 2 to 3 times more toxic than drinking one glass of unfiltered water. For peace of mind please choose a Carahealth chlorine and heavy metal shower filter
and a Carahealth chlorine and heavy metal bath filter.
These are perfect for babies, small children and adults alike, are simple to install and inexpensive.
The most affordable and environmentally friendly solution for drinking water is a Carahealth Gravity Fed Water Filter
, these were designed by Henry Doulton in the early 1830’s and remove 99% of all contaminants. These not only eliminate bacteria, chemical and heavy metals but also most importantly maintain the important trace minerals essential for a healthy body.
Remember, reverse osmosis and distillation are not suitable for human consumption and your family's heath. There are much better choices available.
If you love the planet...
Buy one of these...they never use electricity...ever!! and leave the healthy minerals in!!
Please see also articles on Fluoride, Is Your Plastic Water Bottle or Filter Safe?, The Real Story Behind Reverse Osmosis and Distilled Water, Fluoride Removal Gravity Water Filters. For a full list of contaminants removed please see also Contaminants Removed by the Carahealth Gravity Fed Water Filter.
Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, believed that to cure the patient you need to stimulate the "Ponos" or the self-healing spirit of the body. He did this through optimum nutrition and pure drinking water!
Remember, we are here for a good time not a long time, enjoy your food life!
Holistic Health Practitioner, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, E Prescriptions, Natural Remedies, Herbal Medicine, Certified Nutritionist, Nutritional Therapy, Flower Essences, Iridology, Cosmetic Acupuncture, Ireland, UK, EU, USA. Online Consultations, Fluoride Removal Water Filters.