Drinking distilled water on a regular basis may not be as healthy as you think.
I know this is a controversial statement, but it is based on a number of clinical studies and the experience of many scientists and health care practitioners, as well as my own experience.
Water is distilled through a process in which the water is boiled, evaporated and the vapor is condensed.
The distillation process does remove many unhealthy contaminants in source water, but it also removes naturally occurring minerals.
Distilled water is considered purified water, which is different than filtered water. Most purified water is produced by distillation, de-ionization or reverse osmosis.
In its healthiest state, the pH of the body should be slightly alkaline. In fact, the body will do everything in its power to maintain the pH of the blood between 7.3 and 7.4 pH (slightly alkaline)
As you may remember from high-school chemistry, the pH scale has a range from 0 to 14. Neutral pH is 7.0. Anything below 7.0 is acidic and anything above 7.0 is alkaline.
Many doctors and health advocates around the world are convinced that the accumulation of acid waste in the body is the primary cause of most degenerative diseases and premature aging. Numerous clinical and scientific studies support this theory.
The primary cause of accumulated acid waste in the body is attributed to poor diet (especially animal-based foods, alcohol, tobacco, sugar, all processed and fried foods, and soft drinks) as well as other lifestyle factors—most notably, stress (which is highly acidifying in the body).
The best drinking water is mineral rich and will thus have a higher alkalinity, between 7.0 pH and 9.5 pH, depending on one's diet and other factors. People who have a higher level of body acidity will benefit more from drinking water with a higher pH.
Even though distilled water is “purified” and thus enters the body pure, it does not come out pure. Some believe that drinking distilled water can cause a mineral imbalance in the body.
Nearly 30 years ago, Paavo Airola, ND, PhD, advised against the prolonged use of distilled water for this reason.
Airola wrote: “Distilled water is totally devoid of all minerals, and prolonged use of it may leach out the body’s own mineral reserves and lead to severe mineral deficiencies and such diseases as osteoporosis, diabetes, tooth decay and heart disease.”
More recently, Zoltan P. Rona, MD, MSc, concurs, “The longer one drinks distilled water, the more likely the development of mineral deficiences and an acid state.”
Dr. Rona further writes: “I have done well over 3,000 mineral evaluations using a combination of blood, urine and hair tests in my practice. Almost without exception, people who consume distilled water exclusively, eventually develop mineral deficiencies.”
The founder of Global Healing Center, Dr. Edward F. Group, D.C., Ph.D, acknowledges that studies validate the benefits of drinking distilled water when one is seeking to cleanse or detoxify the body for one or two weeks.
However, he also states that "Fasting using distilled water can be dangerous because of the rapid loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride) and trace minerals like magnesium, deficiencies of which can cause heart beat irregularities and high blood pressure."
Cooking foods in distilled water also pulls minerals out of the food and lowers their nutrient value, according to Dr. Group.
If you must use distilled water, he suggests adding 3 Tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar per gallon of distilled water. This will replenish many of the minerals needed on a daily basis.
The size and shape of clusters of molecules in water determines how well it will hydrate the body.
The size and shape of the water molecule clusters after distillation are significantly different. They are larger in size and thus do not absorb into the body’s tissues as easily as tap, filtered or ionized water.
In addition, when water is stripped of minerals and oxygen through distillation and the other purification processes, it loses its natural structure.
Japanese researcher, Dr. Masaru Emoto, showed how distillation destroys the natural crystalline structure of water in his numerous studies.
When the innate structure of water is destroyed, it makes the water essentially useless to the body. Thus, the Japanese scientists refer to distilled water as “dead water.”
Dr. Rona concluded with a bold statement: “Disease and early death is more likely to be seen with the long term drinking of distilled water. Avoid it except in special circumstances.”
Over the past 20 years, I have heard numerous conflicting comments and opinions about the advantages and disadvantages of drinking distilled water.
Many of the supporters of distilled water, including a few of my favorite health professionals, are adamant that it is the healthiest drinking water.
On the other hand, I have also researched and conversed with many other health practitioners and scientists who believe distilled water is unhealthy for many reasons.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also published a study on drinking water showing evidence of various health risks associated with drinking demineralised water. (You can read more about this study under "References" below.)
As with all health factors—including diet, exercise, attitudes and psychology—there will always be conflicting opinions.
I have determined for myself when making health decisions that I can only get so far with information, even so-called clinical or scientific-based information.
It really comes down to our our unique physical bodies, as well as our personal experience, lifestyle and beliefs.
Thus, I encourage our visitors to read the information on this site and elsewhere and decide for yourself what makes sense. And if you are still undecided about which type of water to drink, don't sweat it.
Just try a few of the different types of drinking water for a month or so and pay attention to how you feel. That is what I did.
I drank primarily distilled water for a year or so, then was encouraged by a friend (who is a Naturopathic Doctor) to drink mineral-rich water. After hours of research again, I bought a home water filtration system.
For me, the difference was significant. I noticed within a week or two that I had more energy and and I was better hydrated. In addition, over the past 10 years of drinking filtered water, my bone density has returned to normal.
I am convinced that filtered, mineral rich water is healthier than distilled water for my daily use. But for those who disagree, I respect your opinion.
Paavo Airola; Every Woman’s Book; 1982.
Masaru Emoto; The Hidden Messages in Water; 2001.
WHO Study: Health risks from drinking demineralized water
Drinking Demineralized Water - The Health Risks (my brief summary of the WHO study)