by Zoltan P. Rona M.D., MSc
During nearly 19 years of clinical practice I have had the opportunity to observe the health effects of drinking different types of water. Most of you would agree that drinking unfiltered tap water could be hazardous to your health because of things like parasites, chlorine, fluoride and dioxins. Many health fanatics, however, are often surprised to hear me say that drinking distilled water on a regular, daily basis is potentially dangerous. Paavo Airola wrote about the dangers of purified water in the 1970’s when it first became a fad with the health food crowd.
Distillation is the process in which water is boiled, evaporated and the vapor condensed. Reverse osmosis or purified water is free of dissolved minerals and, because of this, has the special property of being able to actively absorb toxic substances from the body and eliminate them. Studies validate the benefits of drinking purified water when one is seeking to cleanse or detox the body for short periods of time (for a few weeks at a time). Fasting using purified water can be dangerous because of the rapid loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and trace minerals like magnesium, deficiencies of which can cause heart beat irregularities and high blood pressure. Cooking foods in distilled water pulls the minerals out of them and lowers their nutrient value.
Purified water is an active absorber and when it comes into contact with air, it absorbs carbon dioxide, making it acidic. The more purified water a person drinks, the higher the body acidity becomes. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Purified” water, being essentially mineral-free, is very aggressive, in that it tends to dissolve substances with which it is in contact. Notably, carbon dioxide from the air is rapidly absorbed, making the water acidic and even more aggressive. Many metals are dissolved by distilled water.
The most toxic commercial beverages that people consume (i.e. cola beverages and other soft drinks) are made from purified water. Studies have consistently shown that heavy consumers of soft drinks (with or without sugar) spill huge amounts of calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals into the urine. The more mineral loss, the greater the risk for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and a long list of degenerative diseases generally associated with premature aging.
A growing number of health care practitioners and scientists from around the world have been advocating the theory that aging and disease is the direct result of the accumulation of acid waste products in the body. There is a great deal of scientific documentation that supports such a theory. A poor diet may be partially to blame for the waste accumulation. Meats, sugar, white flour products, fried foods, soft drinks, processed foods, alcohol, dairy products and other junk foods cause the body to become more acidic. Stress, whether mental or physical can lead to acid deposits in the body.
There is a correlation between the consumption of soft water (purified water is extremely soft) and the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Cells, tissues and organs do not like to be dipped in acid and will do anything to buffer this acidity including the removal of minerals from the skeleton and the manufacture of bicarbonate in the blood. The longer one drinks distilled water, the more likely the development of mineral deficiencies and an acid state. I have done well over 3000 mineral evaluations using a combination of blood, urine and hair tests in my practice. Almost without exception, people who consume purified water exclusively, eventually develop multiple mineral deficiencies. Those who supplement their purified or distilled water intake with trace minerals are not as deficient but still not as adequately nourished in minerals as their non-purified water drinking counterparts even after several years of mineral supplementation.
Purified water tends to be acidic and can only be recommended as a way of drawing poisons out of the body. Once this is accomplished, the continued drinking of purified water is a bad idea.
Alkaline ionized Water is the best possible drinking water. Disease and early death is more likely to be seen with the long term drinking of purified water. Avoid it except in special circumstances.
Airola, P. 1974. How To Get Well. Phoenix, AZ: Health Plus Publishers.
Baroody, Dr. Theodore A. Jr. Alkalinize or Die. California:Portal Books, 1995.
Haas, Elson M. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. The Complete Guide to Diet & Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, California:Celestial Arts, 1992; p. 22.
Rona, Zoltan P. and Martin, Jeanne Marie. Return to the Joy of Health, Vancouver: Alive Books, 1995.
Rona, Zoltan P. Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection. Rocklin, California: Prima Books, 1996.
Dr. Zoltan P. Rona is a graduate of McGill University Medical School (1977) and has a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut (1985). He is the author of the Canadian bestsellers, “The Joy of Health” and “Return to the Joy of Health”. He is a past president of the Canadian Holistic Medical Association and is a consultant on nutritional medicine to the Motherisk Program of the Department of Pharmacology of the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.
Born 22/2/51 in Budapest, Hungary; raised in Montreal, Quebec. Canadian citizen.