HORMONE HEALTH RESOURCES
Best Water Filtration System for Thyroid and Hormones
There are four things humans cannot live without:
- Food, and
Three of these are necessary for our physical survival.
In today’s post, I am going to talk about water, specifically, what kind of water we should drink for optimal health.
Best Water Filter for Thyroid and Hormones
You and I know that water is essential for our survival. We even know that we should be drinking about 64+ oz (about 2 liters). However, there is still confusion about the best water to drink for health, not just for survival:
- tap water
- reverse osmosis water
- bottled water
- deionized water
- distilled water
- water filtered through cheap filters, such as PUR water filter of Brita, etc., or
- carbon filtered water
Just looking at this list can make you overwhelmed. You and I might become so overwhelmed, in fact, that we become paralyzed and do nothing at all, or, inversely, do something that might not be best for our health.
To help you through the jungle of water filters and water filtration systems choices I am going to break this post down into three parts:
- first, I will tell you about all of the above-mentioned options;
- second, I will tell you which ones to avoid and why;
- then I will tell you what you can do to get the best water you can for you and your family.
Water and Water Filtration Options
Good ol’ tap water is full of it…junk that is. While the city you live in might be trying hard to make water in your faucet drinkable, the contaminants we send into the very water we drink are not the city’s main priority.
We pollute our own water daily. Everything from soaps, shampoos, laundry detergent to toilet bowl cleaners and bodily fluids contaminates our water supply daily, not to mention pharmaceuticals that pass through our bodies (or get dumped) into sewage, and come back into our water.
Industrial and farm runoff water pollution is at all times high. Chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and other toxins end up on the water supply. To neutralize some of the ill effects we contribute to our own water supply sewage treatment facilities add more chemicals, namely chlorine, in order to kill harmful bacteria.
Water softeners treat hard water (mostly well water). “Hard water” is water that contains too much of calcium and magnesium minerals. Since the water softener unit must be flushed regularly with a salt mix, the drinking water supply may contain an unhealthy amount of sodium.
Drip Pitchers and Faucet Water Filters
Drip pitchers use a carbon cartridge to filter small amounts of water at a time. Since water does not get to sit in the filtration system for a long period of time and passes through the filter very quickly, very little of chemical byproducts are removed. In addition, the carbon used in these cartridges is of low quality and must be replaced frequently.
Bottled water varies greatly from source to source. Many bottled water brands use distilled, reverse osmosis water, spring and even tap water. Bottled water is expensive long term, not to mention it is not kind to the environment.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration system forces water through fine membranes to filter out impurities. RO filtration removes not only impurities but also all of the beneficial minerals and electrolytes, essential to our health, from water. It takes 2-10 gallons of water to produce one gallon of RO filtered water.
Distilled water is water that has many of its impurities removed through distillation. Distillation involves boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container. It takes 4-4.5 hours to produce one gallon of distilled water. This filtration system requires using energy. The distiller containers are often made of metal or plastic, which add to water toxicity. (I will explain how demineralized water becomes abrasive shortly). This process demineralizes water.
Deionized water is water that has had its mineral ions removed. Deionization is a chemical process. However, deionization does not significantly remove uncharged organic molecules, viruses or bacteria.
Carbon water filtration absorbs only the unnatural impurities in the water and is able to produce filtered water on a gallon-to-gallon basis. It leaves the water tasting good and smooth. Carbon filtered water retains minerals and electrolytes. There are different types of carbon used; coconut-shell carbon is one of the most absorptive and effective carbons, whereas simple charcoal carbon is of a lower grade. There are under-sink carbon water filter options and whole-house units, which would allow filtration of not only drinking water but also the water used in the entire household. With the whole-household option, the filter goes on the water line before the hot water heater, which means that even your hot water ends up being filtered.
To Sum it Up
- tap water has minerals but is full of toxic waste
- pitcher and faucet filters are not very effective at removing toxic chemicals
- reverse osmosis (RO), distilled and deionized waters are demineralized—these processes remove most harmful and beneficial elements
- reverse osmosis filtration is costly to the environment
- distilled and deionized water filtrations require energy
- bottled water sources vary from completely demineralized to low-mineralized water
- carbon water filtration systems are cost-effective; they remove most of the harmful substances from water, while leaving beneficial minerals intact
Definition: demineralized water is water that has undergone the process of purification to be made drinkable. During such a process, harmful elements, along with minerals, are removed from the water.
Demineralized water is not found in nature, except possibly for rainwater and naturally formed ice. Initially, demineralized water had been used mainly for industrial, technical and laboratory purposes. In 1960’s, with limited drinking water in certain regions not meeting the demands of growing populations, developing industries and even tourism, demineralization of water was needed to sustain some communities. (1)
Demineralized Water Poses Health Risks
In 2005, World Health Organization released a report on drinking water and its effects on our health. (1) Numerous studies, cited in the report, focused on the health risks of consuming demineralized water.
Here are some of the findings:
- Demineralized water is highly aggressive and if untreated, its distribution through pipes and storage tanks would not be possible. The aggressive water attacks the water distribution piping and leaches metals and other materials from the pipes and associated plumbing materials.
- Not only does completely demineralized water have unsatisfactory organoleptic properties (unpleasant taste), but it also has a definite adverse influence on the animal and human organism.
- Demineralized water is less thirst-quenching, which, along with its organoleptic properties, could contribute to less water consumption.
- Consuming water of low mineral content has a negative effect on homeostasis* mechanisms, compromising the mineral and water metabolism in the body.
- Experiments in animals have shown that the intake of distilled water increased water intake, diuresis, extracellular fluid volume, and serum concentrations of sodium and chloride ions and their increased elimination from the body, resulting in an overall negative balance; and lower volumes of red cells and some other changes.
- Consumption of demineralized water decreased secretion of tri-iodothyronine and aldosterone, increased secretion of cortisol, morphological changes in kidneys and limited the blood flow.
- Reduced skeletal ossification** was found in rat fetuses whose dams were given distilled water. The reduced mineral intake from the water was not compensated by their diets, even if the animals were kept on a standardized diet that was physiologically adequate in caloric value, nutrients, and salt composition. The results of human experiments were in agreement with those in animal experiments.
- Consumption of demineralized water in humans decreased serum potassium concentration and increased the elimination of sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium ions from the body.
- While drinking water is not the major source of calcium and magnesium intake, these minerals are more absorbable in water than through food intake.
- Demineralized water is associated with increased morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD).
- The intake of demineralized water may be associated with a higher risk of fracture in children, certain neurodegenerative diseases, pre-term birth and low weight at birth and some types of cancer.
- In addition to an increased risk of sudden death, the intake of water low in magnesium seems to be associated with a higher risk of motor neuronal disease, pregnancy disorders (so-called preeclampsia), and some cancers.
- Low-mineral drinking water may be a risk factor for hypertension and coronary heart disease, gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis, goiter, pregnancy complications and several complications in newborns and infants, including jaundice, anemia, fractures and growth disorders.
- Children living in areas with demineralized water exhibited slower physical development and more growth abnormalities; pregnant women suffered more frequently from edema and anemia. Newborns of this area showed higher morbidity.
*the ability of the body or a cell to seek and maintain a condition of equilibrium or stability within its internal environment when dealing with external changes
** the developmental process of bone formation
It Doesn’t Take Long
WHO further reports that…
“while the effects of most chemicals commonly found in drinking water manifest themselves after long exposure, the effects of calcium and, in particular, those of magnesium on the cardiovascular system are believed to reflect recent exposures. Only a few months exposure may be sufficient consumption time effects from water that is low in magnesium and/or calcium.
[When Czechs and Slovaks] began using reverse osmosis-based systems for final treatment of drinking water at their home taps in 2000-2002, within several weeks or months various complaints suggestive of acute magnesium (and possibly calcium) deficiency were reported. The complaints included cardiovascular disorders, tiredness, weakness or muscular cramps… (1)”
Demineralized Water and Cooking
The WHO report demonstrated that studies have shown that,
“When used for cooking, soft [demineralized] water was found to cause substantial losses of all essential elements from food… (1)”
Such losses reached very impressive levels—up to 60% for magnesium and calcium, 66% for copper, 70% for manganese and 86% for cobalt.
When hard water (water which has not been demineralized) was used in cooking, the loss of these elements was much lower, and “in some cases, [a higher] calcium content was reported in food as a result of cooking.”
Increased Intake of Toxic Metals
Demineralized water is very corrosive. It causes higher leaching of metals from materials in contact with water (such as pipes or containers), resulting in an increased metal content (or chemical content from plastic bottles) in drinking water, which, in turn, increases toxic load in our bodies. While hard water has protective (antitoxic) qualities, demineralized water lacks such protective capacity.
Lastly, should you consider using RO water, the pressure tanks of reverse osmosis units are prone to bacterial regrowth, primarily due to the removal of residual disinfectant by the treatment.
Choosing the Right Water Filter
I hope that reading these facts and going through the process of elimination has put your mind to rest about deciding which system to pick for at-home use. After I conducted my research and counseled with people I respect, I settled on a carbon water filter for my entire house, purchased through (and installed by) a local water company.
While carbon filters do not remove fluoride from the water, we had added an additional filtration system that has recently come on the market that removes fluoride. I will provide details for this system in a soon-to-be-featured interview with my water-guy. Keep an eye out for this interview in the near future.
Ever since installing our unit we have enjoyed the cleaner, smoother taste of water, and peace of mind.
(1) WHO Nutrients in Drinking Water Geneva WHO Press 2005
Please share this post with everyone you care about. Let’s make this world a healthier place one cup of water at a time.
3 of the water images in this post are courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
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