Dissolving Distilled Water Controversies
by David Klein, Ph.D., Naturorthopathic Doctor
Owner – The Durastill Store
Question: How effective is distillation in comparison to other water purification methods?
Answer by Dr. David Klein:
Distillation is the most effective of all methods of water purification. Distillation will kill and remove bacteria, viruses and cysts, and remove heavy metals, radionuclides, organics, inorganics and particulates. The carbon post-filter improves removal of any difficult remaining taste and other constituents.
Question: Should I add minerals to my distilled water for taste?
Answer by Dr. David Klein:
Adding any form of minerals to water gives us unbalanced nutrition which can be harmful.
Humans are designed to obtain organically-bound (chelated) minerals from the juices of fruits and plant foods. Inorganic mineral additives are toxic and unusable by the body. They also corrupt the pure “slippery” property of the distilled water. Pure distilled water has an ultra-low viscosity which means that it is able to slip through tight spaces such as membranes and capillaries easily, whereas water with minerals and other impurities is less viscous, or “slippery,” and it will not move through the body as easily. Distilled water is superior for transporting nutrients in and wastes out of our cells, as well as transporting toxins out of the body.
Question: Distilled water does not have any flavor. Does it need something?
Answer by Dr. David Klein:
Distilled water is tasteless. That is a good thing! When our body harbors toxins, we typically have an unpleasant taste in our mouths. After we have cleaned out and adopted a healthful eating program, our bodily fluids will become clean, even sweet, and the taste in our mouth will be pleasant or unnoticeable – that is a wonderful sign of good health! The drinking of tasteless distilled water during and after our detoxification phase typically has a pleasant freshening effect upon our senses and energy. Living in a body with purified fluids and no debris is a blessed, even ecstatic, experience, and everyone I have ever conversed with on this subject has stated that drinking pure distilled water feels great to the senses.
Question: I have heard that distilled water is “dead” water. What does this mean?
Answer by Dr. David Klein:
Distilled water is pure H2O, which is perfect for rehydrating and assisting the body in detoxification, because distilled water has no impurities and has an ultra-low viscosity which most efficiently dissolves soluble toxins and transports most toxins out of our cells, tissues and lymph channels for elimination. Heat-distilled water molecules are not damaged and the water is not in any way harmful.
We obviously obtain pure, healthful water from raw fruits and vegetables. Some say that the water in sun-ripened fruits and waters is “activated,” “structured” or “live.” It has been shown that the sun imbues the water molecules in sun-ripened fruits and vegetables with a special energy or structure. The superb life-force-enhancing effects of sun-charged living juices taken in whole-food form or juiced form are well-documented. However, adding distilled water to our diet, or fasting on distilled water will not pose any health problems. Hundreds of thousands of distilled water fasts have been conducted at fasting centers around the world over the last century with positive, energizing, healing, and in many cases, lifesaving results.
If you are concerned about “activating” distilled water with the energy of the sun, you can place a topless bowl of distilled water outside on a sunny day. The effect of the sun-drenched distilled water versus raw distilled water may or may not be discernible. All in all, pure distilled water straight out of a distiller is great for any body.
Question: Distilled water is slightly acidic. Is alkaline water better?
Answer by Dr. David Klein:
Fresh pure distilled water has neutral 7.0 pH. However, when exposed to the CO2 in the atmosphere, it becomes slightly acidic. All water absorbs some CO2 from the atmosphere. Since our saliva contains alkaline enzyme juices and our stomach secretes acid enzyme juices, the pH of our water is moot. Regardless of whether our water is slightly acidic when we first ingest it, the body easily buffers the water or water-and-food contents of our alimentary system to maintain homeostasis of the bloodstream within a narrow pH range of 7.35-7.45. We don’t think twice about eating a sweet orange, which is far more acidic than distilled water. Both are health-promoting.
Question: I have heard that distilled water leaches minerals from our cells. Is that true?
Answer by Dr. David Klein:
If, in this case, “leaching” implies that the distilled water acts against the body’s best interests in removing useful minerals from our cells, this assumption is incorrect—NO. Water in its pure distilled form is only good; it is inert and cannot act on the body. Distilled water can never force out essential body elements.
By virtue of its ultra low viscosity, distilled water efficiently carries or transports wastes and stores of toxins, including harmful inorganic minerals, out of the cells, tissues and bones, for elimination via sweat, respiration, urination, etc. So, when we drink only distilled water, we are assisting our body’s ability to eliminate toxins.
When people make dietary improvements, such as reducing the proportion of cooked, acid-forming foods (such as meat, dairy, wheat, rice, bread, beans, coffee) while increasing the quantity of alkalizing fruit and vegetable foods, their bodies begin health-improvement actions, including the elimination of toxins, in the process of establishing healthy alkaline balance.
Acid wastes are dumped into the bloodstream and lymph, and then sent to the liver and kidneys for processing and elimination. The body must keep the blood pH near a uniform 7.4. If there is a slight shift toward the acid end, the body will buffer the blood acidity to maintain homeostasis. The blood itself has many buffers to help maintain the normal electrolyte balance. If necessary, the body will take alkaline minerals out of the bones to buffer the acids, but only under extraordinary conditions when the blood buffers are not adequate.
An elimination crisis need not be drastic and harmful, and even intense and uncomfortable cleansing is not to be feared. These elimination crises are always orthopathic, i.e., right and necessary. They can be gentle and 100 percent health-building if one secures extra rest during this time. The drinking of enough distilled water when thirsty (not in excess), will allow the crisis to continue, as it should, resulting in a steady improvement in health.
If a person adheres to a healthful plant-and-fruit-based diet with no grossly acid-forming foods as part of an overall healthful, low-stress lifestyle regimen, he or she will arrive at a condition excellent health after the old acid wastes are eliminated. Drinking distilled water will not cause harm, but rather, will help keep one internally clean and operating at optimum efficiency. I found distilled water to always induce a freshening effect during my initial rebuilding phase 30 years ago; I felt (and continue to feel) more energetic and healthy after drinking pure distilled water.
If one regularly drinks distilled water and cleans up his or her diet say only 75 to 90 percent, while still indulging in 25 to 10 percent of the grossly acidifying cooked foods (e.g., meat, dairy, cereals, breads, cakes, candies, pasta, rice, tofu, soy milk, beans, etc.), he or she will never get beyond the acid-poisoning phase, thus, the body will always be exerting itself to eliminate acid wastes, resulting in sub-par health. Thus, it is dietary and lifestyle stress, not distilled water, which is to blame for the loss of any useful minerals.
In his book Alkalize or Die, Dr. Theodore A. Baroody states that it is a myth that distilled water leaches minerals out of the body and it deprives us of important minerals we need from spring water. He concludes that distilled water is one of the safest forms of water. He writes: “Only distilled water produces a completely negative ion reaction in the system. Negative ions are alkaline-forming. All other forms of water contain varying amounts of positive (acid-forming) ions, except alkaline-restructured water. Tissue acid wastes, which lead to unwholesome death, are positively charged. Distilled water, being negatively charged, draws to it positively charged acid waste products and flushes them into elimination channels. Even though most distilled water tests acidic, critics of distilled water must understand that because of its negative charge, a more alkaline internal environment is created in the body when imbibed.”
Question: How much more important is it to drink water in disease, especially in acute disease, when all functioning is abnormally retarded, and effete material is being conveyed to the eliminating organs faster than those organs can dispose of it?
Answer by Dr. Hereward Carrington:
In all acute diseases, the prompt administration of water, internally and externally, will undoubtedly save more lives than any other single and immediate measure that can be adopted.
The importance of drinking considerably more water than we at present do—which in acute diseases becomes a vital necessity—is becoming more and more recognized and accepted by all advanced physicians and students of Natural Hygiene. With hardly an exception, modern writers upon these subjects are unanimous in contending that “less food and more water” would result in benefitting mankind immensely. It is now known that one of the most universal and harmful ills from which humanity suffers, viz., constipation, is very largely due to insufficient water drinking. An increase in the amount daily consumed, together with a properly reformed dietary, will relieve almost any case of this terrible disorder.
Three important questions at once arise in connection with this subject of water drinking, which we must now consider: they are what kind of water is best for us to drink?; how much; and when?; in other words, the questions of 1. quality, 2. quantity, and 3. periodicity.
The whole question of quality may be summed up in four words—the purer the better! Absolutely pure water does not, for all practical purposes, exist in nature—the purest being rain water that has been collected in clean vessels—though even this is somewhat contaminated by its passage through the air, absorbing impurities, noxious gases, etc., in its descent.
Filters are one huge farce. They separate the mechanical impurities from the liquid, but the minute organisms—the “life”—in the water is absolutely fails to touch, as it does any elements of gases dissolved in the water. Boiling will generally have the effect of killing the micro-organisms (though even this is extremely doubtful), but does not remove the (now dead) organic matter in the water—which is consequently retained herein! The process has also other disadvantages.
The only really pure water is distilled water; that is, water which has been evaporated into steam, leaving the solid ingredients behind, and reconverted into water in another cooler vessel, into which the steam is made to pass. This process is without serious disadvantages (though even here it is contended that various gases, previously in solution, pass over with the steam); but at all events, it is the best method known for obtaining water free from chemical, mechanical and organic impurities. It may be mentioned that the water found in fruits, vegetables and other organic compounds is absolutely pure.
Now the importance of pure water can hardly be overestimated. As a dilutant, it is far more efficacious than water containing any mineral or other substances in solution. The drinking of large quantities of water containing various salts, gases, mineral substances, etc., in solution, as is done in Saratoga, Carlsbad, etc., under medical advice, cannot be too strongly deprecated. All such matter is highly injurious to the living organism, and cannot possibly fail to be otherwise. Says Dr. Trall:
“Artificial mineral waters, and the saline, alkaline, ferruginous, sulfurous compounds of the ‘medicinal springs’, are pernicious beverages for the sick or well. The drugs they contain are not better, and no different in effect, than the same drugs taken from the apothecary shop. Those physicians who permit their patients to use them may be justified in thus yielding to popular prejudice; but to prescribe them argues strange ignorance of hygiene, or perhaps a worse motive.” Again: “All the medicinal and mineral springs, Vichy, are only modifications of the oceans, the great reservoirs of all the impurities that water can dissolve. No one things of drinking them when well, nor would anyone be content to have his food soaked in them. But, when sick, presto!. The more earthy, saline, alkaline, and mineral ingredients they contain, the more they are in demand! Such is fashion.”
As Dr. James C. Jackson so well remarked: “Every woman knows that she cannot wash clothes in hard water. It is scarcely less practicable to wash the blood in it.”
Inorganic Minerals Not Usable by Body
In considering this question of the value of water containing mineral salts in solution, we have simply to ask ourselves this question: Are the mineral salts and gasses contained in this water appropriable by the system? Either they must be utilized as food (in which case chemical changes must take place, altering the nature and composition of the salts contained in solution) or, the drug is not appropriable by the system, in which case it does and must pass through it in its unchanged mineral condition, entailing considerable loss of energy in its expulsion, and clogging the system throughout with refuse matter—acting, in fact, in every way, as would a drug or mineral salt taken in any other form. Since they cannot possibly be beneficial, they must obviously be harmful; and the “cures” effects at the various resorts are undoubtedly brought about in spite of the injurious mineral waters drunk, and on account of the improved dietary and other hygienic rules adopted by the patients during this period of treatment. As Doctor Rausse said: “If, during a cure by mineral springs, a temporary recovery is affected, then it is not by virtue of the minerals in the water, but by virtue of the water in the mineral springs, by virtue of the out-of-doors exercise, of pure open air and of good living.”
Mineral Waters Beget Problems
It is admitted that it is not known to what extent the drinking of mineral water alone would be of value, while Doctor Arany admits that diet is a very important feature in the cure at Carlsbad. It would be highly amusing, were it not tragic, to learn that patients who visit the mineral springs, and get “cured” at them, are considered in need of an “aftercure”—a cure to cure the cure! On pages 86—90 of the British-American Guide to Carlsbad are given a number of places that might be tried for the aftercure!
If the same amount of pure water were drunk as there is mineral water now disposed of, infinitely better results would doubtless follow. And in support of this I might state: It is worthy of remark that, at some places where “miracles” are claimed to be wrought by the effect of the water—as, for example, at Malvern—the water used is remarkable merely for its great purity and almost absolute freedom from mineral ingredients.
On the contrary, the direct and powerfully harmful effects of drinking water containing lime or other salts in solution is most forcibly shown in the following extract, which I quote at some length. It is as follows:
“The solid earthy matter which, by gradual accumulation in the body, brings on ossification, rigidity, decrepitude, and death, is principally phosphate of lime, or bone matter; carbonate of lime, or common chalk, and sulphate of lime, or plaster of Paris, with occasionally magnesia and other earthy substances.”
“We have seen that a process of consolidation begins at the earliest period of existence and continues without interruption until the body is changed from a comparatively fluid, elastic, and energetic state, to a solid, earthy, rigid, inactive condition, which terminates in death—that infancy, childhood, young, manhood, old age and decrepitude are but so many different conditions of the body or stages of the progress of consolidation or ossification—that the only difference in the body between old age and youth is the greater density, toughness and rigidity, and the greater proportion of calcareous earthy matter which enters into its composition.”
Inorganic Minerals Cause Ossification, Senility and Death
“The question now arises: What is the source of the calcareous earthy matter which thus accumulates in the system? It seems to be regarded as an axiom that all the solids of the body are continually built up and renewed from the blood. If so, everything which these solids contained is derived from the blood. The solids contain phosphates and carbonate of lime, which are, therefore, derived from the blood, in which, as already shown, these earthy substances are invariably found to a greater or less extent. The blood is renewed from the chyle, which is always found upon analysis to contain the same earthy substances as the blood and the solids. The chyle is renewed from the chime, and ultimately from the food and drink. The food and drink, then, which nourish the system, must, at the same time, be the primary source of the calcareous earthy matter which enters into the composition of the chime, the chyle, and the blood, and which is ultimately deposited in all the tissues, membranes, vessels and solids of the body—producing old age, decrepitude and natural death.
“Common table salt, which is used in the preparation of almost every kind of food, contains a fearfully large amount of calcareous earthy matter, and is productive of very great mischief to the animal economy.”
The amount of water that should be daily consumed by the individual depends upon many and varied circumstances—such as the nature of the diet, the temperature of the atmosphere, the amount of its “dryness” or the reverse, the amount of exercise indulged in, the condition of the organism (whether healthy or diseased), etc. If the diet is largely fruit or other substances containing a large percentage of water, it is obvious that less need be drunk than if food is of the dry kind, or if it be stimulating. In the hot weather, we all drink considerably more than in the cooler, owing to the greater loss of water through perspiration; the same effect also resulting from vigorous exercise. Atmospheric dampness, or the reverse, would affect the thirst indirectly by its effect upon the bodily evaporation. But in all diseases, or whatever nature, water should be partaken of ad libitum. We should, in fact, encourage the desire for it in every possible way, and there is no disease whatever, in which pure water is other than decidedly beneficial in any reasonable quantities—provided that the diet be sufficiently restricted.
The dread of water drinking is one of those terrible superstitions which has doubtless sent thousands of unfortunate and deluded victims to a premature grave. It is possible, doubtless, for anyone to drink too much water—especially if that water be of a low temperature. Water drinking should always be gauged by the degree of thirst, and a normal person will never crave more than is good for him.
It must be understood that I am not advocating the practice of drinking great quantities of water at any time during the day; of “drowning the stomach,” as one author expressed it. One may have “too much of a good thing.”
But the quantity of water to be drunk is still an unsettled question; for, allowing for all the considerations at the commencement of this discussion, there must yet be some approximate amount that is possible to determine. Upon this question, opinions differ here as everywhere; but, without entering into the details, the pros and cons of the discussion, it may be stated that, on a rough estimate, and under ordinary normal conditions, from three to four pints of water are needed daily. All this water may safely be gathered from food, if we are on a proper diet. It may safely be said that any great and long continued reduction from the minimum amount needed will sooner or later show itself in some form of acute or chronic illness.
Coming now to the question as the time when water should be drunk, we can lay down the definite and certain rule that it should never be drunk at meals, and preferably not for at least one hour after the meal has been eaten. The effect of drinking water while eating is, first, to artificially moisten the food, thus hindering the normal and healthful flow of saliva and the other digestive juices; secondly, to dilute the various juices to an abnormal extent; and thirdly, to wash the food elements through the stomach and into the intestines before they have had time to become thoroughly liquefied and digested. The effects of this upon the welfare of the whole organism can only be described as direful. At other times during the day or night, water may be drink with comparative freedom, the quantity being dictated altogether by thirst.
Question: Why is distilled water the healthiest water?
Answer by Dr. R. W. Bernard:
One source of inorganic impurities in the blood is water, especially city water which has been chlorinated, fluoridated and “purified” by addition of aluminum compounds. Also, there is present in all water, including well and spring water, inorganic minerals which the body cannot use, and which are more or less harmful. The purest water is water free from all minerals, chemicals, and metals—distilled water. It is best to distill one’s own water at home with a distilling apparatus.
Distilled water is made by heating water until it is transformed into steam, leaving all the inorganic and organic impurities behind. The same is then cooled and condensed back into pure distilled water. All solid matter is left behind in the still, and only pure water, composed of hydrogen and oxygen, remains.
Many of those who oppose the use of distilled water claim it is “dead” water, and that the life element in distilled water is killed by the distilling process. To disprove this argument, we should point out that the minerals in ordinary water, as it is found in wells, in springs, and coming from city faucets, is inorganic. Such water has no more life than the mineral matter composing the soil, when in solution. Just as the minerals of the soil, being inorganic, cannot be assimilated by the human body, and would be harmful if ingested, so with the minerals present in spring water. It is first necessary that the plant, through its roots, absorb these minerals and that the plant transform them into an organic form or combination. It is only in this way that the body can use them. Otherwise, one would dissolve some oil in water and drinking the resulting liquid, and believe one is obtaining valuable minerals. The idea that one obtains minerals by drinking spring water is just as irrational. The minerals of spring water represent merely a more dilute solution of the minerals of the soil, dissolved directly or carried into them by rainfall, after passing through the soil.
There is no “life” in spring water except germ life—the micro-organisms that swarm around in it. While boiling water kills these germs, it does not get rid of their dead bodies. Boiled water contains the decomposing bodies of millions of dead germs. The only way to get rid of them is by distilling the water. The end-products of the decomposition of dead bacteria and germs, as well as their bodies, are indoles, skatoles, purines and other poisonous substances.
While spring and well water, due to the inorganic minerals they contain, are more or less objectionable, chlorinated city water is worse. Chlorine is the poison gas used in the first World War. Some authorities say that steam escaping from radiators supplied with chlorinated water causes disease in man, and kills plants in rooms heated by steam radiation.
In cities where water has been fluoridated, it contains small amounts of sodium fluoride, a rat poison, which, while not producing any immediate harmful effect, may have a gradual cumulative action, whose effects are yet undetermined.
All large cities add chemicals to water supplies to “purify” them, chief among which is alum. Other chemicals are used, too. These chemicals are present in the water we drink. Dr. Holder claims that aluminum in drinking water, by its cumulative action, may contribute to the origin of cancer.
But even in spring water without added chemicals, due to its inorganic lime and other minerals, does damage. The difference between youth and age is but a difference in the amount of calcareous mineral matter that has been deposited in the tissues of the body, making them tough and rigid. The symptoms of senility are caused by the long and gradual accumulation of these inorganic substances in the body. According to Dr. Robatham, hard spring water contains so much carbonate and sulphate of lime that it is calculated that a person who drinks an average amount of it daily will, in forty years, take into his body as much as would turn him into a life-sized statue, were not most of it eliminated. But some of it remains in the system, causing hardening of the arteries and stiffening of the tissues and joints, in spite of the action of the kidneys and skin in continuously throwing off these minerals. Dr. de la Torre writes:
“Did you ever notice the coat of hardened mineral deposits at the bottom of your tea kettle, caused by the deposition and incrustation of mineral matter, which the water, evaporated through boiling, has left behind? There you have a good illustration of what is happening in your body every day of your life, when you drink hard water. Water becomes saturated with minerals in solution up to a certain point. Beyond that point, more mineral added to the water will precipitate; that is, fall to the bottom of the container. When we boil water, we cause the evaporation of part of it. Hence, part of the minerals which the evaporated water was holding in solution precipitates, to the bottom of the pan or kettle we are using.”
“The same process is taking place in our body. The heat of the body is slowly but continually evaporating some of the water of the body, up to a certain extent, and to that extent is the solid matter being consolidated and deposited in the tissues, unless we have a strong excretory system, and unless the intake of mineral matter is below our powers of elimination.”
“Now, in concluding, let me bring this point to your mind. If you put distilled water in your old kettle, you will notice that gradually but surely, the pure distilled water, having a strong affinity for minerals, begins to dissolve the calcareous deposits incrustated at the bottom and sides of the kettle. And, if you keep changing the water, once it has become saturated with calcareous minerals, by the addition of more distilled water, it will be just a matter of time until all the incrustated minerals are dissolved.
“Just so it happens in our body. When we drink water, and supply natural methods of elimination, slowly but surely the old deposits that have been hardening our arteries, muscles and joints, causing arteriosclerosis, rheumatism and arthritis, gall bladder and kidney stones, will begin to be dissolved and eliminated; in this manner, that immediate cause of premature old age and disease will begin to overcome, especially if with the use of distilled water, we adopt the natural food diet, undergo the purifying process of fasting, and apply natural hygiene.”
“Instead of hard, chlorinated water (if we must use water) let us use only distilled water.”
Another cause of deposits and hardening of tissues, which leads to disease and premature senility is the deposit of urates in the tissues. Urates are salts of uric acid, and produced by consumption of such foods as meat, fowl and fish, which introduce uric acid into the body. Uratic infiltration is a form of petrification of certain tissues, due to the deposit of urates of dosium, together with some carbonates and phosphates. Urates are normally found in the urine, but in pathological conditions are deposited in the cartilages, ligaments and articular membranes. Urates deposit in the bladder as uratic calculi, or stones. They may settle in the hands and cause petrification of the articulations of the fingers, though they usually settle in the feet, especially the big toe. This form of degeneration is the cause of gout, rheumatism and arthritis. Urates can also settle in the endocardium (internal lining membrane of the heart), in the arteries and kidneys.
Uratic concretions are salts formed by combination of uric acid with sodium, magnesium and calcium, which are found with some quantity of sodium chloride, carbonate and phosphate of lime and hippuric acid. In order to neutralize uric acid, the blood is robbed of soda and lime.
Just as these deposits precipitated from the blood, so they can be redissolved. The first step is to prevent their further formation by discontinuing the use of flesh foods. The next step is to take measures to dissolve and eliminate the uric acid deposits, which, according to Dr. Cajal, are dissolved if treated with acids, being transformed first into crystals, and then eliminated through the kidneys. The best way to do this is by a special diet of acid fruits, and the use of distilled water, both of which help to dissolve and eliminate uratic deposits in the arteries and other parts of the body.
Question: What does a savvy medical doctor say about distilled water?
Answer by Otto Carque, M.D:
Water is one of the most characteristic substances of our planet. It may simultaneously appear in solid, liquid and gaseous form; it has been adapted as a unit of measure for the specific gravity of all other substances; it plays an important role in the circulation of the elements in the earth’s surface. From oceans and lakes, fields and forests, a continuous stream of water is rising as vapor into the atmosphere, to be recondensed in cooler regions and precipitated as rain or snow. Three-fourths of these precipitations, of course, return directly to the oceans, the rest falling on land, collecting in rivers and lakes or else penetrating the earth, perhaps to be brought to the surface again as springs and wells. When water falls as rain to the earth, it absorbs carbon dioxide, ammonia and other soluble gasses, if present, and washes the atmosphere free from dust particles and impurities. This meteoric water (rain or snow), although nearly free from dissolved minerals substances, is therefore by no means pure, except in very high altitudes and above the line of perpetual snow and ice.
From twenty-five to forty percent of the annual rainfall in the temperate zones soaks at once into the ground and passes downward through the soil to hardpan, to clayey or impervious layers, or to rock surface, thence through crevices, broken joints, or glacial drift deposits to the water table. From here it may flow along the slopes for many miles, until it finds its way again to the surface, either from the bottom of a lake, the bed of a river, the side of a hill or mountain, or supplying wells. Reappearing as spring water, it is free from all organic matter, but often rich in gases and minerals. The hardness of most spring water is chiefly due to its content of calcium bicarbonate, which is formed by the action of carbonic acid in rain water upon calcareous materials.
Absolutely pure water can be obtained only by repeated distillation of fairly pure water, in vessels constructed of silver. Distilled water, even when stored in porcelain or glass, quickly takes up small quantities of silicates, of which the containers are made. The purest water we can obtain in nature is the rain falling on high mountains, or in the country after several hours of heavy precipitation.
Even rain water contains some minute solid particles, which are necessary for the condensation of the water vapor in the atmosphere, but the earthy matter of rain water is infinitesimal compared to that of hard water. Bacteria are also present in rain water, which should be filtered if to be used for drinking purposes. Rain water is best stored in cement-lined wells, as metal poisoning may occur from water stored in galvanized tanks. Decaying organic matter increases the solvent power of water for metals, therefore corroding the containers and conveyance pipes. We hear of occasional cases of lead and zinc poisoning resulting from water stored too long in galvanized tanks, which should never be used for this purpose.
All spring waters are more or less hard, the degree of hardness being generally determined by their capacity for dissolving soap. In soft water, such as rain water, or distilled water, soap lathers immediately; in hard water, a considerable amount of soap is wasted before any lather is formed. This condition is caused by the calcium salts, carbonates and sulphate of lime, which unite with the fatty acids of the soap to produce new combinations. Only after these salts are chemically combined with the fatty acids can a satisfactory lather be made.
Calcium carbonate in spring water is formed by the presence of free carbonic acid gas (collected during its passage through the air as rain), which combines with the lime, taken up from the soil. Boiling the water breaks up the calcium carbonate into its component parts. The carbonic acid gas escapes into the air, and the lime is precipitated, but unless calcium carbonate was the only mineral present, the water may still be hard, although less so than before. Chloride of calcium and sulphate of calcium cannot be removed by boiling; for separating these substances, there is no better remedy than distillation. If a still is used to purify the drinking water, such water, from which a part of the impurities have been removed by boiling or filtering, will not clog or coat the apparatus with lime as readily as very hard waters.
The belief that hard waters are beneficial because they furnish the necessary lime to the human system, and that soft water causes soft bones and premature decay of the teeth, or dissolves some of the necessary elements of the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines, has no foundation at all. Distilled water will not deprive living tissue of organic salts, as is often assumed.
Lime, to be of any benefit to the system, must be supplied in the organic form, such as found in fruits and vegetables. The common practice of giving lime water to babies cannot be justified in the light of modern physiological chemistry. In fact, very hard waters often cause dyspepsia and constipation, which are relieved by the use of soft or distilled water.
Vegetables cooked in hard water are rendered hard and indigestible. This is especially the case with legumes, as the sulphate of calcium in water, when boiled, forms hard indigestible compounds with the legumin, causing flatulency. There is no doubt that the use of distilled water tends to prolong life, as it prevents to a large extent the ossification of the arteries, and lessens the work of the kidneys.
Dr. Luther L. Von Wedekend, of the Navy Yard of Brooklyn NY, who has had wide experience in regard to distilled water, which is used exclusively in the U.S. Navy, write as follows:
“Any thinking person, medical or lay, who has even a mediocre knowledge of the process of elimination, not only of toxins, but the general run of excrementious matter from the human body, will at once recognize the therapeutic value of pure water; for if he thinks only a little, he will realize that this surplus of fluid in no way overtaxes the kidneys, but relieves it of its burden by sending to this filter a diluted instead of a concentrated solution, and that the process of elimination by the pore is vastly improved.”
It is unquestionable that well-aerated distiller water, i.e., purified water, is preferable to the usual hard spring waters. Those who live far away from the centers of population where distilled water can be had at reasonable prices, and who are doubtful about their water supply, should procure a small water still for their daily supply of drinking water.
Water is necessary to all forms of vegetable and animal life, even the lowest types. The change of matter which produces human energy is dependent upon the presence of water in the tissues. No vital action is possible without it. It makes up nearly two-thirds of the human body, and the following table gives the percentage of water in its various parts.
Red Blood Corpuscles 68.7
Muscular tissues 75.0
Blood plasma 90.0
Blood serum 90.7
Gastric juice 99.5
The presence of water is essential in the processes of digestion and absorption, as a solvent for foods. It is likewise necessary for dissolving the various substances which have to be removed from the body through the excretory organs. More than one-half of the amount of water taken into the system is again discharged through the kidneys, about one-quarter through the skin, seventeen percent through the lungs, and four percent through the intestines. Thus we are constantly losing water in various ways. The air we exhale is saturated with moisture, and the skin is daily giving off from one to two pints of water, in the form of sweat during strenuous exercise. Under normal conditions, the kidneys discharge from two to three pints daily, but there are habitual drinkers of light alcoholic beverages, such as beer, who often consume from eight to ten pints of liquid during a single day, thus overtaxing and weakening the kidneys, and at the same time impoverishing the blood.
The amount of water actually needed by the body depends on various circumstances, principally on climate and occupation. The greater the functional activity of the organism, the greater the need for fluid. This need is indicated by thirst, which is best satisfied by pure water, but the larger part of the water necessary for the physiological functions of the system may be derived from our food, if judiciously selected. Thus, fruits contain a very large percentage of water, from 80 to 90 percent, so that people partaking freely of fresh fruits and vegetables need little or no water in addition to that supplied by their food. Furthermore, in nature’s products, we procure water in the purest form, distilled in her own laboratory, and this is undoubtedly the best and most hygienic way in which water can be taken. Besides, in fruits and vegetables, the water is in an organic combination with other elements, and in this state has the most beneficial action upon our system. A person living largely on these foods has very little desire for any liquid. It is only the excessive consumption of meat and other highly seasoned foods which creates an abnormal thirst. Certain animals, such as hares and rabbits, which feed on grasses and herbs, containing about 85% of water, never drink as long as they can find their natural food. Mother’s milk contains about 87% of water, and juicy fruits and succulent vegetables nearly come up to the same standard. A person consuming about four pounds of fresh fruit daily has in addition to about eight ounces of solid food, at least three pints of water of unsurpassed quality.
As already stated, in case of a high protein diet, more water is necessary than with a diet consisting largely of foods in which fats and carbohydrates predominate, because the waste products of the former need a large amount of water for their solution and excretion. We should not, however, entertain the idea that by copious water drinking we are able to flush the system like a sewer. This is a mistaken view, resulting from a lack of understanding of the physiological functions of the organism. Purification of the human organism is an electro-chemical process of the living cells. The waste products, like uric acid, sulfuric acid, carbonic acid, etc., must be first combined with some of the alkaline elements, principally sodium, before they can be taken up by the blood stream and excreted. If the diet is lacking in the necessary organic salts, large quantities of water will only complicate matters by thinning the blood and still further reducing its percentage of mineral elements. Similarly, the digestive juices and other fluids of the body will lose their strength. Digestion and elimination will be impaired, while the heart and kidneys will be overworked. On the other hand, a well-planned improvement of the diet will enrich the blood in the needful organic salts, and aid the system in the performance of its physiological functions, especially in the more complete digestion of foods, and in the excretion of waste matter.
The excessive use of table salt (inorganic chloride of sodium) which is often used as an aid to indigestion, cannot be condemned too severely. It creates an unnatural thirst, as it deprives the tissues of a large amount of water, on account of its diuretic properties. Moreover, a person who partakes of a beverage, not because he is thirsty, but because that beverage is palatable, is exceeding the actual needs of the system, and overtaxing his excretory organs. Indeed, a very large number of people think they cannot quench their thirst with plain water, but must have an ingredient which also pleases the palate. These artificially acquired cravings, largely due to wrong eating, are responsible for a good deal of over-drinking, with its fatal consequences. The thirsty person who cannot satisfy his thirst unless the beverage contains what is really a drug, has actually acquired a most pernicious habit. Among such unhygienic drinks can be classified the various intoxicating beverages, even if containing but a small percentage of alcohol, and coffee, tea, soda water and the numerous carbonated drinks which are dispensed at soda fountains and refreshment counters. All these drinks, when consumed regularly, convey something into the organism over and above the water itself, something that is not only distinctly injurious to the system, but that also offsets the beneficial action of the water. Furthermore, alcoholic beverages stimulate the kidneys and excessive excretions of urine, which constantly carry off necessary mineral elements from blood and lymph.
All fluids have to pass through the blood vessels of the stomach and the lacteals of the small intestine to the thoracic duct, which passes upward along the front of the spine and opens at the root of the neck into the large blood vessel leading to the heart. Thence the blood stream passes to every part and organ of the body, nourishing and cleansing the cells and forming digestive juices and glandular secretions. The organic salts, in performing their functions, use up vital electricity and magnetism, and must be renewed by means of natural food. Mineral waters, coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages do not supply these salts, but still further vitiate the already impoverished blood and lymph. In all such conditions, an exclusive fruit diet will be more beneficial than the taking of one or two gallons of liquid daily, for which there is no physiological needs.
There also exists a wide-spread and entirely unfounded notion that the salts contained in mineral waters supply the elements for the proper physiological functions of our organism. Careful investigations have shown repeatedly that inorganic substances, like lime, soda, potash, iron, silica, etc., contained in these waters, while they may enter into the circulation and produce some temporary chemical action, are not able to perform the vital processes in place of the highly organized salts of natural foods. The wonderful cures reported from renowned watering places must be attributed to the increased exercise in fresh air and a more or less restricted diet, rather than to the copious drinking from certain springs. Most of the mineral waters which are used as aperients give only temporary relief, and if regularly taken, produce a catarrhal condition of the alimentary canal. Pure water, with the addition of some unfermented fruit juices, is far more beneficial in such cases, as the mild organic acids of the fruits promote the normal action of the digestive organs, and help to overcome constipation.
As already pointed out, the best way to regulate the water supply of the system, is to adopt a simple and frugal diet, free from inorganic salt, spices and condiments, but with a liberal supply of salad plants and fresh fruits. Thus the desire for liquids will be greatly reduced, and whenever this occurs, it will be natural, and best satisfied with pure and softer water, in moderate quantity.
If liquids for which there is no physiological need are habitually taken into the system, it is certainly not in accordance with the laws of hygiene. No strict rules in regard to the quantity of water can be made, except that drinking during meals should be avoided, or at least reduced to a minimum. If there is an indication of thirst, the meal should consist largely of fresh fruit. Ice water should never be taken, and the temperature of drinking water should never be much below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When the use of hot water is required internally, the temperature should be between 110 degrees and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or slightly above blood heat.
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