Clean Water Essentials

Most of us know that water is essential for life, and makes up between 50% and 90% of our bodies. Even our bones are made up of about 22% water. Water is critical for oxygen transport throughout our body, energy production by our cells, and even regulation of our DNA! Symptoms of dehydration include irritability, constipation, headaches, and fatigue. Chronic, even minimal dehydration can lead to weight-gain, depression, allergies, heart disease, chronic low energy, hormone imbalances, and chronic pain. Clean drinking water is one of the most simple yet powerful components of an optimal wellness plan.

Water intake recommendations vary. My general recommendation is to drink 35mL of water for every kg of body weight (16mL per lb), which includes the water you consume in food. More water is recommended for those who eat a high-protein diet, consume diuretics (e.g. “water pills”, coffee, pepsi), experience frequent diarrhea or vomiting, and who regularly exercise strenuously. Less water may be required for individuals who consume more than 7 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day.

Drinking this much water can also be dangerous: Water can be the trojan horse that carries toxic chemicals into our body.

Most sources now agree that bottled water carries numerous health risks, is poorly regulated for safety by government authorities, and is a significant environmental threat. Water carried in plastic bottles that contain bisphenol-A, a chemical added to Canada’s Toxic Substances list in October, mimics estrogen in the body and can significantly increase the risk of some cancers and birth defects. A Statistics Canada report from last year found that 91% of Canadians examined had detectable levels of this chemical in their body. The Environmental Working Group has published some of their own (American) research, here, and here.

Though arguably a healthier alternative to bottled water, Kingston tap water is heavily chlorinated to protect us from infectious microbes and some Kingston homes (Utilities Kingston estimates 3500 customers), still receive water from old lead pipes or from copper pipes with lead solder. Many officials consider this chlorine and lead exposure to be of minimal health risk, but it is becoming abundantly clear through environmental research and chronic disease medicine that the cumulative environmental exposure to heavy metals, solvents, and other toxic substances is responsible for severely reducing the body’s capacity to ward off chronic illness and cancer. The Center for Disease Control website contains some of the most up-to-date research on environmental chemical exposure and its impact on health.

The water you choose to drink impacts your health significantly on a daily basis. Choosing healthier water can have far-reaching health benefits.

Reverse Osmosis water is generally considered to be the most clean water. RO systems effectively remove most heavy metals, harmful microbes, solvents, and presumably chemicals we don’t typically test for in our water. They also remove most minerals. The lack of natural minerals in the RO water appears to require your body to secrete its own minerals to maintain osmotic balance, thereby causing widespread mineral deficiencies in the body and corresponding illness. Some smart RO companies pair their systems with unique mineral cartridges that attach to under-the-counter home RO units. (MineralPro is one such company. This website contains some useful information for interested readers. Please email KIHC for contact information of our local distributor.)

Other disadvantages? RO systems generate a lot of waste water – up to 3 litres of waste water for every 1 litre of water consumed. They are also of the most expensive filtration units (but arguably with good reason), and least portable.

By comparison, carbon filters such as the Brita Filter, clean readily available tap water without any waste water, and they effectively remove chlorine. They are usually the most economically priced water filter, and are very portable. On the down side, carbon filters are not very effective at removing heavy metals such as lead, and they produce a water with an acidic (low) pH that requires your body to work harder to maintain good health and balance.

The Santevia water unit contains a carbon filter and an additional 5 filtering units that address chlorine, heavy metals, and other chemicals. Though the resulting water is quite clean, it is not as clean as RO water. However, relative to RO water, Santevia water is more environmentally friendly, (no waste water produced or chemicals used), is infused with minerals (i.e. does not cause mineral deficiency), has a high (alkaline) pH that is associated with prevention and treatment of numerous chronic degenerative diseases, including osteoporosis and cancer, is portable, and less expensive than an RO system. The Santevia water unit is bisphenol-A free.

We do not recommend relying on any one of these systems for well water that could potentially be contaminated with life-threatening microbes, such as disease-causing e-coli bacteria.

Santevia units may be ordered via the internet for $199. For the month of August, these units will be available at KIHC for $165, on sale from our usual $180 price.