Today, it seems that too many people still believe that you can drink the water from the tap without hesitation. Often you also hear statements like: “All water tastes the same”, with the assumption that all water is the same. I, on the other hand, drink water from the tap only when there is no other way, and in a blind tasting I immediately notice the difference between alkaline and low and high mineral water.
Let’s talk less about taste and more about how important water is to our health.
The most important food
DIN 2000 is a German standard designed to ensure that drinking water in Germany is safe, clean, and free of harmful contaminants. A guiding principle of DIN 200 is:
“Drinking water is the most important food; it cannot be replaced.”
The human body consists of about 60% water, newborns even about 80%. Water is an elixir of life. Without water there is no life, which is why we should think all the more about the important aspect water plays for our health and longevity, and thus of course also about the quality of the water we consume every day.
Water plays a fundamental role in maintaining homeostasis and normal functioning of the body. Adequate hydration is important to support our metabolism, cellular function, digestion, detoxification, and thermoregulation. These processes are all critical to our health and well-being throughout life.
In the depths of our body, water is by no means a passive element that merely provides structure. On the contrary, it is a dynamic medium in which a complex interplay of salts and minerals takes place. This balance is crucial for electrolyte balance and the generation of electrical signals, which are essential for the communication and function of every single cell.
Water is also the main player in the absorption and transport of nutrients that are essential for our health. As the main solvent for minerals and vitamins, water enables their absorption and distribution throughout the body. It is the driving fluid that transports all substances, including oxygen, to their respective destinations, thus forming the basis of our physical existence.
However, the importance of water goes beyond the purely physical aspects and extends deep into the functioning of our brain. Water forms the environment in which neuronal activity and electrical signals are generated and maintained, which is crucial for our cognitive abilities and consciousness.
Another fascinating property of water is its role as an information carrier. In some ways, water is similar to the silicon dioxide that serves as a storage medium in modern computers. Water’s ability to store and transmit information is a crucial aspect of our biological communication systems and helps maintain harmonious and efficient body function.
Considering all these amazing properties, it becomes clear that water is not just a passive element in our body, but rather a source of strength, energy, and vitality. This becomes especially clear when one considers the psychological consequences of a lack of water.
A lack of water
Water deficiency, also known as dehydration, can lead to decreased cognitive performance, including difficulties with concentration, memory, and decision-making. As indicated earlier, water, and therefore adequate hydration, is critical to maintaining brain function. Even minor dehydration can cause the brain to work less efficiently and impair its functions.
Our mood is also negatively affected by a lack of water. Studies have shown that dehydration can lead to irritability, anxiety, and even depression.
Similarly, lack of water can lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which contributes to an increased stress response and exhaustion. So, to be more resistant to stress and cope with our daily challenges, we should make sure we drink enough.
Sleep can also be disrupted by dehydration, as the production of the sleep hormone melatonin is affected or disrupted.
To prevent these psychological and cognitive associated with water deficiency, adults are recommended to drink 2 to 3 liters daily. Two to three liters of water sounds like a lot to some, but it’s not at all. 8 small glasses (330 milliliters) of water already add up to 2.6 liters throughout the day. If we assume that we sleep eight hours a day and drink a glass of water directly before going to bed and directly after getting up, we will reach our goal with six more glasses a day. If we drink a small glass of water every two and a half hours, we will consume enough liquid at normal outside temperatures. As a rule of thumb, if the urine is light yellow, you have drunk enough water.
3 liters per day
If we are careful to drink enough water to keep our bodies and minds healthy, with three liters of water a day, it is also important to pay attention to the quality of the water we consume. But is tap water really as pristine as it is sold to us? Unfortunately, it is not.
Hormones and drugs
Residues of hormones and medications can be found in many municipal tap waters, which enter the water supply after being consumed by humans and excreted through the wastewater system. These residues can include substances that are difficult to break down, such as antibiotics, antidepressants, and hormones from birth control pills. If we are exposed to these residues over the long term, this will undoubtedly have an impact on our health, including hormonal imbalances and increased resistance to antibiotics.
Not only in the oceans of our planet, but also in our tap water, there is evidence of microplastic particles smaller than 5 millimeters. These come, for example, from cosmetic products, textile fibers, or decaying plastic waste that enters our water supply. The long-term consequences of exposure to microplastics have not been fully researched, but there are concerns that they can cause inflammation in the body and increase the risk of chronic disease.
Some tap water systems, especially those with older plumbing, may contain traces of heavy metals such as lead, copper, and arsenic. These heavy metals can corrode in the water pipes over time and leach into the water. Long-term exposure to heavy metals can lead to serious health problems such as nerve damage, kidney damage, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Pesticides and herbicides
In agricultural areas, pesticides and herbicides used on fields can leach into groundwater and eventually enter the water supply. These chemicals can have a negative impact on our health by disrupting the hormonal system, weakening the immune system or even increasing the risk of cancer.
Nitrates and nitrites
These chemical compounds are often found in fertilizers and can also enter groundwater. High nitrate and nitrite levels in drinking water can be particularly dangerous for infants because they increase the risk of methemoglobinemia (cyanosis), a condition that affects oxygen transport in the blood.
Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS)
PFAS are a group of chemicals used in a variety of industrial and commercial products, such as non-stick coatings, water-repellent textiles and firefighting foams. PFAS are extremely persistent and can accumulate in the environment and human body. Exposure to PFAS can increase the risk of health problems such as hormone disruption, elevated cholesterol levels and increased cancer risk.
While we can hardly protect ourselves against the invisible toxins in our food and direct environment, we can certainly control the purity of the water we drink by using high quality and even inexpensive water filters and water treatment devices!
Water for health
So what is healthy water? We have already mentioned the most important thing: healthy water is free from any chemical and biological pollutants. Moreover, science defines healthy water as one with low acidity, that is, water with a basic pH, and rich in electrons, that is, water with lower redox potential and thus antioxidant properties. Thus:
- Free from pollutants
- Alkaline pH value
- Rich in electrons
While pollutants are obviously not healthy but harmful, not everyone is aware of the health-promoting properties of alkaline water as well as electron-rich water.
Neutralization of acidity in the body
Alkaline water helps to balance the acid-base balance in the body. An unbalanced diet, stress and environmental factors can cause the body to become over-acidic. By consuming alkaline water, the body’s pH can be regulated and brought to an optimal level, contributing to better health and a strengthened immune system.
Alkaline water has smaller water molecule clusters than conventional water, making it easier for the body to absorb and better hydrate. Improved hydration helps increase physical performance, regulate body temperature and support detoxification processes.
Electron-rich water has a lower redox potential, which gives it antioxidant properties. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can cause cellular damage and contribute to premature aging and chronic disease. Consuming electron-rich water can protect the body from oxidative stress and promote overall health.
Alkaline and electron-rich water can support the detoxification of the body by promoting kidney function and helping to eliminate harmful toxins. Effective detoxification is important for well-being and disease prevention.
Improvement of digestion
Alkaline water can also improve digestion by helping to maintain an optimal pH level in the stomach. This can lead to better nutrient absorption, a reduction in heartburn and other digestive problems.
Healthy water can be produced by any normal household with water filters and water treatment processes, so we drink 3-liters of healthy water – free of pollutants, with alkaline pH and rich in electrons – every day.
Activated carbon filter
Activated carbon filters are one of the most common methods of water treatment in households. They remove unwanted contaminants such as chlorine, pesticides and organic compounds from water. They can also reduce odors and taste impairments. However, they do not significantly affect the pH of the water and have no effect on the redox potential.
Ion exchange resins
Ion exchange resins are small beads used in water softeners. They exchange hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium for sodium ions, helping to raise the pH of the water. This can produce more alkaline water. However, ion exchange resins do not affect the redox potential or antioxidant properties of the water.
Reverse osmosis is a process in which water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane that retains impurities such as pollutants, bacteria, and viruses. This method effectively removes a variety of impurities and can raise the pH of water. However, reverse osmosis can also remove beneficial minerals and does not affect the redox potential.
Water ionizers use electrolysis to increase the pH of the water and produce alkaline water. They separate the water into two streams: basic water (alkaline) and acidic water (acidic). The alkaline water contains a higher percentage of negative hydroxide ions, resulting in a lower redox potential and antioxidant properties. However, water ionizers can be expensive and are not as efficient at removing contaminants as other methods.
Distillation is another water treatment process in which water is heated until it evaporates. The steam is then cooled and condensed to produce pure water. This process effectively removes contaminants and minerals from water. However, distilled water can have a neutral to slightly acidic pH and has no effect on redox potential.
Combined water treatment method
To obtain healthy water with basic pH and rich in electrons, a combination of different water treatment processes such as activated carbon filtration and ion exchange or reverse osmosis and water ionization is used in practice.
First, an activated carbon filter is used to remove chlorine, pesticides and organic compounds from the water and to reduce unwanted odors and taste impairments.
After pre-filtration, a process such as reverse osmosis or ion exchange is used to remove further impurities and increase the pH of the water. While reverse osmosis can remove a wider range of impurities, ion exchange resins are mainly used for water softening.
In conclusion, a water ionizer is used to further raise the pH and produce alkaline water with antioxidant properties. When selecting an ionizer, care should be taken to ensure that it has the ability to remineralize minerals in the water that were removed during reverse osmosis or distillation.
By combining water treatment processes, we can obtain healthy water that is free of pollutants, has an alkaline pH and is rich in electrons.
Professional filtration systems usually already combine several treatment methods to achieve our desired goal.
Conclusion: Water quality for a healthier life
In summary, water quality plays a greater role in our health than many people assume. Although tap water is considered safe and drinkable in many regions, there are still good reasons to think about the quality of the water we consume every day.
The myth of “worry-free healthy tap water” can be misleading, as even clean tap water can still contain contaminants that can harm our bodies over time. These include heavy metals such as lead or copper, chemical compounds such as pesticides and chlorine, or bacteria and viruses. In addition, the pH of tap water can vary and may not be optimal for our health.
Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to improve water quality for healthier water drinking. These include filters, treatment systems and choosing high-quality mineral water. Filters such as activated carbon filters can remove unwanted contaminants, while treatment equipment such as reverse osmosis systems and water ionizers can help optimize water pH and provide alkaline, antioxidant-rich water.
By paying attention to water quality and investing in appropriate solutions, we can not only help reduce our body’s exposure to potential contaminants, but also reap the benefits of better hydrated, alkaline and antioxidant water. This can lead to better digestion, more energy, a strengthened immune system and improved overall health.
Ultimately, water quality should not be underestimated as it has a direct impact on our health and well-being. It is our responsibility to make informed choices about the water we drink and take active steps to provide healthier water for ourselves and our families. After all, healthier living starts with the quality of the water we consume every day.
This article was written with the help and inspiration of the following books:
- “Gesundheit ist mehr als Medizin” – Prof. em. Prof. Dr. med. habil. Karl Hecht
- “Warum nur die Natur uns heilen kann” – Dr. med. habil. Dr. Karl J. Probst
In addition, this article has been touched up in parts with the help of GPT-4.