This article originally appeared on The Sovereign Investor on October 21st.
Every single system in our body depends on water, so you’d think we’d be more careful about what we drink. And some of us are, when we’re at home. But when we walk out our front doors, it gets a little more difficult to control what goes into our drinking water — or to prevent the minerals in water from being taken out.
And that’s when we fall victim to a common yet surprisingly dangerous item: bottled water.
Now, in my family, we try to take our water with us. We use BPA-free Klean Kanteen and Lifefactory bottles. But sometimes, it’s just far more convenient for me to buy a cold bottle of water when I’m traveling, out to dinner, visiting friends or running errands.
It’s more convenient for everyone, it would seem: About 40 percent of U.S. drinking water consumption is from the bottle. And that number keeps rising. Since 2000, Americans have doubled their bottled water consumption from 5 billion gallons per year to 10 billion in 2013.
When something like that is so pervasive in my life, I wonder what’s in it. So I did a little research, and talked to a water expert … and it turns out that not all bottled water is created equal.
I’m not just talking about taste. I’m talking about what should be in the water and isn’t, and what shouldn’t be in the water but is.
But there’s a way you can ensure that you get everything from your water you want … and nothing you don’t …
Where’d all the good stuff go?
Recently, Tim Williams, a well specialist for Coastal Waterworks, came out to my house to install a water treatment system in my well.
I took the opportunity to ask him for his take on the water-bottle issue. And he revealed some unsettling facts.
Tim’s primary concern wasn’t just about what’s in a bottle of water that could make you sick.
No. He is most fed up by what doesn’t make it into the bottle. That’s why Tim hopes to start bottling water himself soon for local and regional distribution. He doesn’t think we should settle for an inferior product (or one that requires a quart of oil just to be shipped to the U.S.).
You see, most of the water you and I drink is stripped of all the beneficial minerals when it’s treated for bacteria and contaminants.
That’s too bad, because minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium are considered important to human health.
Magnesium, for instance, assists with muscle health, as well as heart, digestive system and brain function. Sadly, as much as four-fifths of the U.S. population is magnesium deficient.
Potassium is also good for the cardiovascular system because it promotes healthy blood pressure. In fact, despite all the blood pressure medications prescribed to patients, high blood pressure is usually just a matter of mineral deficiency.
As for calcium, you probably know it’s good for bones and teeth. You might not know it’s good for heart and blood pressure maintenance, too. Moreover, it promotes a healthy pH balance by keeping your body’s alkalinity balanced.
Your body wants a pH balance of 7.4, a slightly alkaline state, so it can effectively process nutrients. When your body leaves this range, it’s typically because it has become too acidic.
Your drinking water plays a part here …
This is your body on acid
More than 25 percent of bottled water comes from municipal water supplies, much of which is heavily treated with chemicals so cities can avoid liability by meeting regulatory standards.
Heavily treated means the baby is flushed out with the bath water. Typically, bottling companies don’t retrieve the baby. They take all the bad stuff out, along with the minerals.
And minerals, like I mentioned, prevent water from becoming too acidic.
When your body becomes too acidic, problems happen: chronic inflammation, osteoporosis, joint pain, fatigue, mood swings, high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer.
So every time you decide to drink from a bottle, that risk goes up a bit.
Moreover, bottled water could also be full of a residual chemical the municipalities use in treatment: fluoride. You may remember my warning about fluoride in your drinking water in my column, “Bottom line: Fluoride toxicity is bad for you.”
Well, you should assume all bottled water that comes straight from municipalities contains fluoride.
You can also assume bottling companies who’ve resorted to selling you tap water aren’t going to take the extra step of filtering out contaminants such as fluoride. It’s obvious they’re not concerned with providing you the best water they can.
Which brings me to another bottling deficiency — the bottle itself.
Once the fate of your water has left the hands of municipalities, it is pumped straight into the confines of a plastic bottle. That plastic bottle bears risks of its own, aside from well-documented environmental concerns.
Basically, bottled water is exposed to a toxic trio of antimony, DEHA and BBP. The plastic is most susceptible to leaching these chemicals when heated or reused. High concentrations of antimony can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. DEHA is a possible human carcinogen. And BBP (benzyl butyl phthalate) is a potential hormone disruptor.
Luckily, there are some choices you can make to avoid these risks.
Your road map to a decent bottle of water
First of all, steer clear of bottles labeled “drinking” or “purified” water.
So forget Dasani. It’s essentially tap water, with some magnesium sulfate (inorganic salt), potassium chloride (another inorganic salt) and plain ol’ salt. It claims to enhance its water with minerals for taste. But it doesn’t disclose those minerals in its water quality analysis report — which probably means extremely low levels.
Also avoid Aquafina. It’s purified water with pretty much nothing in it. Yes, that means no fluoride, but it also means no calcium, sodium or magnesium.
Here are a few healthier options that are easy to find:
Nestle’s Pure Life Spring Water is “enhanced with minerals for taste,” enough to register decent levels, unlike Dasani. Another Nestle offering, Zephyrhills has respectable mineral content. Both are affordable options.
Fiji is Tim’s favorite water based on taste. Since it is bottled at the source in the Fiji Islands, the mineral content is higher than other recognizable brands.
Mountain Valley Spring Water is my favorite (particularly the bubbly variety). It’s not as easy to find, but it comes straight from the source in Arkansas, has a pH above 7.0 and higher alkalinity than Fiji, has respectable mineral content, and is bottled in glass instead of plastic.
Perhaps the thing I like best: Mountain Valley is not owned by a major food or beverage company like the ones I railed against last week. Those companies produce all the popular and comparably inadequate brands.
But if you really aren’t satisfied with any of these options, then consider …
Two enhanced waters I discovered at the Natural Products Expo
In Baltimore last month, I came across some unique water solutions that provide alkalinity and oxidation so your body can perform properly. Buying them requires a little more forethought since they aren’t as readily available, but it’s worth it:
Alkame Water: This water uses mild alkalinity to promote a healthy pH balance, in addition to promoting a balance between free radicals and antioxidants for proper cellular functioning. Its patented treatment system allows it to create a hydrating, oxygenated water that the body can very readily absorb.
Basically, it does what you want your water to do.
Alkazone Antioxidant Water: This antioxidant water helps to slow oxidation and aging, protects against free radicals, uses electrolytes to optimize hydration and endurance, and contains potassium to help regulate blood pressure, fluid levels and cognitive function.
Another thing to consider are supplement drops like Trace Minerals. Trace Minerals produces a line of mineral supplements that essentially re-mineralize your tap or bottled water, assisting your nutrient and mineral intake. It sources its minerals and trace elements from the Great Salt Lake in Utah to help you restore your body’s balance.
These are all great options for taking back control of your water — and taking back control of your health.
To quality living,
JR Crooks Editor, Sovereign Living