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Is Distilled Water Actually Dangerous?

Today I’m going to cover the important topic of water. This is an excerpt from my full Raw Vegan Mastery course available at http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/rawveganmastery

The Difference Between “Organic” and Non- Organic Minerals

I heard many times from raw-food circles that only minerals in plants can be assimilated by the human body. Rock minerals or minerals in water are not assimilable.

In some Natural Hygiene books, minerals from plants are called “organic” minerals and those from rocks are called “non-organic”.

Some people have even claimed that the cooking process turns organic minerals into toxic, non-organic ones.

If you want the quick answer: minerals in plants are best but we can still assimilate a tiny amount of minerals found in water and other sources.

Here’s the longer answer:

How well a mineral ion is absorbed in the body depends on the environment it is in.

The stomach acids break everything down while the intestines reduce the acidity so that it can better absorb what was eaten.

So in doing so, additional anions, (negatively charged ions that the body produces) may bind with the mineral ions that you ate. So while you need iron in your diet, sucking on an iron bar is likely not going to help you.

In your body, iron is surrounded by the heme molecule. Many of the trace minerals in your body have some sort of protein molecule attached to it.

This prevents the mineral ions from reacting with the alkaline chemicals your body produces. In many cases these protein molecules effectively surrounds these metal ions.

It helps with better absorption because some of these molecules can easily attach itself to the intestine. This doesn’t mean that non-organic is mineral useless. It just means that once ingested, it has to “compete” with the chemicals that the body produces for proper absorption, with other mineral ions, and bind with protein molecules to attach to the intestine to be absorbed.

Plant sources already have the minerals attached to these biomolecules and hence are better absorbed.

Distilled Water and Health

“I heard that drinking distilled water can leech minerals from
your body. Is this true? “

A lot of people believe distilled water to be dangerous based on information read on the Internet or other Natural Health Book. In fact, here’s what Dr. Mercola has to say about this:

“Many health fanatics, however, are often surprised to hear me
say that drinking distilled water on a regular, daily basis is
potentially dangerous.
Paavo Airola wrote about the dangers of distilled water in the
1970's when it first became a fad with the health food crowd.
Distillation is the process in which water is boiled, evaporated
and the vapor condensed.
Distilled water is free of dissolved minerals and, because of
this, has the special property of being able to actively absorb
toxic substances from the body and eliminate them.
Studies validate the benefits of drinking distilled water when
one is seeking to cleanse or detoxify the system for short
periods of time (a few weeks at a time).

Fasting using distilled water can be dangerous because of the rapid loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and trace minerals like magnesium, deficiencies of which can cause heart beat irregularities and high blood pressure. Cooking foods in distilled water pulls the minerals out of them and lowers their nutrient value.”

At this point, I will agree with the conclusion that distilled water is not the best kind of water to drink, but will also point out that a lot of what Dr. Mercola said in his article (which you can find at: http://www.mercola.com/article/water/distilled_water.htm) is completely wrong.

Water, whether it is found in a spring or the tap, contains trace elements and minerals.

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If the water is distilled, in that it is devoid of all minerals, it will draw from its stores, what it needs for biological processes (for example: the calcium in your bones).

So calcium in your bones, the biggest mineral store will be used.

Distilled water is used to remove toxins from the body. It is what is used in kidney dialysis machines to cleanse the blood of toxins. It can also reduce potassium which is needed for proper heart function. Same with magnesium.

Distilled water can and does remove minerals from the body.

But fortunately, I don’t think there’s any evidence that this would be very dramatic — as long as you get enough minerals from your food in order to offset this.

In one article on Dr. Mercola’s website, it was claimed that:

“There is a correlation between the consumption of soft water
(distilled water is extremely soft) and the incidence of
cardiovascular disease. Cells, tissues and organs do not like to
be dipped in acid and will do anything to buffer this acidity
including the removal of minerals from the skeleton and the
manufacture of bicarbonate in the blood.”

Here, Mercola is dead wrong on the issue!

Distilled water is neither acidic nor alkaline! What happens is that the body removes it from various parts of the body to use the minerals it needs for biological functions.

It’s not like acid is streaming through the body and dissolving your bones!

Overall, I think that drinking water that has some mineral ions in it is best, but I don’t think that drinking distilled water can be bad for health if you get minerals from other sources, such as a diet abundant in fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Mercola Continues:

“Those who supplement their distilled water intake with trace minerals are not as deficient but still not as adequately nourished in minerals as their non-distilled water drinking counterparts even after several years of mineral supplementation. The ideal water for the human body should be slightly alkaline and this requires the presence of minerals like calcium and magnesium”

There is no study, as far as I know, that shows that people drinking distilled water aren’t as adequately nourished as their non-distilled counterparts.

There will be too many factors to take into account.

I guess he is correct that the presence of the minerals will make the water slightly alkaline but drawing the conclusion of alkaline “good” and acidic “bad” is hardly scientific!

This was an excerpt from my full Raw Vegan Mastery course.

In the full version, you’ll also find out all about the best water to drink, if alkaline water is really good for health, if you should be really worried about the quality of tap water, what to think about water ionizers, and what are the best purification systems.

To get the full program, go to http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/rawveganmastery

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.


Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.