Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Drinking Distilled Water

If you watch survival shows on TV. you'll often see folks distilling water, and for good reason: it's a guaranteed way to get all the contaminants out of your drinking water. In fact, back in 2014 I wrote an article about how to set up a very basic still.

There are plenty of reasons to buy or make your own distilled water. In addition to knowing it's contaminant-free, it's also far gentler on things like humidifiers and CPAP machines and is the water you're supposed to use to top off lead-acid batteries. This is especially important if you have very hard water*, like we do in my area.

However, the argument that distilled water may be unsafe to drink gets made time and again, so in this article we examine the question "Will drinking distilled water get you through an emergency, just to kill you afterward? Or is it perfectly safe, and the innocent victim of internet experts?"

Distilled water is quite useful, cheap to buy, and easy to make. It's also known to not have anything bad for you in it. Why wouldn't you want to drink it? First of all, it tastes... well, it actually doesn't taste; it lacks all of the things that give water the flavor you're used to. This flat, lack-of-taste can be quite off-putting, which means you might not drink as much, especially when you need to be consuming lots of fluids.

The second traditional strike against distilled water is that it strips minerals from the body. This has been proven to be untrue. There is, however, a related issue: while distilled water doesn't take anything from you, it also doesn't replace anything your body naturally uses, either. Regular water from your tap, or the filter on your refrigerator, or wherever you get your water has minerals and electrolytes in it that your body needs to function.

If you're drinking distilled for a short period of time, your may be sore or fatigued or otherwise less than 100%, but you'll probably suffer no long-term effects. If you're eating a healthy diet, you might suffer no ill effects at all. If you choose to drink distilled water for a longer time frame, though, you may want to look at taking some kind of multivitamin supplement product to replace what the water isn't giving you back.

The lack of mineral content also means that distilled water doesn't hydrate you as effectively as non-distilled water, and you may have to drink more to obtain the same effects. Keep an extra sharp eye out for signs of dehydration.

In short, distillation is a great way to purify water. Don't be afraid to drink distilled water or use it in household processes. If you do drink it, be conscious of your mineral and electrolyte intake, and take supplements if you need them to stay in good health.


* Hard water, for those unfamiliar with the term, is water that contains very high concentrations of minerals. It causes nasty buildup anywhere those minerals get deposited and allowed to dry, and things like humidifier evaporation panels and swamp cooler panels get coated with a hard, salty looking shell rather quickly.

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