Is Drinking Distilled Water Good or Bad for You?

Reviewed on 11/29/2021

How water distillation works

Distilled water is water that’s been purified using the process of distillation. Whether it comes from a natural source or a regular tap, water contains impurities like minerals, pesticides, and bacteria harmful for human consumption. Distillation gets rid of these contaminants by selective boiling and subsequent condensation.

The water distillation process boils the water into steam, leaving the impurities behind. The steam condenses on a cold surface, forming drops of distilled water.

Drinking water vs. distilled water

Drinking water considered fit for human consumption and food preparation comes from many sources such as springs, rivers, or water supply networks. The chances of infestation with bacteria, parasites, and chemicals are very high.

Distilled water is considered the purest form of water. Collecting the steam from boiling eliminates salt, minerals, and other impurities.

Is distilled water safe to drink?

Distilled water is safe to drink as part of a balanced diet. However, you may not like the taste. Because it’s stripped of minerals such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium, distilled water lacks the flavorful taste present in tap and bottled waters. Distilled water in this pure form only contains oxygen and hydrogen, hence the flat and unappealing taste.

Distilled water may be a better option for patients undergoing cancer treatment, to prevent electrolyte imbalance during treatment. Doctors advise cancer patients to look for words like distilled or reverse osmosis filtration on water bottles, indicating how the water company cleaned the water.

Potential risks of drinking distilled water

While distilled water is the purest form of water, it is molecularly unstable.

In addition to helping with food breakdown, minerals like magnesium, calcium, and magnesium go a long way in strengthening teeth and bones. Demineralized water lacks these nutrients, posing substantial health risks due to its inability to replace the electrolytes our body needs.

Common risks associated with drinking distilled water include:

  • Poor taste characteristics: Demineralized water has a flat and unappealing taste, which can lead to reduced water consumption.
  • Electrolyte imbalance: The lack of minerals in distilled water causes an imbalance between sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and other nutrients in the body.
  • Dehydration: Electrolytes present in water are essential for healthy body functions. They regulate and control the distribution of body fluids. 
  • Fatigue: The most common symptom of magnesium deficiency is fatigue. In the early stages, you may notice spasms, weakness, or stiffness. 
  • Headaches: Researchers believe that a lack of calcium and magnesium may cause migraine attacks.
  • Muscle cramps: Studies have associated twitches, tremors, and muscle cramps with magnesium deficiency.

Potential benefits of drinking distilled water

Drinking distilled water does have an upside. These potential advantages may include:

  • Cure Arthritis: Drinking water purified by distillation is believed by some to cure arthritis by washing out calcium and other minerals deposits in joints.
  • Reducing the risk of heart diseases:  Observational epidemiological studies have linked water hardness and cardiovascular disease risk. The hardness or softness of water is determined by the mineral content of both calcium and magnesium. When distillation eliminates these two, and the result is soft water.
  • Cleanses the body: Because distilled water is pure, it can detoxify the body and improve your health.
  • Prevents kidney stones: Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals that form in the kidney and are painful when passing. Drinking distilled water prevents mineral build-up that can lead to kidney stone formation.
  • Prevents teeth discoloration: Distillation removes minerals from water, thus protecting your teeth from too much fluoride exposure, responsible for teeth discoloration.

Uses of distilled water

Because distilled water is so pure, it can be found in your life in many ways.

  • For cosmetic use: Ingredients used in manufacturing cosmetic products need pure and toxin-free water to act as a solvent so that the ingredients can transfer their benefits safely to hair and skin.
  • Medical uses: Hospitals use distilled water to sterilize medical instruments, prepare food for their patients, and clean wounds as it is pure and prevents new infections.
  • Food canning process: Distilled water is used in the food canning industry to ensure the color and taste of food remain the same, as added salts could alter the original flavor.
  • Used in lead-acid batteries: When your car battery charges, the cooling system has to work hard. Mineral deposits in water could corrode the engine, causing it to overheat.

While distilled water is the purest form of water, when used daily should be accompanied by a balanced diet to ensure that the body is not deprived of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. Take tap or bottled water now and then to maintain a nutritional balance.

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References
SOURCES:

AIChE ACADEMY: “Distilled water demonstration."

American Journal of Botany: “ The Harmful Action of Distilled Water."

Conserve Energy Future: “Various Uses of Distilled Water."

Critical Impurities in Pharmaceutical Water, ECA Academy.

Mayo Clinic: “Kidney stones-Diagnosis & Treatment."

Mega Home Distillers: “Health benefits of distilled water.” Mount Sinai: “Drinking water safely during cancer treatment.” The Journal of Physical Chemistry: Purification of Water by Distillation. Water Quality Association: “CONSUMPTION OF LOW TDS WATER.” World Health Organization: “WHO Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality.” WV Organizing: “Can adults drink distilled water?”

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