Distilled water is created by capturing the vapor from boiled water and condensing it back into liquid form. This process purifies but also takes away the mineral content naturally found in water.
These minerals, known as electrolytes, work to help the body properly hydrate by allowing water to cross the membranes into our cells. Without this transfer, water is not actually absorbed and rather just passes through our system.
These electrolytes are then broken down into ions to help perform many functions within our body. Ions play a large role in controlling the osmosis of water between fluid compartments, maintaining the acid-base balance, carrying electrical currents such as nerve impulses, and serving as cofactors to enzymes. They also serve in helping to generate muscle contractions and in regulating the heartbeat through functions such as the sodium-potassium pump. The production of hydrochloric acid in gastric juice, fluid balance, blood pressure, and energy metabolism are just a few of the many other roles these minerals help to play in our bodies. Our bodies do a pretty great job at maintaining our fluid and electrolyte balance however through daily functions such as perspiration through breath, sweating and urination many of these minerals are lost and must be replaced through ingestion. The amount to be replaced also increases with physical activity and digestive disorders such as IBS.
The lack of minerals created through distillation also creates an uneven balance in the water and in response the water begins to absorb materials from whatever it may touch. When exposed to air, distilled water can absorb carbon dioxide and when bottled it may leach the plastics from the container. This creates toxicity and can also create acidity in the body which could result in problems such as fluid retention, fatigue and impaired heart rate.
This imbalance in distilled water also leaches minerals from the body and pulls them out through the urine. When the body is robbed of these minerals it can potentially cause nutrient deficiencies. Because of the body’s need for both electrolytes and fluid in order to properly hydrate, distilled water can also lead to dehydration, especially in those losing excessive amounts of sweat and other bodily fluids. If choosing to drink distilled water it is important to compensate for the loss of these minerals by obtaining them through other sources such as rich sources like fruits, vegetables and high-quality sea salt.
Distilled water is not necessarily the best choice to make when hydrating. There are other better water purification processes to choose from such as reverse osmosis or solid carbon filtration. Distilled water can also be especially undesirable for those who may already suffer from troubles of inadequate hydration such as the young, old, ill and overzealous athletes. The leaching effects it has can lead to ingestion of unwanted toxins and altering of body ph. However, If distilled water is the only safe option at any given time, just be aware of obtaining the lacking nutrients and minerals from other sources, such as whole foods or electrolyte tablets.