Choosing a Drinking Water Filter
Clean, adequate amounts of water are essential. This type of water can be obtained from a clean source (e.g. natural stream or spring) with a basic filter for viruses/bacteria OR from a standard source (e.g. tap) that filters out all the awful stuff (drugs, metals, fluoride, etc…), such as a Berkey. It is important to note, cheaper filters like Brita and PUR do not necessarily filter out everything hazardous in your water, and investing in a higher quality filter is a good idea (9). Examples of high quality water filters include granulated activated charcoal (GAC), especially GAC filters that use coconut, and reverse osmosis (RO) filters.
Several filters, such as the Berkey, have a fluoride filter which can be added to the main filtration system. Because fluoride is not an essential nutrient for growth or reproduction, and due to its potential to cause harm to the body, filtering it out is likely a good idea. The reason fluoride is in the water is because it incorporates into dentin (tooth bone), strengthens teeth, and prevents dental caries. Unfortunately, it may also harm the thyroid gland, disrupt the immune system, and increase susceptibility for developing cancer (). I encourage you to research more on it; it is a controversial topic. And after your research, if you would like to still use fluoride, using it in toothpaste is ideal as opposed to drinking it because fluoride works best when it is in direct contact with the teeth. And again, the only reason it is in the water supply is because of its potential benefits for the teeth.
Drinking Enough Water
Water is an essential requirement for the body. For the average person, three days without water will cause death (5). Water is essential in regulating body temperature, eliminating waste and in digestion, lubricating joints, and in providing oxygen to the body (6).
The amount of water consumed is very important as to not induce a state of dehydration or hyponatremia (due to excessive hydration). An easy way to tell if you are drinking the proper amount of water is by looking at the color of your urine. Ideally, your urine will be light yellow. If your urine is darker, it means your kidneys are working harder than they need to be to concentrate waste products and remove them from the body. If your urine is colorless, it indicates that you are excreting electrolytes more rapidly than necessary (35).
Acute dehydration and hyponatremia (electrolyte sickness) present slightly differently but in general can lead to dizziness, headache, muscle cramps, nausea, and reduced cognitive performance (36, 37). Because your body can only absorb between half a liter to one liter of water each hour, depending on environmental conditions, activity level, food consumption, and individual variations, it is prudent to consume water at regular intervals in amounts that do not exceed this. Just to have a number in mind, that is about ¼ of a liter each hour, or 4 liters (about 1 gallon) per day.
It is important to remember that because of the aforementioned variables, the best way to know how much water to drink is by examining the urine. If you are taking a B-Vitamin supplement, other mediations/supplements, or eating certain foods (such as beets), the color of your urine may not be a reliable indicator of hydration levels. In this case, following the suggestion of about ¼ of a liter each hour should prove helpful.
And again, if we are drinking toxic water (which most of our water sources are), full of lead, chloramines, disinfection byproduct (DBPs), etc… we are providing an additional toxic load through another source that are bodies must combat. Further, water laced with toxicants is not any safer to use when bathing. Most Americans use about twenty gallons of water per shower, and the temperature of this water is likely high. The hot water opens our pores, making it easier to absorb toxicants like DBPs, and inhale chloroform via steam (10). All of these chemicals, especially chloroform, provide additional stress to the liver. It is therefore prudent to also invest in a shower filter, or a system that filters water for the entire home.
Drinking Water Vessel
If you are investing in a high-quality water filter, it is a good idea to get a high-quality water vessel so that you can carry the pure water with you wherever you go. I’ve searched high and low and found the Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle. When choosing a water bottle, it is best to get something that is BPA-free, so avoiding plastic is ideal. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor. To err on the side of prudence, avoiding all plastics seems like a good idea as there are other options available. Glass is a good bet, but even strong glass bottles can shatter if you drop them from high enough. High quality stainless steel water bottles are non-reactive and do not contain BPA. The bottle I recommended has a plastic top, as do most stainless steel bottles, although the cap’s plastic does not come in contact with the water. There is a small piece of plastic which prevents water from spilling out of the bottle that is separate to the cap and may come in contact with the water, but it can be removed.
Yes, there are many things to consider when choosing a drinking vessel. I would say your best bet is to have an excellent filter everywhere you go – home, work, to the gym, etc… and drink out of a glass. But, taking your pure water from home and transporting it in one or two 64 oz Klean Kanteens is a bit more realistic. And if you can be very careful and not break a glass water bottle, go with that option. Just make sure the cap, if it comes in contact with the water, does not contain BPAs.
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