Why Purified Water is Bad For You

by Zoltan P. Rona MD, MSc

During nearly 19 years of clinical practice I have had the opportunity to observe the health effects of drinking different types of water. Most of you would agree that drinking unfiltered tap water could be hazardous to your health because of things like parasites, chlorine, fluoride and dioxins. Many health fanatics, however, are often surprised to hear me say that drinking purified water on a regular, daily basis is potentially dangerous. Paavo Airola wrote about the dangers of purified 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. Purified or reverse osmosis 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 purified water when one is seeking to cleanse or detoxify the system for short periods of time (a few weeks at a time). Fasting using purified 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 purified water pulls the minerals out of them and lowers their nutrient value.

Purified water is an active absorber and when it comes into contact with air, it absorbs carbon dioxide, making it acidic. The more purified water a person drinks, the higher the body acidity becomes. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Purified” water, being essentially mineral-free, is very aggressive, in that it tends to dissolve substances with which it is in contact. Notably, carbon dioxide from the air is rapidly absorbed, making the water acidic and even more aggressive. Many metals are dissolved by purified water.

The most toxic commercial beverages that people consume (i.e. cola beverages and other soft drinks) are made from purified water. Studies have consistently shown that heavy consumers of soft drinks (with or without sugar) spill huge amounts of calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals into the urine. The more mineral loss, the greater the risk for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and a long list of degenerative diseases generally associated with premature aging.

A growing number of health care practitioners and scientists from around the world have been advocating the theory that aging and disease is the direct result of the accumulation of acid waste products in the body. There is a great deal of scientific documentation that supports such a theory. A poor diet may be partially to blame for the waste accumulation. Meats, sugar, white flour products, fried foods, soft drinks, processed foods, alcohol, dairy products and other junk foods cause the body to become more acidic. Stress, whether mental or physical can lead to acid deposits in the body.

There is a correlation between the consumption of soft water (purified 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. The longer one drinks purified water, the more likely the development of mineral deficiencies and an acid state. I have done well over 3000 mineral evaluations using a combination of blood, urine and hair tests in my practice. Almost without exception, people who consume purified water exclusively, eventually develop multiple mineral deficiencies. Those who supplement their purified water intake with trace minerals are not as deficient but still not as adequately nourished in minerals as their non-purified 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. Purified water tends to be acidic and can only be recommended as a way of drawing poisons out of the body. Once this is accomplished, the continued drinking of purified water is a bad idea.

Water filtered through a solid charcoal filter is slightly alkaline. Ozonation of this charcoal filtered water is ideal for daily drinking. Longevity is associated with the regular consumption of hard water (high in minerals). Ionized Water is the best possible drinking water. Disease and early death is more likely to be seen with the long term drinking of purified water. Avoid it except in special circumstances.


Airola, P. 1974. How To Get Well. Phoenix, AZ: Health Plus Publishers.

Baroody, Dr. Theodore A. Jr. Alkalinize or Die. California:Portal Books, 1995.

Haas, Elson M. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. The Complete Guide to Diet & Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, California:Celestial Arts, 1992; p. 22.

Rona, Zoltan P. and Martin, Jeanne Marie. Return to the Joy of Health, Vancouver: Alive Books, 1995.

Rona, Zoltan P. Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection. Rocklin, California:Prima Books, 1996.

Dr. Zoltan P. Rona is a graduate of McGill University Medical School (1977) and has a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut (1985). He is the author of the Canadian bestsellers, “The Joy of Health” and “Return to the Joy of Health”. He is a past president of the Canadian Holistic Medical Association and is a consultant on nutritional medicine to the Motherisk Program of the Department of Pharmacology of the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.

Born 22/2/51 in Budapest, Hungary; raised in Montreal, Quebec. Canadian citizen.

Dr. Bob’s Blog is not intended as medical advice. The writings and statements on this website have not reviewed and/or approved by the FDA. Our products are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Rather they are meant to demonstrate that aging can be slowed and even reversed and that Great Health achieved when the most fundamental nutritional needs of the human body are met. Always consult a medical doctor or other medical professional when you consider it necessary.
Dr. Bob’s Blog is covered under (47 U.S.C. § 230): “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”.

About Bob McCauley

Bob McCauley, ND (Robert F., Jr.) was raised in Lansing, Michigan and attended Michigan State University (BA, 1980 in Journalism). He is a naturopathic doctor, Master Herbalist and a Certified Nutritional Consultant. He has traveled extensively, both domestically and abroad, visiting over 32 countries. He published Confessions of a Body Builder: Rejuvenating the Body with Spirulina, Chlorella, Raw Foods and Ionized Water (2000), Achieving Great Health (2005), The Miraculous Properties of Ionized Water, (2006) which is the only book on the market that exclusively addresses Ionized Water, Twelve (Fiction, 2007) and Honoring the Temple of God (2008). He considers himself a Naturalist, meaning he pursues health in the most natural way possible. He studies and promotes nature as the only way to true health. From 2002-2004 he hosted the radio program Achieving Great Health, which was heard by thousands of people each day. His guests included some of the most well-known and respected names in the natural health world. With the help of his father, Dr. Robert F. McCauley, Sr. (Doctorate in Environmental Engineering, MIT, 1953) they started Spartan Water Company in 1992, which sold vended water machines in supermarkets. Robert Jr. founded Spartan Enterprises, Inc. in 1993. He is a Certified Water Technician with the State of Michigan. He is also a Type II Public Water Supply Specialist and has the certifications of S-5 and D-5. The McCauley family has a long history in the water industry. Bob's father pioneered environmental issues regarding ground water and drinking water quality. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1953 for his thesis on removing radioactive strontium from water. He earned his doctorate in Environmental Engineering in less than 2 years, one of the shortest doctoral studies in the history of MIT. He taught civil, sanitary and environmental engineering at Michigan State University for 18 years before retiring to run Wolverine Engineers & Surveyors of Mason, Michigan, for 17 years. His reputation throughout Michigan as a water quality expert was legendary. Bob worked for his father's company for 12 years learning the water business, which dealt primarily with municipalities, including water quality and sanitary sewer issues. After apprenticing with his father, Bob moved on to the bottled water business. He established greater Michigan's biggest selling bottled water: Michigan Mineral – Premium Natural Water. He was introduced to Ionized Water in 1995 and has done more to promote Ionized Water than anyone else in the industry. Bob often lectures and offers seminars on his Seven Component Natural Health Protocol . Bob is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and a Certified Master Herbalist. He is also a 3rd Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor of Songahm Taekwondo (American Taekwondo Association).
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35 Responses to Why Purified Water is Bad For You

  1. Christopher says:


    Great article! We are now looking into a water ionizing system, such as the Kangen water systems and the like and were wondering if these types of “water cleaners” also remove fluoride?
    We have not see any mention of fluoride removal anywhere yet. We are fairly green regarding this subject and the internet is full of misinformation and salesmen. Which leads us to asking you. 🙂

    Thank you so very much for your time!



  2. Tony says:

    As a long-term user (since 2000) of purified water I am distressed by the misleading information you promote regarding the cleansing benefits of clean pure water. Technically purified water is a product of evaporation (distillation) and as such is basically the same as rain water – any other minerals and nutrients are typically derived from other sources such as the foods we eat and for thousands of years was the standard for “healthy” society.

    Water on its own has some amazing properties that are often overlooked in this modern age. In the winter of 2008 I was hospitalised with bacterial pnuemonia and had to have my white blood cell count monitored while my bodies natural defenses went to work against the illness – the doctors were astounded that my liver was one of the healthiest they had ever seen for a person my age (mid-40s). Our bodies are naturally 75 percent water and that includes intracellular processes that require water free from any impurities to work correctly. Any minerals and nutrients, such as calcium, are derived from the foods we eat and even this can be supplemented with multivitamins in the majority of cases.

    Biblically even the Prophet Daniel recognised the health benefits of pure clean water.

  3. maria says:

    Hi Tony,
    I find very interesting what you say. I recently bought a reversed osmosis system. I have been reading here and there that it’s product is really acidic. Do you know anything about this? and or the difference with distilled water?
    Thanks .

  4. Mike Dewar says:

    good article. I would add that water softening also adds sodium to the water which certainly doesn’t help with blood pressure problems. There is a unique option available at http://www.ecosmarte.com. They use copper ionization and natural oxygen as a way of purifying the water without removing the good minerals like magnesium. they also convert the minerals to a bicarbonate form which makes the water more absorbable.

  5. A great article. I was doing some research to make a page on my own website about fat loss and found this article through the search engines. I have never thought that RO water could be good for you but it using it to detoxify the body sounds like good judgement.

    Thanks for your time and the valuable information.

  6. George says:

    I had been using Reverse Osmosis Unit in my house which uses two carbon filters in its 5 stage cleaning process. The carbon fibers are replaced by the company every four months. I remember when the service man came for the machine he checked the PH level of the water after the carbon filter was replaced and the digital PH level reader showed a reading of “8”. Could u please advice if this reading is acidic or alkaline in nature.

    The website of the company is http://www.coolpex-kw.com


    Please could you check and advice if this product is trustworthy for healthy drinking water. I and my family drink daily atleast 8 glasses of water + use if for cooking from this RO unit. Awaiting ur advice in this regard…



  8. Tony says:

    I found more articles stating that distilled water is not bad, than otherwise.

  9. Jayx says:

    George – pH of 8 is very slightly alkaline – 1 being highly acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being highly alkaline.

    To be frank, I think the above artice is not in the least bit true – I’ve read plenty of articles that state that purified water does *not* leach any minerals at all from your body!

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  11. gE says:

    Dear Professionals,
    Reading such different articles is not helping us finalize what kind of water is the best water for a regular drinking. Hence, the professionals in the related science are requested to suggest us what kind of water is to be used for a regular drinking. Your kind and true suggestion is highly appreciated.

  12. Pam says:

    We had a new water well drilled on our farm. The one my great grandfather dug (only 50 feet deep) finally dried up. We have been in a drought for several years.
    Our family and our animals drink water from the well. A man who sells reverse osmosis softeners tested the water and the ph was listed as 4.95. The hardness was 9.35. He told me he had never seen water that hard.
    I am a bit confused. You stated purified water tends to be acidic. And longevity is associated with the regular consumption of hard water. Shoud I have our well water re-tested? If so, could you recommend a good lab? You also, said ionized water is the best possible drinking water. Could you recommend a good brand.
    Thank you for any help you might offer.

  13. Pam says:

    Sorry, Bob,
    Dr. Rona made those statements I mentioned, in his article. Could you answer my questions?

  14. Dr Elysen says:

    All these claims were untrue. Biased and unfounded.

  15. Fantastic Information !! I appreciate your blog.

  16. rob says:

    Notice all the claims that are made are from doctors, they don’t want people to be healthy, would put them out of business,lol. RO water is perfectly healthy to drink everyday.worried about lack of minerals,drink a glass of orange juice,it has the same amount of minerals as drinking 30 gallons of harmful flouride loaded tap water, take one vitamin tablet and has the same amount of minerals as a months worth of toxic tap water. food has all the minerals you need.So you can see the lies and myths about purified water. Your way better off not drinking rocks your whole life. I need to buy a new RO water system, Have a nice day!(:

  17. Anthony says:

    Bob I have being using Ro water for +- 6 years, in cooking, drinking and so on. Please tell me, and I do not want to be funny, because I have a problem now. What direct problems can a get from using this water.

  18. Bob McCauley says:

    RO Acidifies the body in leaches minerals from the body. Therefore you need to Alkalize your body with ionize water and raw fruits and vegetables. You also need to re-mineralize your body with angstrom minerals.

  19. junk removal says:

    Wow, awesome weblog layout! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The total glance of your web site is wonderful, as well as the content material!

  20. steve says:

    “RO Acidifies the body in leaches minerals from the body. Therefore you need to Alkalize your body with ionize water and raw fruits and vegetables. You also need to re-mineralize your body with angstrom minerals.”

    Could you please tell us WHAT KIND OF WATER TO USE(!) in the ionization process. Tap water? RO water re-mineralized? Spring water from a reputable company/source? you have said NOTHING.

  21. Sheryl Kindred says:

    I have Interstitial cystitis, I’ve tried tap,spring,filtered water and it all puts my bladder on fire,what kind of water can I drink?

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  23. Bill Whigham says:

    It has everything to do with your diet whether reverse osmosis or distilled water is bad for you. If you eat plenty of fruits and veges everyday, you will be fine with it. But if your diet is big macs then you are gonna be a sick puppy.

  24. keith says:

    I have been drinking distilled and ro water for over 40 years and i feel great for 60 years young. Dont let some quacky doctor tell you that ro water is a bad thing. They love to sell you on pills and such. Drink the purest water you can afford and eat properly and you will never look back.

  25. Dred says:

    To the guy who said that pure water is best… (and referenced the Bible as saying we should drink this water)…

    There is no longer any “pure” water on the planet. Rain water (everywhere) is contaminated, river water is contaminated… its all contaminated. To suggest that we should just drink rain water….. well what about all of the toxic elements in the rain water? (the same toxic elements that fall onto non-ocean water sources and contaminate the fish). Cmon…. nothing is “pure” anymore, unless a person purifies it with some device.

  26. Mark Cheshire says:

    Pretty sad if a “doctor” doesn’t understand the difference between purified and distilled! This is a joke.

  27. Water says:

    It is true that pure water absorbs nutrients VERY EFFECTIVELY, simply because there is more “capacity available” in pure water to absorb it. BUT that doesn’t make it bad for our health. The WHOLE purpose of water in our bodies is for mineral transport. Once water enters our body, it’s job is the carry nutrients into all the cells and flush waste out of the cells. Pure water has the advantage here. BUT you have to eat a balanced diet to have enough nutrients available for delivery to your cells. If you mainly rely on the minerals available in “non-pure” water, you’d have to drink something like 5 bathtubs of water everyday. Water never was meant to be a source of nutrients. If you don’t eat a balanced diet, both types of water will only end up flushing waste from your cells but will have nothing to deliver to your cells. Unless your water is contaminated it doesn’t matter what type of water you drink. People will always complain, valid or not, about one or the other.

  28. Water says:

    Just to clarify further… Pure water isn’t bad for you.

    When you eat something, digestion breaks down food, and water absorbs these nutrients to then deliver to your cells. Think of it like a river that brings in sediment but flushes it away too. Your cells, via the cellular membrane, control what can be brought in and what can be flushed out. Many nutrients and vitamins are water soluble (dissolve in water – Vitamin C). Many are fat soluble (dissolve in fat – Vitamin E). The fat soluble ones are stored in the body fat and used as needed. They are more difficult to flush out but instead are used up. If you intake too much you can develope poisoning of these as they’ll build up in your fat faster than they are being used up. The water soluble ones on the other hand are constantly flowing in/out of your cells and not stored. This is where water comes into play. It absorbs these water soluble minerals and vitamins and is used as it flows into the cells but excess then gets flushed out as the water flows out of the cell. From this you can see how pure water isn’t bad for you.

  29. a person says:

    you are Plagiarism. you copy the paragraphs from this website!:http://ezinearticles.com/?Purified-Water—Pure-is-Good,-Right?&id=4514052
    stupid! Get away from here!

  30. Shawn says:

    and that artical was posted On June 20, 2010…thats after this artical was posted

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  32. PH Tester says:

    Great work.

    I’ve recently learned about growing information regarding acidic PH levels in our bodies that can be harmful to us and alkaline PH levels that are more ideal to help our body combat disease, cancer, and all sorts of illnesses.

    The digital PH tester I just ordered finally arrived and the first thing I wanted to learn was the PH level between my tap water and the purified water we drink.

    Interestingly, my tap water hovered around 6.9 and stabilized at 6.8.

    Then, I tested the filtered water that is commercially available and the PH level started at 7.5 and dropped 0.1 every second until it finally stabilized around 6.1. I suppose if I waited longer, it may have probably dropped further to 6.0 or so.

    Thanks for describing the characteristics of filtered water which may have explained why it’s PH level continued to drop every second towards being acidic – which wouldn’t be exactly ideal for maintaining alkaline PH levels.

  33. milo says:

    Have you drank non sugared and flavored airated water before? Its sour, if water is so acidic, we will taste it. RO is not at all sour, to relate soda drinks to RO is making the completely inappropriate comparison.

    You get your calcium and magnesium mainly from food than water. If one is only drinking water and not eating, ok, then minerial water is better off than pure water. For someone with a healthy diet to begin with, water is hardly the source for your minerals.

  34. You do know that a daily once a day multi-vitamin and pottassium is in ur every day food…..http://nutrition.about.com/od/foodfun/p/potassium_foods.htm ….and a g2 low calerie etc now and again is 110% problem solved right.

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