The science is clear: Staying hydrated and drinking enough water has health benefits.
Hydration can help lubricate and cushion joints, protect sensitive tissues in your body, flush out waste and keep your immune system and even your skin healthy.
Yet when it comes to bottled water, there are several types on the market: spring, purified, mineral, artesian and even alkaline. Is any type best?
It turns out that might come down to personal preference, as more research seems to be needed for a definitive answer.
“For the price, I’m going to get spring water,” said Dr. Eddie Fatakhov, a physician and nutritionist at the Center for Internal and Integrative Medicine in Alpharetta, Georgia. “Because I know it came from the spring.”
Spring, purified, mineral, artesian: What’s the difference?\
Spring water comes from an underground source and must be collected at the spring or through a borehole tapping the spring’s source, according to the International Bottled Water Association.
The association defines purified water as water that has been highly treated – through distillation, deionization or other suitable processes – in order to meet certain standards before being sold.
Mineral water is natural water that has a constant level and relative proportions of mineral and trace elements – containing no less than 250 parts per million total of dissolved solids, according to the water association. No minerals can be added to it.
Then there’s artesian water, which is derived from a well that taps a specific layer of rock or sand.
You also might have seen alkaline water on store shelves; it has a higher pH level than tap water. A pH level is a measure of how acidic or basic water is. Seven is a neutral pH. Higher pH levels are more alkaline, or basic; lower pH levels are more acidic.
“Tap water has a pH of roughly around 7, and alkaline water is closer to about 8 or 9,” Malina Malkani, a registered dietician nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told CNN in January.
Could alkaline water provide any special health benefits? “There’s really not a lot of evidence either supporting of the health claims that are made about alkaline water or refuting the claims,” Malkani said.
In other words, the jury is still out.
Malkani noted that “if all the body systems are functioning as they should be, the blood pH isn’t going to vary too much. So it’s a misconception that you can, by drinking an alkaline water, drastically affect the pH of the body.”
Illnesses are common causes for changes in the blood pH level. Diabetes can make your blood more acidic, but kidney problems can make it more alkaline. Certain foods, including dairy products, also can make your blood more acidic.
It is more common for companies to manufacture alkaline water, but natural alkaline water can occur when water picks up minerals from areas such as springs, when it passes over rocks in the environment.
“Alkaline compounds are salts and metals that, when added to water, make it more basic,” Malkani said.
All in all, the general consensus among health experts for now is that making sure you are drinking enough water is more important than the type of water you prefer.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend that men drink an average of about 3.7 liters (125 ounces) of water each day and that women drink about 2.7 liters (91 ounces). That water can come from beverages and foods, according to the recommendations.
So, for men and women respectively, “that’s 15 cups of water and 11 cups of water, from the eight cups we were taught to believe,” Fatakhov said.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated, according to the Mayo Clinic, which noted that the Office on Women’s Health recommends that women who breastfeed consume about 13 cups of fluids a day.
“North America is dehydrated,” Fatakhov said, and that’s a problem because “83% of your lungs is water. If you take the heart and the brain, 73% is water. If you take the bones, about 31% is water. If you take the kidneys and muscles, about 76% is water. Your body is made up of water.”
‘Water boosts energy’
Water not only benefits your health, it could help you control your weight.
A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine in 2016 found a significant association between not being adequately hydrated and having an elevated body mass index, known as BMI.
BMI is determined based on a person’s height and weight. Having a BMI of 30 or higher is categorized as obese.
The study was based on data from 9,528 people ages 18 to 64, whose levels of hydration were measured in urine samples. Those whose samples showed inadequate hydration tended to have higher BMIs and higher odds of being obese, compared with the hydrated adults.
Water can benefit weight management because staying hydrated helps you better understand when you are actually hungry, and it can boost your metabolism and energy.
“Because of our high water content, it makes sense that our bodies need water to keep our systems functioning. So the next time you hit that afternoon slump, drink a glass of water to increase your energy levels,” Fatakhov said.
“Think about it like this: I tell you to drink water, and you drink water. Your body has to convert that water back to your body temperature. So if you drink cold water, your body has to turn it back to body temperature,” he said. “That’s why they say it’s better to drink cold water than hot water if you’re trying to burn calories.”
If you think you’re not drinking enough water, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some tips:
=> Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day for easy access to water.
=> Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, even when eating out.
=> Add a wedge of lime or lemon to water to help improve taste.
=> Try chilling freezer-safe water bottles for easy access to ice-cold water throughout the day.
CNN Digital Expansion 2016 Jacqueline Howard
By Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Wed March 20, 2019
Top Ten Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation
There are many reasons to oppose water fluoridation, including safety concerns and health risks.
Reason #1 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: Fluoridation is a violation of the individual’s right to informed consent to medication. Within a community water supply, fluoride is being added to the water of everyone, even if some people do not want it and still others do not even know about the fluoride being added to the water or about its health risks. Informed consumer consent is needed for water fluoridation, especially because of the alarming lack of safety for this chemical and its health risks.
Reason #2 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: Fluoride is not an essential nutrient. Fluoride is not a required component for human growth and development. In fact, fluoride has been recognized as one of 12 industrial chemicals known to cause developmental neurotoxicity in human beings. Researchers have repeatedly challenged the alleged safety and effectiveness of fluoride.
Reason #3 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: Hundreds of research articles published over the past several decades have demonstrated potential harm to humans from fluoride at various levels of exposure, including levels currently deemed as safe. Fluoride is known to impact the cardiovascular, central nervous, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary, renal, respiratory, and skeletal systems, and exposure to fluoride has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, and many other adverse health outcomes, including fluoride toxicity.
Reason #4 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: People are now exposed to fluoride from an array of sources. Since water fluoridation began in 1940s, an array of products containing fluoride have been introduced to the average consumer including water, dental products, pesticides, fluoride supplements, other prescription drugs, and many other sources. There is no current accurate estimate of just how much fluoride people are taking in from all of these sources. However, dental fluorosis is recognized as the first visible sign of fluoride toxicity. It is likewise a warning signal of the human health risks associated with fluoride exposure. According to 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 23% of Americans aged 6-49 and 41% of children aged 12-15 exhibit fluorosis to some degree
Reason #5 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: A “one dose fits all” level is unacceptable. Susceptible populations with low body weights, such as infants and children, and individuals who consume increased amounts of water, such as athletes, military personnel, outdoor laborers, and those with diabetes or kidney dysfunction, can be more intensely effected by fluoride. Additionally, fluoride is also known to impact each individual differently based on allergies, nutrient deficiencies, genetic factors, and other variables. Notably, a bottle-fed baby in a fluoridated area gets up to 200 times more fluoride than a breast-fed baby, resulting in an increased risk of dental fluorosis and other adverse effects.
Reason #6 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: There is not a wide-spread understanding about how fluoride interacts with other chemicals. This issue is crucial to understanding risks of artificial water fluoridation, as the multiple chemicals to which we are exposed to can produce distinct reactions and interactions. For example, the fluoride added to many water supplies attracts lead, which can be found in certain plumbing pipes. Likely because of this affinity for lead, fluoride has been linked to higher blood lead levels in children.
Reason #7 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: Does it even work to prevent tooth decay? The trend of decreased decayed, missing, and filled teeth over the past several decades has occurred both in countries with and without the systemic application of fluoridated water. This suggests that increased access to preventative hygiene services and more awareness of the detrimental effects of sugar are responsible for these improvements in dental health. Research has also documented decreases of tooth decay in communities that have discontinued water fluoridation. Even proponents of fluoride have suggested that fluoride primarily works to reduce tooth decay topically (i.e. scrubbing it directly onto to teeth with a toothbrush), as opposed to systemically (i.e. drinking or ingesting fluoride through water or other means).
Reason #8 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: Ethical questions have been raised in regard to the use of fluoride, especially because of fluoride’s ties to the phosphate fertilizer and dental industries. Furthermore, researchers have reported difficulties with getting articles published that are critical of fluoride, and an urgent need for an appropriate application of the precautionary principle (i.e. first, do no harm) related to fluoride usage has emerged.
Reason #9 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: Fluoridation discriminates against those with low incomes. Research has indicated that fluoride does not aid in preventing pit and fissure decay (which is the most prevalent form of tooth decay in the U.S.) or in preventing baby bottle tooth decay (which is prevalent in poor communities). Also, research has suggested that in malnourished children and individuals of lower socio-economic status, fluoride can actually increase the risk of dental caries due to calcium depletion and other circumstances. Moreover, people on low incomes are least able to afford avoidance measures (reverse osmosis or bottled water) or medical and dental treatment for dental fluorosis and other fluoride-related ailments.
Reason #10 to Oppose Water Fluoridation: It also poses threats to animals (pets and wildlife), as well as the environment at large. Animals are exposed to fluoride in the environment through pollution of air, water, soil, and food. It is important to consider their overall fluoride exposure as a result of each of these sources. Harmful effects of fluoride, including species vulnerability, have been reported in an array of wild animals. Even domestic pets have been subjects of reports raising concerns about fluoride exposure, especially through their water and food.